Most high school and college students fall into one of three categories with regard to career:
- They are all set to dive into a specific career path.
- Their career is unknown, but they have a specific subject they really enjoy.
- They have no idea of a career or a subject of special interest.
If you fall into the first category, you may want to investigate the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook to learn what level of education is needed for the career you have chosen, what the job forecast is for that career, and what the job typically pays.
If you are in the second category, you may want to find out what career options you might have if you major in that subject in college by checking out a site like this.
If you have no idea of a career or subject of interest, it might be best to determine your personality type using a Myers Briggs personality test and then see how the careers for that personality type appeal to you.
Whichever group you are in, it is good to get first hand career exposure for careers you are considering by doing as many of the following as soon as possible:
- Talk with someone in that career
- Shadow someone in that career for a few hours or a few days
- Volunteer or work part time in that career or a related one to see if and how you like it
- Do research or a capstone project related to your career
- Take advantage of service learning related to your career (i.e., a class with a community service component) to gain some real world experience
- Join a student organization related to your career.
Be sure to take advantage of the career guidance available in high school and college. For example, your college advisor or a professor in your major can help you by:
- Talking about the career with you and answering questions you may have
- Providing guidance regarding what classes to take
- Providing you research opportunities
- Introducing you to potential employers
- Providing references and letters of recommendation for graduate school or jobs.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your colleges Career Services offices which provides services like:
- Career assessments
- Help with resumes, cover letters, and interviews
- Listings of internships, co-op opportunities and jobs
- Career fairs
- Graduate school application assistance including preparation for exams (e.g., GRE, LSAT, MCAT).
You can help yourself in your career search and growth by:
- Strengthening you writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills
- Joining professional organizations for your profession
- Networking (e.g., with alumni, with local business people, with local chamber of commerce members)
- Using social media like LinkedIn to aid in your job search.
While you are in college, don’t forget to keep your grades up and make use of these services so you can do your best academically:
- Study groups
- Professor’s office hours
- Writing Center
- Math Center
- Learning Differences Resources (if appropriate).