A common theme among incoming college students, and even those who are already in college, is that they have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I mean let’s be honest, how many people at the age of 17 or 18 know what they want to do for the REST of their lives? Not very many. Even after deciding on a major or having a broad career field in mind, like business or healthcare, there are still so many options for what you can do with that major after you graduate.
There are many ways to help determine what your future career should be. It’s all about finding educational resources and putting yourself out there. Here are a few things you can do to help decide on your future career.
- Job shadow careers that you find interesting. This will give you an insight into what that professional’s everyday job is like, and it will give you an idea if it seems like the right fit for you. Job shadowing will be different for everyone based on the career, but it is a great way to learn about things you may not be exposed to in school. You can set up a job shadow by calling local businesses, talking to college professors or advisors, or asking friends and family if they have connections to professionals in your desired field.
- Internship: Almost every major requires some sort of internship before graduation. Use that requirement as an opportunity to test out different careers. If it works with your four-year plan, try to do more than one internship in different career fields. An easy way to find internships is to pay attention to school emails. Most schools will send out lists of internships, fellowships, and more!
- Research: Do research about careers in your degree, and see what type of job sparks your interest. There are many ways you can do research, just talk to your college advisor, look online, or talk to a professor! There are many websites dedicated specifically to the purpose of researching careers, such as My Next Move, MyMajors, and MyPlan.
- Interview professionals in your desired field. They will be able to tell you about the job, expectations, how they got there, and qualifications. Meeting with a professional can put your foot in the door and open up many opportunities. Getting interviews with some professionals can be difficult, but an easy way to do so is by asking professors or a career counselor to connect you with college alumni who are now working in your field.
The primary piece of advice that consistently helps is asking for assistance. Talk to your parents and family friends about their careers and why they chose them. If you have decided on a college and major but have no idea about the career you want, meet with an academic advisor to go over options that your college has to help students decide. And lastly, if you do find something appealing, always ask questions. Talk to your professors; they have experience and can offer assistance.
Don’t be afraid to try new things if you are unsatisfied with your current career choice, it is never too late to change your mind. It may seem like an inconvenience at the time, but in the long run, will be worth the time.
“I’d encourage you not to let fear of insecurities about your skillset hold you back and to think big about the possibilities that are out there.”
-Adrian Granzella Larssen, editor at The Muse.