Even after you’ve declared a college major, your career options remain plentiful. The more opportunities you explore during college, the better able you’ll be to choose an occupation that’s a perfect fit.
Be Willing to Work for Free: College Internships and Volunteer Work
Begin your research by taking electives in your college major. Which aspects of the field do you find most engaging? You can try on a career through volunteer work or college internships. Even if it’s unpaid, you’re gaining the invaluable opportunity to explore a profession without making a long-term commitment.
Network, Network, Network
Get involved with a professional organization, such as the Society of Women Engineers or the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Through your chapter’s meetings, you’ll learn about developments in the field, and you’ll be privy to information on college internships and job opportunities. Moreover, regional and national conferences are a networking goldmine; seek out an established professional to mentor you.
Everyone you know is a possible resource. At the family reunion when great-aunt Agnes asks what you’ve been up to, don’t brush her off. She just might know someone who knows someone who’s looking to hire a person with your skills.
Use On-Campus Resources
Your professors are considered experts in their field, so visit a prof during office hours to get some job advice and benefit from your college education resources. In addition, career counselors can administer in-depth personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Strong Interest Inventory. These tools will help you identify careers that satisfy your preferences.
Furthermore, attend career fairs. Company reps will explain to you how someone with your skills fits into their organization. Even if you have no interest in, say, using your accounting degree to become an Army budget analyst, it’ll get you thinking outside of the box. If a company strikes your fancy, request an informational interview; it’s an opportunity to submit your résumé and clarify your career goals.
To learn more about occupational opportunities, check out these resources:
Monster.com’s major-to-career converter provides a list of jobs associated with your college major. Check off the ones that appeal to you, and it will display job openings.
Clemson University shows how different college majors translate into careers in government, media, commerce, and other sectors. The site even gives you strategies for breaking into the profession of your choice.
Books in the Great Jobs For… series contain information on a particular major, including job-search tips, salary information, and tales from practicing professionals.
Quintessential Careers has everything you need to prepare for an informational interview.