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How hard can it be to get a career in a field unrelated to your major?

I'm looking forward to college and studying Biology (or Geology) and writing/communication. I'm gonna play music and two sports on the side, work a job, hang out with friends, and pretty much whale away at my future without a shred of a plan. Ok, so I'm kidding about that last part, but I really am not as sure as I used to be about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I used to really want to go into the biomedical sciences, which I know is a very promising career field that I think I'd be really good at, but I'm starting to wonder how much I'd enjoy it 20, 30 years in the future. I'm a really outdoors-minded person (I literally work at a kayak/sport shop), and I recently discovered that I really enjoy writing/journalism. I also really want to help people in need, give back, and do some good in the world. I read a little bit about a career in Emergency Management, and I feel like that's a job that I'd be really good at, would enjoy doing, and would feel good about myself at the end of the day for doing it. It's a 2-year degree track, though, and I want to get least a 4 year degree because of all the options it opens up to me. To sum up, I guess I want to get a degree in Biology because of all the career choices it opens up to me, but I don't quite know what I want to do with it yet. Could you help me pare down my options a little bit? Thanks!
college-major career career-counseling academic-advising biology writing emergency-management

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Ken’s Answer

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Celine’s Answer

Picking a career at the age of 11/12, studying in that field at the age of 18/19 and continuing a career in that field at the age of 30/40 is more often less of a probability than you ending up working in a field far removed from your actual studies or ambitions at the age of 11. Statistically more people work outside of their field of study than work in it. I find people tend to navigate naturally to what they are destined to do or are particularly good at - thats often completely separate to their field of study - what study does reflect for you otherwise is your ability to learn, focus, be driven and succeed in a particular area at a particular level - all very valuable traits for a potential candidate - so whether your role is relevant to your studies - your studies will always be relevant to a role ;)
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