Some entry level jobs are a natural extension of the college degree major. For example, most Accounting majors start out as Accountants. Most Electrical Engineering majors start out as Electrical Engineers.
Yet not all entry level careers fit into this tidy package. Nor do all college majors and degrees directly align with specific jobs. So how do you select a career after college when you’re not sure how your major and career translates into the world of work?
First of all, start with you. Ignore your current degree program for the time being. Do proper career testing in the four most common elements: aptitudes, personality, interests and values. There are standardized career tests for each of these categories, but just as important is to seek out a career counselor on campus to help you analyze and interpret the results. Depending on where you are in your college career, the results may direct you toward new classes and possibly even a new major to better align your educational profile in building out who you will become after college.
Then go external. Explore the different career possibilities available to you based on your career testing. This is the career exploration phase and it has two distinct elements: 1) research; and 2) experiential. Do the research on the different careers available and the key elements involved with each job. We have hundreds of career profiles available at CollegeGrad.com to help you in your research. Don’t take a recommendation from the testing as the sole determining factor in your career selection. Once you have narrowed down your list of potential careers, you need to implement by gaining some practical experience. Any experience counts. While an internship is ideal, you can also gain experience by volunteering or working on campus jobs related to the field. As you gain experience, be careful to split your evaluation for both the career and the employer independent of each other. This will help you to understand what you like (and what you don’t like) both about the job and the potential employer.
As you enter your Senior year and the home stretch toward getting an entry level job, don’t stress that you will be locking yourself in for a lifetime in one specific field. Your first entry level job after college will set your initial career trajectory, but you will likely make several career changes along the way. Talk to anyone who is 20, 30 or 40 years into their work life and you will often find that the person has had several different careers over the course of their work history.
Don’t get stuck waiting for the job to come to you. It won’t. You have to do the work to know what it is, then go out to find it. At CollegeGrad.com, we have more than a million jobs posted at our site. Yet, in the end, all that really matters is that you find the one job that is right for you. We’re here to help you in that quest.