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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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I believe that's natural for everyone after graduation - where do I go from here? what am I meant to do? how long will it take? I think the world offers limitless possibilities, and it is fine to keep all of your options open. The best advice given to me was to pursue the intersection point between your passion and your skills. Where those come together offers the best chance for success. But you must try out options sometimes many in order to find out what are you most passionate about. And your passion can change over time so don't set limitations on yourself. . .

My degree was in journalism, but I was not specifically set on being a print journalist, rather, finding a way to utilize my skills to gain entry into the entertainment spectrum. From there I used my inquisitive and documentation skills to begin a career in facilities, operations and eventually space planning, construction and design. I needed my skills from studying journalism to ask the right questions and then listen to the answers given in order to turn around successful projects. And then I wove my way into different areas where I could use those skills but continue to learn and try different things - studio/film operations, real estate, consumer products, television operations, and then found my newest passion which is to make a difference on the workplace of the group that tries to make a difference in our world.

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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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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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