How To Choose A Career

Virtually no one knows what they want to do after college. What undergrads do know is that they need a job after they graduate, or its move-in time with the parents (every graduates nightmare). Even if you do know which career path you want to follow, that decision could change in a split second during your college years.

Of course, you don’t need to be stressing about the working world during your freshman year, but it’s never too early to start figuring out what your interests and passions are. If you take a psychology class and become fascinated in Freudian slips, then maybe psych is your calling. Psychology is also a common class to take to fulfill your general education classes, a great benefit to enrolling in interesting college courses. On the other hand, your chemistry and physics classes had you grinding your teeth and screaming at your laptop every night, so pursuing science is not a likely possibility. Or you could embrace the challenge, as you have for years in high school, and decide to make a B.S. degree the ultimate goal for your college career.

The step you must start with when figuring out how to choose a career is to first choose the right major. This will help you find your niche in the job market. Even if you don’t utilize your knowledge from your major courses right away, the education and skills you gain in college will help you in a broad range of occupations. While there are more specific majors such as Biochemical Engineering and Viticulture (winemaking), there are also broad majors that give you the skills to help you succeed in a variety of jobs. For example, a Communication major can pursue a career in Broadcast and Print Journalism, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising, Counseling, Psychology, and Sales (to only name a few). This is a good option if you’re struggling with how to choose a career and have absolutely no idea what they want to do after college (even as a junior).

College is the most enjoyable time of your life. It is also the time to figure out how to choose a career and what you want to do as a professional. Although freshman year is a time spent integrating yourself into the university and making self-discoveries, it can also be a time to get a head start on goals for the future. You can make short-term and long-term goals for college, starting with the end of freshman year to graduation. Writing down these goals will remind you everyday to keep working hard in your classes and do everything you can to succeed on your exams.

You should also visit your campus Internship and Career Center to get your resume reviewed. You can include any significant experience in a professional environment on your resume, and any help you receive from peer advisors will improve your resume and make it look even more impressive to employers. After perfecting your college resume, you can then apply for nearby internships (many of which are available on campus).

Applying for internships is a great way to explore different career paths (even if they don’t exactly fit with your major). Gaining experience in a professional environment is beneficial in any internship you have. You will learn proficient organizational, time-management, leadership, and communication skills with an internship. You can also meet new people who share the same interests as you and possibly make incredible friendships during your journey of figuring out how to choose a career.

You may get rejected from some internship positions during the school year, but don’t let this discourage you from continuing to apply. There are many opportunities available to you on and off campus, and you are sure to find something that will fit your needs and interests.

Whether or not you choose a career path early on in college, finding an actual job is a difficult journey. You need experience, tremendous work ethic and, of course, time. But with career goals in mind and a list of your personal interests, your chances of choosing the right career path and finding a satisfactory job will inevitably increase.

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Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, as well as a Spanish minor. She is originally from Orange County, where she grew up playing tennis. She is currently a member of the UC Davis Women’s Tennis Team. When she is not studying, she enjoys singing, reading, and cooking all different kinds of food. She also loves spending time with friends and family.
Megan Heneghan

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