You have a Major. Now What?
By now, you’ve declared a major, and (hopefully) you enjoy it. But what comes next?
How do you translate a major into a career? For some people, this is easier than for others—their field of study comes with a limited number of career options. But for others, there’s a whole world of careers and professions waiting to be explored, some of which you may not even know are a possibility. Getting the most out of your college education requires that you align your degree (and courses) with your career goals, and it’s never too early (or too late) to start.
If you know what you want to be when you grow up…
So, you have a career and a major, and you’re looking for your next steps. What should you do to make sure you’re on the right track (other than study and go to class)? If I could give you one piece of advice and one piece only, I would implore you to confirm that the degree you will earn is actually what you need.
I know, it seems obvious, and yet, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many students who chose a major, but didn’t understand that the degree they were seeking wouldn’t get them an entry level position in their proposed job field. A quick review of the skills needed for the job you want or a search for the profile of someone starting out in the career field you hope to enter will help you determine whether you’re on the right track. This kind of employment search will also help you to figure out whether you need any certifications, or if a particular internship could help you in the future. Check out Career One Stop’s Occupational Profile Tool.
Have a major, but don’t know what you want to do when you graduate?
Colleges have hundreds of majors, and you’ve settled on one you enjoy. But maybe you aren’t sure what you actually want to do with that degree. Like everything in life, my answer is RESEARCH IT.
Most colleges have a handy little tool that shows you what you can do with a degree, check out this one from UNC Wilmington. Then, explore. Use the tools Career One Stop provides, and consider seeking an internship in a field that interests you. Take advantage of summer or semester-based work opportunities, and ask to shadow individuals in jobs that you find intriguing. Find more than one interesting career option? Career One Stop has a Compare Occupations tool that you can use.
It can all change, and that’s okay.
It’s not uncommon for plans to change, and that’s okay. As you learn more about your interests and have more experiences, it’s natural for your plans to shift. Fortunately, for most majors, you will take courses that will apply to a variety of career fields. In the meantime, your job is to do the research, planning, and exploring necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that will land you were you really want to go.
written by: Jaime Boyle