Most students change their major several times in college. Current college graduates can expect to change their career between 5 and 7 times in their lifetime! If you are undecided and want to get started on that first career, the following tips will help you find and begin your career journey.
Learn about yourself
One-on-One Counseling: A critical step in making the important decision of choosing your major is exploring your skills, interests, and values as they relate to potential careers. The Office of Student Professional Development offers both one-on-one counseling and a variety of interest inventories to help in this exploration. To make an appointment email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quiz Yourself Online:
Take O*Net’s Skills Quiz
Review Occupations online:
A great place to START researching occupations online.
Search O*NET online by different criteria based on your assessment results.
Career One Stop offers comprehensive career information.
The Department of Labor compiles extensive information on careers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Talk to people
Most people, especially on this campus, are willing to talk to you about their major or the class that they teach. You will quickly see that faculty members are many times your best resource because they’ve been out in the work force and can give you a good idea of your career options based on your major. Students with different majors can tell you what they like and don’t like about their classes as well as offer advice on what they wished they would have done when they first got here.
Take advantage of experiences:
Volunteer, join a club or get a part time job in some career areas that you are thinking about. Classroom knowledge is great, but seeing the occupation “in the flesh” paints a clearer picture of what being in the field is all about. The student activities office and career office (both in Shober House) are good places to research these types of opportunities.
Salem College also offers a unique opportunity to students through the college’s January Term. Each year during the month of January, students may enroll in courses on campus, travel programs, independent studies, or internships. The January Term is an ideal time for you to investigate new areas of study; refine your independent learning skills; integrate your theoretical knowledge with practical experience; explore career options; and pursue your research interests.
What if you can’t get into exactly the job you want right away? What kind of job can you take in the interim that will build skills and experience relevant to your chosen career? In what kinds of activities can you engage in the interim that will make you a stronger candidate in a chosen career field–join a professional association? Volunteer with certain organizations? Pick up a language?
Once you’ve chosen a career:
Begin immediately to build your professional connections in that field. Conduct informational interviews with older professionals in your field. Join professional associations and try to get to conferences, workshops and other events.
Try to fit in more internship or shadowing experiences within that field. The more of your future colleagues you know now the easier your job search will be later.