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How long did it take for you to figure out what career you were interested in?

How long did it take for you to figure out what career you were interested in? I'm a Junior and I still don't know what I want to do after college. #career #time-management

Thank you comment icon I am a final year student and I am still struggling with my future career. You can choose something you are interested in and work on that first, before deciding what your real career is. ;) Jennifer
Thank you comment icon I am also a junior and trying to figure out the same thing. It is so hard. But we can do it :) Emily
Thank you comment icon great effort Cameron

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Gina’s Answer

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My view is that it is perfectly normal to not know what you want to do. And even after you decide what you want to do, what you value and enjoy may change, or the industry may change!


I myself am now on my fourth career (I tried engineering, policy, management consulting, and now am doing product management), and I will guess there will be many more careers over my lifetime. I don't think I'll ever have it "figured out." Many people I know have made at least one big switch - studied medicine and then went into business, studied biology and then went into venture capital, studied engineering and went into law, English and then fundraising, theater and then finance. I even know someone who was an actress who now works for the State department!


The important thing is to keep an open mind, and build the skills you need to land the next job that looks interesting to you. I totally agree with Will's approach. Speak to as many people as possible to get an idea of what is out there. For now, just focus on getting that first job. Once you have that first job, you will be able to discover what you like about it and what you don't like as much. Then you will use that information to guide your next decision, and will be able to compare against your first job. The more experience you have, the more doors will open for you, but also, you will be able to learn what you find meaningful (as well as what you can't stand).


So don't stress too much about having it all "figured out" by the time you graduate. What matters right now is finding that first job, trying your hardest to contribute, and learning as much as you can. And my one piece of practical advice is: pick people to work with whom you admire and really get along with. Your day-to-day happiness with your job and career choice will depend a lot more on your immediate manager and team than on being at the "perfect-on-paper" job. If you can find a manager who looks out for you, and whom you can really learn from, that will make all the difference.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the response! I didn't realize how often people change into a different career path. Daniella
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Jenny’s Answer

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Hey Arianna,


First off, don't stress! I know that society, parents, and even peers may pressure you to feel like you NEED to know what you want to do for the rest of your life, but the reality is that interests change, and you don't have to have an answer right now.


My first major in college was criminal justice. I figured out really quickly that I didn't like to memorize law codes, so I changed my major to sports journalism, which then changed to advertising, and eventually changed to PR (Public Relations). The funny part of this, is that now I have a career as a trainer/educator in Social Media (I teach people how to engage and use social media at Dell). My point, is that I changed majors quite a few times, and eventually didn't even go into the field of study of PR. It's not that my degree wasn't important, it's more about the fact that I got the degree.


The other part of this, is that there are many careers out there for you, you just have to think about what you really like, and what makes you happy. I figured out that I like people, I love teaching people, and I love helping. That being said, there are many jobs that fit those requirements. So ask yourself, what is it that's most important to you? Do you like to analyze data? Do you like to help people? Do you like to travel? Think of the things that are most important, and try to find jobs that will allow you to do these things.


Lastly, don't be afraid to change your mind. What you are interested in today, may change tomorrow, or even 5 years from now. Follow your heart, and what you are passionate about at the time, and the rest should fall into place.

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Will’s Answer

Be really honest with you, everyone ask the same question.


No one really can tell what you are interested unless you explore the opportunity out there yourself. You need to know what makes you excited daily? What makes you wants to stand up and wake up early in the morning to complete the task. Talk to friends, instructors, and family member. They should be able to provide you with minor hint on what you like.


Then seek opportunity to speak with professional in the field that you are interest. Most people should be able to provide you with a general idea on what's the job or career encompass. Investigate, explore and ask plenty of question.


Good luck.

Thank you comment icon This is a really useful answer. Thank you! Daniella
Thank you comment icon You can volunteer or intern in different areas to get a sense of what may interest you. You can speak to people in fields that may interest you . People are generally happy to talk about what they do on a daily basis. You would would want to know the pros and cons to their field. Everything has its own set of challenges.You can ask other people for help ,but it really comes down to you making the choice.Good Luck! Rachel
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Janice’s Answer

It didn't happen for me right away and I don't think it really does for most people. If you are able to focus on what you are passionate about - (for me it was connecting with people) that's a start. I was also willing to start from the ground up. My first job was as a receptionist in HR. I just wanted to get my foot in the door and learn what I could about the field. Soon I started to develop relationships and eventually I found a mentor who was instrumental in my career development. Today, I try to pay that forward whenever I can. Be patient - it may not happen overnight, but it's worth waiting for if you truly want to do what you love and love what you do. Good luck!

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Jessica’s Answer

Hi Arianna,


I think it is more important to figure out what you are passionate about and where your strengths lie before you categorize that into a specific career path. Once you figure that out you can look at which types of careers suit you well and you would enjoy getting up each day to do. I always thought I wanted to go into marketing/advertising and tried it for a year and found out it probably wasn't the best fit. Now I work in recruiting and love it and it completely plays to my strengths, but before my current position I never even considered HR or recruiting. It is totally fine to explore different opportunities and see what you like best, each one will help you in some way even if it is not directly applicable to your career.

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Brian’s Answer

Hi Arianna


No need to fear, I still don't know exactly what my career interests are about 4 years into the job market. :)


What has worked well for me has been pursuing something I was good at and pursuing topics that aligned well to my skill set. I studied Finance in college and did some internships as well as started my career there. My general interests lied in Math and Business which led me to that field of study. Now my job revolves more around Staffing Analytics which can be very similar to Financial modeling in a lot of ways.


My advice to you would be to align with a field of study in which you think you might be interested in subject areas where your talents are complimented well. Aside from that I would just try to get as much exposure to people in that field to get a better feel for quality of life and day-to-day activities they experience. There are a lot of great programs out there that will help you get a better sense of a path you may like to pursue.

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Angela’s Answer

I believe this process of discovery is unique to everyone. My own process has really been defined for me since I joined LinkedIn. I think a positive working environment helps tremendously in finding your passion. However, if that is not the case then reading about the success of others in industries that trigger your interest is a great place to start!

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Justin’s Answer

I was pretty lucky because I found event planning the Summer after Freshman year. I did not know I like event planning until all of the work was over. I enjoyed the little details that go into events along with hosting people and making sure they have a great experience. I would make sure to put yourself out there and try new things. You never know what can happen. I thought about finance and investment banking but soon found that was NOT for me. Interview for internships, go to career fairs and make sure to not only talk to the representatives but get their cards and FOLLOW UP. That is the key. Be on their radar just in case you figure out you really like something. You will already have a foot in the door and be ahead of everyone else.

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Genfu Felix’s Answer

When I was in high school I wanted to be a police officer and in college I wanted to be a computer programmer but it wasn't until started working that I realized what I was passionate about. I would try either seeking internships or requesting shadowing with people who work in the fields that your are interested and start narrowing down your choices from there.

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Malorie’s Answer

Arianna,


That is a great question! It wasn't until after I had graduated college and was actually in my Master's program that everything really started to click for my career path! I think sometimes it is trial and error. You have to combine skills you are good at with skills you enjoying doing to find that perfect job. Try a job that interests you and if you are not satisfied, figure out what it is that you are not satisfied with and then begin to look for a job that would fulfill that void!

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Richie’s Answer

In my case I was majoring in math and did not have any particular plans for career. I the second year of college I took some computer science courses and I discovered that I loved programming computers, so when I graduated I got job as a programmer. This was a just a lucky accident for me - but knowing a lot of math was good preparation for being a software engineer. I've been doing this for over 20 years.


Hopefully what you learn in college will give you more options on deciding what jobs to do. New kinds of jobs are constantly created. For example, when I was in college there was no such thing as a web designer.

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Stacey’s Answer

It took me all of high school and 3 years of college before I finally started narrowing down my interests (I felt like I was interested in almost everything)! I would recommend really paying attention to similar topics in school that you like, and then comparing those to your interests (books you like to read, TV shows you like to watch, people you admire, etc), to see if a common theme emerges. If one does, then you can start looking into which careers would be a good fit. Good luck!

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Nicholas’s Answer

Start by asking yourself - what do I really love? What gets me going in the morning? This is something that can help at least start the process of discovery.
Other than that - try lots of things, especially now while you're in school. Go for different internships with different companies in different industries. You'll discover what you're good at, where you feel successful, and then you can grow from there.
I think the statistic now is that the average professional will change their career 7 times in their lifetime (not job - career!). I'm personally on number 3 and it's been a fascinating ride. Even though I am on #3, there is still a common thread - I love working, talking, and networking with people and being able to help them in some way.
Don't worry - you'll find yours too.

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Renee’s Answer

That is a great question. I myself was interested in nursing when I was 18. I went through classes and did hands on work with the elderly. After a year found that that I did not like it as much as I thought I would. Here I am 15 years later doing sales and I love it. I still get to work with people however its a different way then I thought I wanted. I say peruse you degree in what you are interested in you cant go wrong with that.

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Verified’s Answer

I decided on a Biomedical Engineering major toward the end of sophomore year in college because I had to pick a major. That was my major, but work in my career has followed different directions throughout the years. When you are continuously learning new things, your work paths can change and vary throughout your career.

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Steffi’s Answer

I didn't choose working in Healthcare, it chose me! I went to college having no idea what to major in. It wasn't until I started volunteering at a place for young troubled teens that I found my calling. Now I get to incorporate my counseling experience with my healthcare experience helping Kidney Disease patients get their medications at a low cost and get to counsel them as well. The best thing I can tell you is to start volunteering somewhere that you have a passion for, then once you start putting yourself out there who knows what opportunities and doors will open for you! Good luck!

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