The most difficult question I was ever asked in my first year of university was not a question on an exam or in an interview, but rather a question asked among friends and family:
“Where do you see yourself after graduation?”
As someone with a variety of interests, I saw my life going a few different ways, and the thought of narrowing myself down to one degree was intimidating. For many students, choosing a career path can be one of the most overwhelming decisions they have ever made.
Eventually, I decided to pursue a degree in advertising and public relations, and I never looked back. I now work for a wonderful company in a position that allows me to learn and grow every day. For those of you still struggling to determine your career path, here are four steps to discovering your dream career.
In one of my first university classes, our first assignment was to take a test to determine our Myers-Briggs personality types. This assessment provided a lot of insight into my strengths and weaknesses, which ultimately helped me to narrow down my degree. I also took other online assessments over the years to evaluate my skills, interests and values in relation to possible careers. Taking career assessments can expose you to careers you may never have even considered, and can help you to figure out what you’re best suited for. If you are in the US, then you may consider taking a CLEP practice test like the ones here. The CLEP enables you to earnt college credits without taking college courses.
Utilise on-campus resources
If your university offers a career services department, take advantage of its services! Talk to an adviser about what drives you and what you want your future to look like. This adviser can provide strategies and tools for choosing a career, and may even be able to connect you with faculty members or students who are farther along in their degree. Career advisers are trained in helping students to determine their dream jobs, so make an appointment with an adviser at university!
Think about your passions
When you were five years old, what did you want to do when you grew up? What do you like to do in your spare time? If money weren’t an object, what would you want to do? Dig deep and ask yourself what you’re truly passionate about. Then, think about what types of careers would allow you to exercise those skills.
Look for people who are established in their careers, and see if you can sit them down for an informational interview about what they do. Participate in job shadowing programs. Apply for internships that interest you. Go online and research companies to learn about the overall culture of the jobs you are considering. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
What are some of your tips for choosing your perfect career? Let us know!
Photo: Jared Tarbell / Flickr
Valerie Moses is a marketing and PR professional who lives in Orlando, Florida. When she isn’t with friends or attempting a new healthy recipe, she can be found at her lifestyle and college advice blog, So It Must Be True.