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. How many high school aged students are ready to pick a major and have a future career path in mind? The answer is not very many. Many students may only be thinking about ideas for future jobs and the college experience.
Even after deciding on a major or having a potential career field in mind, like business, healthcare, or political science, there are still so many options for what you can do with that major after you graduate.
There are many ways to help declare a major or specific career. It's all about finding educational resources and putting yourself out there. Here are a few things you can do to help you decide on your future career.
Job shadow a professional
Job shadowing will give you first-hand 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 their 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. You may even be able to talk to your school’s career center and figure out some options for career opportunities.
Do an internship
Most majors require some sort of internship before graduation. Take advantage of the requirement and use it as an opportunity to test out different careers in your field. 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! For reference, students typically start looking for an internship around their sophomore year.
Research various careers
Do research about careers in your degree, and see what type of job sparks your interest. There are many different ways you can explore and research various career paths. Talk to a professor, college advisor, or research online to look into any particular field of study. There are many websites dedicated specifically to the purpose of researching careers, such as My Next Move, MyMajors, and MyPlan.
Interview industry professionals
Talk to people who are actively working in your desired field. They will be able to tell you about the job, expectations, how they got there, and qualifications. They may even share what pushed them to choose a major in that field. Meeting with a professional can put your foot in the door and open up a wide range of 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 biggest piece of advice that is constantly helping students, is asking for assistance. Talk to your parents and family friends about their careers, job search, and choosing a college major. 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.
Lastly, if you find a career that is appealing to you, do the research and ask questions.There are options for students to double major and if that is something that sounds interesting, try it out. Talk to your professors; they have experience and can offer assistance.
Never be afraid to try something new if you aren’t satisfied 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.