Exploring Your Career Options
Exploring your career options is an exciting task to undertake. However, it can be difficult, and even scary, to decide which careers are right for you. Here are some key tips to help you discover careers that fit your strengths and values.
- Go to your college's Career Center. College Career Centers have numerous resources and opportunities to help students develop their career paths. Career Centers will have counselors that are trained to help students in many ways, involving choosing a major, developing career paths, finding internships, and other ways to develop experience. Making a point visit a Career Center can provide clarity and help with decision making no matter where you are in the career search process.
- Informational interviewing and job shadows. These two similar experiences are great ways to get information about a certain job. Informational interviewing is simply having an interview with someone in a career field you are interested in with the purpose of learning about the general duties in that career and the potential pathways to get there, among other things. Job shadows are similar in sharing the same purpose, but you will be tagging along with that person and going through their daily tasks with them. This way you will see what a normal day in that career is like. In meeting these workers, you also have the opportunity to make great connections with potential future employers. These experiences are wonderful because you get a realistic idea of what a job consists of from a person who is currently in that position and the opportunity to network.
- The "What Can I Do with a Major in" website. This website is an excellent tool to learn about potential career possibilities according to the major you choose to study. For example, if you want to pursue a degree in Anthropology the website will show different areas in which an anthropologist can work, such as education, museums and archives, government, etc. It will also give examples of certain positions under those different areas and examples of employers that someone in that career would work for. Each major on this website has a substantial amount of information that you would not necessarily think about on your own, so taking advantage of it is a great step forward in your career searching process.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET. Both websites are great for getting into deeper detail when researching careers. For each career, they offer descriptions, give the national median salary (which you can also specify even further into state level), main duties and tasks, technical skills, interests, education level required, and even more. They also give you the opportunity to go beyond just what you think sounds interesting. They offer other information that may be of value to you, like how much money you would make, how much education you need, and the projected job growth in the coming years. These websites are definitely worth checking out before you make decisions on what careers you think are best for you.
- Internships. Getting an internship for an organization or company is a great way to get your foot in the door for a job. In internships, whether paid or unpaid, you do work for the organization for a limited amount of time. It is a wonderful way to show them your work ethic and how interested you are in doing that kind of work. Being in that workplace is also a great way to judge if that work is even something you want to. No matter what, getting an internship is a great experience because it can solidify whether or not not a career is right for you and it can help you make connections with potential employers.
There are a number of ways to explore career options and to decide which ones are right for you. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it is a great way to get started in searching for your future careers. Test out as many of these as possible and never limit yourself to what you can accomplish in terms of your career future.