10 answers

How do you find what you want to do?

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I am finding I enjoy some of my classes but don't know if they will lead me to a job that I will enjoy. #college #career

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10 answers

Syed’s Answer

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Hi Hope,

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:

Freshman/Sophomore:
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
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Michael’s Answer

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Holly:

Nick's answer above has a number of great points (work life balance, potential money, etc). Having been out of college for almost 30 years now I had a choice to make when I was a Senior in College, go into a career in Information Technology or go into Finance as a Stock Broker. I chose the former and started my journey as an IT professional

A couple of things attracted to me to the job back then and still do today - Constant learning and change forcing you to keep your skills up and focus on continual learning. An added benefit is the IT field has a lot of well paying jobs and a wide variety of jobs. One of my biggest recommendations to you would be to obtain internships in the field(s) you are interested in each summer so you can see first hand how the job will be. Another recommendation is to ensure you are on LinkedIN following and learning from people in the fields you are interested in. If you type in a Day in the Life of xxx there are many resources for a variety of jobs so you can see what people in that field think about the career field they are in.

Of course the job you are going to be doing out of college will be different in the latter part of your career as you gain more experience and you have to make a decision - Do you become an expert in that field or transition into management? Read and learn as much as you can about the fields that interest you and than target those two or three areas for internships. Hope this helps and good luck!

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Ari’s Answer

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I am a current junior in college and I can honestly say that my choice of major came from growing up in a home where my parents owned two companies. My mom would sit me down and ask me to help her with small tasks that eventually led me to believe that I wanted to go to college for business. When I first started looking at colleges I wanted to major in science and minor in business.
I spent three years in high school taking business classes (marketing 1 year, accounting for two years). I also did DECA for three years. By the time I was applying to college in my senior year (2016-2017) I was looking at majoring in accounting and no minor to start. When I told some family members that I was going to college for accounting they gave me a suggestion on a career that I could do. My dream is to be a forensic accountant and thanks to connections with alumni of my university I know that I want to start in auditing,
The best advice I can give is to not be afraid to declare a major based on your interests and then change it later in your college years or declare a minor to fine tune what you want to go into the work force for. Many of my friends have been like me and ended up declaring a minor at some point to broaden their scope of what they can do with their degree.
I also have friends that have waited until their second year of college to declare a major so don't be afraid to go down that route. maybe get an internship in the field you think you want to go into early in your college career and that might help you to figure things out a bit
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Eyasmine’s Answer

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From experience, I didn't know what to study for the longest time until recently. I am a sophomore in college and during my third semester, I was still undeclared. It wasn't until I had to meet with my advisor for a required assignment that I started to peak interest in different majors. She really helped in my decision to finally declare something that I could actually see myself doing and being in a career I could be happy in. So hopefully, you can speak with an advisor who can guide you to where you want to go.

Another thing that helped me find what I wanted to do/what I had interests in where career quizzes. There are tons of free quizzes online that give you career suggestions and you simply rate them on whether you like them or not and then at the end, it gives you a top 10 or 20 list of possible careers you could be interested in. There are also quizzes that go more into depth by asking you how you interact in a group, or whether or not you would like an office job, etc.

But I found these really helped me and I hope it does for you too!
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David’s Answer

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What job would you do volunteer wise with no pay? What job would you do, where you had to pay a fee, just to do the job. When I was in my early thirties, I landed a job as a linesman. Then I became a ref. And eventually I was a supervisor and evaluator. I progressed, because I loved it so much. And I would have paid a fee just to do it. My supervisors picked up on this, as well as the coaches and players. Whenever playoff time came around, I always made it.

Sometimes, you have to go back to your elementary school days. What was the job you wrote down when you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? It may still linger in your subconscious mind. I wanted to be an on ice official, when I was eleven.

This is what I tell people to do, when they are not sure, what it is they want to be. Make a list of all of the things that what know in your heart, that you do not want to be. The answer, usually falls into your lap.

If you like some of the subjects, that you take now, it may just lead you to being a nurse, or doctor.
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Marcie’s Answer

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I'm not really sure if you ever really do. There are so many jobs and opportunities that you never would have imagined or never would have imagined yourself doing. It's important to follow opportunities and activities that bring you joy and challenge you, but never close yourself off to opportunities because you have a specific path you want to take. You never know where you will end up or where your skills will come in handy. You'll realize you figured out what you want to do when you are doing it.

I know that's probably a super vague and frustrating response, but just be on the lookout and keep networking.
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Nick’s Answer

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First I think it's important to discover what you would want from a career. Ask yourself a few question about what you would need from it.

-Amount of money
-Work/Life balance
-Type of work
-Pros/Cons and what you can and cant deal with
-Multitask?
-Solo or team effort environment.

With any job there is always something, something that's a bummer. Its really depends on the type of person you are and what sparks your interest. What ever you decide have it tailored to your future needs. I say this because what you like now will change as your get older so make sure you can switch careers if you decide to later on in life. Hope this helps.
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Alyssa’s Answer

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Start connecting with people on LinkedIn in jobs that seem like something you would want to do.

Ask them about their day to day tasks and keep a running list of those tasks that you would like to do and wouldn't like to do.

Once you have this list, connect with Career Services at your university and see if they have any recommendations.
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alexys’s Answer

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I felt the same way when i was going to college, just hoping i would find out what i wanted as my career. That day did not come. I choose my career path based off something i struggled with and found interest in how things worked and why. I became a Optician. It spiked a interest and i took off with it.
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Gloria’s Answer

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It took me a long time to determine what I wanted to do for a living. If you are still looking around, one way you could search is through volunteering. You can work with some great organizations and they will give you many great tasks to try out. For example, when I volunteer, I have done everything from guarding to sorting food to delivering food to people in need. Each of these roles are very different and not always something that you are exposed to every day. In my work life, I made sure to take jobs that I didn't know anything about to see how it worked out. That is easier when you are not the primary source of salary at home. If you are going to college, I would recommend taking courses that you don't think that you would like. It is good to be exposed to various things. You can't know what you don't know.
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