Resources for Picking A Major
Picking a major is not easy. You may be good at drawing, but not be sure what careers align. You may know that the healthcare industry is growing, but you don’t like the sight of blood. Picking a career can seem like a lifetime commitment, and in a way, it is. However, it does not have to be a daunting decision that you make blindly. Consider using these resources to get started.
Career Counseling: Not all career counselors are created equally, but many of them have their heart in the right place. Make an appointment with your career services department (high schools career counselors too). Talk about your interests, aptitude, and areas of development. These individuals may have access to helpful assessments, experts in the field, and classes to test your interests.
Myers Briggs Personality Assessment: Work with a certified practitioner and learn your personality type. A certified practitioner can also help you focus your interests and find tools for development based on your type.
Interests Profiles: Take a reputable interest profile assessment, like the one offered by O*NET. This assessment (not a test) asks a series of questions and then organizes your answers into career categories. It will help you align your interests with potential careers.
Co-ops, Internships, and/or Job Shadowing: Gaining exposure to what people in different careers do will give you a better understanding of the obligations, skills, and tasks required of a specific career. This may help you decide on a specific degree program.
Read and Research: There are a million blogs, articles, and books chronicling the working lives of professionals. Be sure to read multiple blogs, articles, and books regarding the same career to gain various perspectives. O*Net Online is a great place to start. The website offers a pretty comprehensive list of career opportunities organized into industries. Each occupations includes average duties, required skills, and expected educational requirements. Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs is a great book that discusses a variety of jobs from multiple perspectives. It may not be the place to begin your research, but it might be a good place to find a candid perspective.
Your major may limit your career opportunities, so taking care in picking it is important. However, we all have to make tough decisions in our lives. This may be one of your first and I hope the resources above help you get started.
Photo from Flickr under the Creative Commons License (No changes were made the photo).