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How can I know what I want to do for my future job?

I'm still not sure what I want to do when I grow up. How can I explore more options? #job #career-choice #college-major #career-counseling #college

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Subject: Career question for you

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James’s Answer

Lots of great advice was shared from Frank and Yin. I'll share one other helpful tip

YouTube is a terrific resource for this kind of inquiry. You can search for "day in the life of x" and see first hand what a day looks like for a profession that you are interested in. This is a great way to then identify trends or patterns for the types of professional activities you'd like to do each day. It also provides real world, immersive perspectives so you can judge for yourself if you see yourself in this field.
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Frank’s Answer

Hello Jonathan,

This is a common question must people ask themselves and luckily there are many resources to help you determine what might be best for you. I do not know if you have any ideas or interest in any particular careers but if you do, you can always try reaching out to people in that career/field and get their feedback on their experience. This is always useful to do since I was sure I wanted to go into a particular career and during my first semester and talking to my professor about the my field of choice was able to determine maybe it was not the best choice for me since there were somethings that I did not think of or might have overlooked. Another thing I did when I was deciding was to take an aptitude test to get an idea of what might be helpful career choices for me as I am and narrowing it down from there based on what might have been interesting to me. I hope some of this might help you with your journey.
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Yin’s Answer

Hi Jonathan!

There are many ways to explore different career options to see what works best for you. From personal experience, these are some of the things I did when I was attending college:

- Attend company-sponsored networking events: many companies will host networking events on campus (and at their office sometimes) for students to interact with their employees. Some of these events are advertised to the general student body, such as career fairs, while some are advertised to specific majors so be sure to check out any major-specific networking events too! These are great opportunities to hear first-hand what working in their role and at that company is like, and you can likely continue to build that relationship with them through follow-up coffee chats! I believe this is one of the best ways to learn about different career options.

- Trying / joining different student organizations: just looking over what student organizations are out there can help with better understanding the different options that exist.

- Registering for different classes: taking the intro classes for different majors. Do take into account the amount of time needed to complete the pre-rec requirements for the major(s) you're interested in pursuing.

- Talk to a career coach on campus

I hope this helps, and best of luck!!
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S’s Answer

I have spent many years in my life thinking I wanted to go down certain career paths. The surest way I have found to know if a certain course of action is the right one is to do it. You will never know by thinking about it or even talking to people who have done it, although their insights can be helpful. Volunteer, do internships, take classes that require you to actually do the work vs. studying the theory. Doing is the best way to know if you like something enough to choose it as your career. One later in life and recent example - I thought for sure I wanted to be a yoga teacher as a side hustle. My very first day of class I knew immediately that no, I did not want to teach yoga. I realized what I loved about yoga was being a student, not a teacher! Good luck with your research!
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Indrani’s Answer

Hello Johnathan
Please know that you are not alone, some of us even in the prime of our careers are unsure.
Youtube is a very good source to look for information of what your interests are and also getting connected in Linkedin with different people in various careers , there are some events in linkedin where industry experts talk about certain fields.
Hope this helps.
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Sarah M.’s Answer

The answers above are all great - it's a good idea to see what is out there, and you can also do that by checking out job profiles and descriptions on recruiting sites, talking to family friends about their careers, too. If there's a particular company or industry that you admire, check their websites and career pages to see what they say, and also the types of careers that they cover. I work for a large multi-national in a software development team, but there are hundreds of different roles across the organisation, and being aware of those can be helpful, as it may suggest a career path to you, how you might wish to move vertically or laterally in an organisation or industry. Comparing role profiles can show you the similar and transferrable skills in each.

I'm on my third career, I would say, and still have times where I wonder what I want to do with my life - and that's OK! I think it's important to acknowledge that not many people will find a job and stick with it for their whole career, or even stay in the same industry. Let that take the pressure off not knowing exactly what it is you want to do now. You'll continue to grow and learn, jobs will change, and you aren't stuck.

Figuring out your values, and what is important to you is key - this will highlight to you the things you care about, and may have passion for. It doesn't have to be a job, but it can be an activity, a feeling, and then you can find ways in your life and work to help meet these values, and grow. It's great you've asked this question - knowing yourself is key to finding what will interest and drive you.

Some really great advice I've had from a mentor, too, is that not everything you have to do is about your passion, exciting or totally amazing. As long as you are finding ways to feel fulfilled, happy and challenged in the right ways, you will find the ideal balance. If your job isn't your "passion", find things in your personal life the fulfil your values, and look at ways to achieve or relate activities in your work as ways to achieve those things you highlighted as valuable to you.
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