A successful career is not achieved by a one time decision. Career planning is a series of choices made over time. As you begin exploring, you may find careers and majors that look interesting and those you can cross of your list. Through this process, you will continue to grow, re-evaluate, and change at each turn. The more effort you put into self-assessment and exploring majors and careers, the more easily you should be able to make a decision you are comfortable with. It's time to begin honing your options to find a major and career that is right for you.
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Choosing Your Direction
- There is no "test" that can pinpoint your major or career. - The Discover section can help you begin learning more about yourself and your potential areas of interest.
- No career can possibly meet all of your needs or satisfy all of your interest areas. - Your choice of major is only one factor in determining your future job prospects and career path. Many employers also look at skills sets, campus and community involvement, and personal characteristics in the hiring process.
- Don't choose based on what is "hot" right now. - The fact of the matter is that most jobs that are "hot" right now might not be several years from now. You also want to make sure that this career/major is right for you. You will be spending a lot of time in that career field/major, so you want to enjoy and do well in it.
- There is no single career which is right for you. - Many students change majors several times before finding one that works for them. Recent graduates may "test try" several occupations before finding a career that works for them. Most people change career fields several times over their lifetime.
How to Choose
- Identify the decision to be made. - Are you choosing a major? Are you looking for your first job out of college? Are you looking for what career options you have in your major?
- Gather relevant information. - What information do I have from the Discover and Explore sections? What additional information do I need (How many credits in each major? How long will each take? What are the career prospects in the major?)
- Identify the choices. - What choices sound interesting? Which ones do I want to know more about? Which ones don't I like? Can I narrow down my list to 3-5 major/career options?
- Weigh the evidence. - This is the classic "pros and cons" list with a little more depth thrown in. What costs and benefits are involved in each alternative? What risks are involved? What are the positive and negative outcomes that could happen?
- Choose among the alternatives. - Which one(s) best meet my needs at this time?
- Take action by creating a plan. - How will I begin? What will I do next? When will I start? The section below will help you with this next step.
Creating a Plan
Once you have decided on a major and narrowed down your career interests, it is time to create a plan to get you there.
Taking Action to Make This Major/Career a Reality:
- From that narrowed down list of 3-5 career and major options, what education and skills do you need to acquire? Use the DISCOVER and EXPLORE sections to gather information. You may even want to browse job listings for your career interest and see what keywords consistently appear in the listings.
- What activities can you become involved in that will help you work towards this goal?
- If you need to further your education to reach this goal, are there any pre-requisite courses that you can work on? Are there additional minors or classes that would be beneficial to your goal?
- Work to build your résumé through internships, volunteer experiences, and leadership activities that will give you experience and build your network in your field.
- Visit Career Services to talk with a Career Counselor about building your Career Plan.
Creating a Back Up Plan:
In an ideal world, things go exactly as you have planned. However, reality usually throws us some curve balls. It is important to think about possible alternatives.
- If you have chosen a major that you have to be accepted into, what other majors could you consider? Could you add a minor that might add other skill sets or become a major if your first choice doesn't work out?
- What other types of careers came up in the Discover and Explore sections that might be worth a second look?
- What activities/internships can you become involved in that would help you go back and do a little more exploring in other areas?
By creating a career plan that will continue to evolve as you discover more about yourself and the career world, you are one step closer to making your ideas a reality. For help with making a plan and career decision making, contact Career Services to schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor.