100% of 1 Students
In today's rapidly changing world, the honest truth is your career will take many more twists and turns than your parents probably experienced. Outside of the most specialized licensed professions (Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, etc.), what you do out of school probably won't be what you will be doing for the rest of your life. Even people in those professions may make shifts later in their careers to running their own practice, policy advisory and other professions where they can draw on their expertise to create greater impact.
That said, your first job out of college or grad school is important for setting a good foundation for the early part of your career and beyond. Finding out what you want to do is partially dependent on where you are on the path. A freshman will have a lot more time to figure this out than a graduating senior, for example.
Here's my advice tailored by year in undergraduate:
1. Reflect on what courses you did the best in back in high school and in the first semester of college - Do you notice any trends?
2. Think about what topics interest you most in your pleasure reading or in conversations with your friends - Does anything stick out as a potentially interesting career?
3. Ask yourself: Is there anyone in my family/friends circle, anyone that I've read about or anyone I've seen in the media that I wish to be like (job, lifestyle, etc.)? - Reach out to them or read up on them if possible - How did they get to where they are?
4. Attend a career fair to learn about the kinds of jobs companies hire for internship and full time at your college
5. Speak to professors in classes you've liked about potential career paths coming out of those fields of study
6. Apply for internships or weekend experiences in areas you're remotely interested in. Apply widely and see what sticks!
7. Join some social clubs where you can meet a ton of different people and academic/career oriented clubs that expose you to various fields
8. Start building relationships with alumni through LinkedIn and campus events
Junior - At this point you should have identified your major:
1. Think more critically about your academic performance and where you rank within your class
2. Polish up your resume - extracurricular experience counts! Campus jobs (cooking in the dining halls, working for admissions, etc.) count!
3. Work on interview skills with your university's career center
4. Take any relevant graduate school exams - MCAT, GMAT, GRE. LSAT, etc. (Start prepping in the fall, take it in the spring so you can retake senior year if absolutely necessary)
5. Reach out to your alumni connections and mention you're interested in learning more about their field - Don't beg for a job!
6. Pursue as many on campus recruiting opportunities as you're remotely interested in
7. If you're still undecided, apply widely and see what sticks. It's always best to get a warm introduction through an alumnus.
8. Do very well in your summer internship (NEVER TAKE AN UNPAID INTERNSHIP - unless you plan to work for the federal government) and get a return offer for a full time position
Senior year - If still undecided, not much time left
1. Consider the following: Skilled military programs, Teach for America, Peace Corps, Venture for America
2. Consider grad school programs with no course prereqs: Law school, accelerated nursing, master's of accounting
3. Consider joining a coding bootcamp after graduation or UI/UX
4. Consider general corporate rotation programs with a fairly low barrier to entry
5. Look at entry level government jobs at the city, county or federal level in your area
100% of 1 Students