Connect Majors & Careers
Is there a difference between choosing a major and choosing a career? For many students, the purpose of attending college is to ultimately secure employment. When considering the major/career decision, you may wish to keep the following in mind:
- "Major" refers to an area of study, not necessarily a defined occupation.
- Although some careers may require certain majors (i.e. nursing, teaching, accounting), many careers do not demand a certain major.
- In many cases, employers hire people with skills, not particular majors. They look for employees who have the ability to complete tasks associated with the job description.
- Job titles do not fully convey information about the skills required to fulfill the job responsibilities. Similarly, college majors do little to convey your qualifications to pursue a specific job.
A Self Quiz
Career decision-making is an active, thought-provoking, and sometimes time-consuming process. It involves assessing your interests, abilities, experiences and values to determine how best you would fit into the world of work. Why not start today by asking yourself the following questions. You may even want to jot your answers down while you think!
- What activities do I participate in during my spare time?
- What am I good at?
- What have I done in the past that makes me especially proud?
- What skills would I like to improve?
- What classes am I currently taking or have taken that I most enjoy?
- What do I value?
- How do my values affect my academic and career interests?
- What are my life circumstances and how might these affect my decision?
- What are my career goals?
- How do these goals fit with my values, interests and abilities?
Think about the answers that you have given. What are they telling you about your current and future direction?
Four-Year Career Planning Timeline
Deciding on a major and choosing a career does not happen overnight. Both are ongoing processes which should begin in your freshman year and continue to graduation (and beyond!). Here are some reminders to keep in mind as you proceed through your educational experience:
- Complete your MyTrek requirements right away...you can even start before you begin attending classes! Go to MyTrek
- Locate the LCSC catalog and become familiar with graduation requirements (core, # of credits required, grading policies, etc.). Go to the Catalog
- Consider enrolling in Student Development 100 (Study Skills) or Student Development 192 (Freshmen Seminar).
- Pay close attention to the General Education Core ("Core") classes that you take each semester. Which ones do you enjoy most? What type of concepts, discussions, theories, and assignments might lead you to pursuit of a future career area.
- Take a look at the Majors- Where do they lead? page which helps connect majors with careers.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. They offer the opportunity to develop career-related skills (like leadership and teamwork), make friends, and serve the college community.
- Establish a relationship with your advisor. A college advisor can help you in your decision-making processes and can provide you with valuable insight into the college community. In addition, an advisor who knows you (and your work) well can write a supporting letter for you when applying for jobs or graduate programs.
- Choose your part-time and summer jobs carefully. Use these jobs to help you evaluate your career interests and develop important work skills.
Online resources like the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*Net are two helpful research tools. In addition, you will find The Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance as well as two series entitled "Opportunities in..." and "Careers in..." a variety of fields.
- Conduct informational interviews with professionals who are working in fields that interest you, with faculty members in academic divisions that interest you.
- Visit Career & Advising Services web page home
- Review the current listing of Workshops & Presentations
- Meet with your academic advisor on a regular basis.
- Declare a major, if you have not yet done so. Remember, you still have the freedom to change your mind later on!
- Sign up for and attend the Applying to Graduate School Seminar (offered during fall semester).
- Take steps to prepare for graduate school (if you are considering furthering your education).
- Choose your courses carefully. Be certain that you are taking courses required for graduation. In addition, enroll in electives that will enhance your future employment opportunities.
- Join a professional organization within your chosen field.
- Participate in a cooperative education or internship experience to increase your knowledge of your chosen field and future employment marketability.
- Continue to gain work experience related to your field.
- Begin networking with professionals in your field through information interviews, professional memberships, or campus/major involvement.
- Review the current list of Workshops & Presentations
- Make an appointment to meet with your advisor to be sure that you have completed all graduation requirements.
- Identify references and ask them if you may use them as an employment reference (and/or write a letter of recommendation on your behalf).
- Attend a Resume Workshop, create a resume and have it critiqued by a career services professional .
- Register with Career & Advising Services and set up a credential file.
- Apply to graduate school/s if you plan to continue your education after graduation.