It’s that time of year where you may be asked everyone’s favorite question: “What are you going to do after graduation?”
First, it’s okay to not know right now. There are many paths you can take, from a full-time job, an internship or graduate school to traveling or joining other organizations. There’s time to figure it out, and Career Services is here to help every step of the way. Here are some tips to help you narrow down your options and make decisions about your future.
Reflect on your experiences
Sit down with a notebook and start to reflect on your college experience so far. Think about what you’ve learned in your classes and what you’ve liked so far about your academic program. For example, maybe you’ve really enjoyed working with others on group projects and being part of a team.
Next, reflect on your experiences outside of the classroom. This includes participating in student organizations, sports, events, fraternity or sorority life, part-time jobs and other extracurricular activities. What aspects of those experiences did you like? What didn’t you like? Did you take on any leadership positions or roles with exciting projects? Have you learned any new skills in these roles?
Finally, consider your values, personality, interests and aptitudes and how they might align with any future plans. A great tool to help with this is the YouScience assessment. YouScience can help you learn more about your natural strengths and abilities, and will suggest potential career options based on your results. To find out more and get access to the assessment, come to a drop-in at Career Services.
Explore different paths
Once you’ve reflected on your experiences and interests, explore your different options:
Research possible careers using tools like What Can I Do With This Major?, O*Net or FirstHand. Read through the skills and tasks to get a sense of different roles and if you could see yourself in them.
Conduct informational interviews with people who are working in the same jobs or industries that you’re considering. This can help you get a better idea of what it's like to actually work in the field.
Look for internships or part-time jobs that are relevant to a career you’re considering in order to experience it yourself.
Check out these things to do if you’re considering graduate school.
Attend free events and programs to learn about industry trends and get more tips for making decisions about your future.
Attend spring career fairs to meet with potential employers and learn about job openings.
Talk it out
As you consider different paths, it can help to talk about your next steps with someone. This could be a faculty member, supervisor, family member, mentor or friend. They may be able to share a different perspective or insight that can help you figure out what you’d like to do after college.
Peer career advisors in Career Services can also help you explore options and share additional resources during an express appointment. Or if you prefer to virtually drop in, you can attend office hours which doesn’t require an appointment. Learn more about getting started with Career Services.