Exploration is the key.
That’s the message from career counselors at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, who say students should investigate their interests and what interests them before choosing a major and embarking on a career path.
“One of the advantages of being at a community college is it allows for students to explore possible majors and careers while also working toward a degree or their general education needed prior to transferring to a four-year college,” said Lisa Rodriguez, Cuyamaca College career counselor. “We offer a lot of resources to help students find their way.”
Among the tips offered by the Career Center Faculty:
- Explore your personality type. Rodiguez urges students to visit the Career Center and ask to take the Do What You Are personality assessment or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Understanding your personality will help you choose a major that matches who you are.
- Find a major that fits you. Online tools, such as MyMajors.com, abound. Fritz Grupe, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, and creator of the MyMajors.com assessment site, says many new college students are working from a disadvantage. “They haven’t been exposed to many of the disciplines that are out there, like anthropology, sociology or social work, so they’re trying to make a decision without knowing anything about it,” says Grupe.
- What is your passion? According to many career coaches, finding a job that fits your passion is as simple as asking yourself whether you love the work so much that you would do the job for free.
- Have a plan. Counseling centers at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges can help you set the foundation for your future by developing an education plan. There also are myriad online tools available, such as CareerCruising.
- Do your research. Finding out about career options is as simple as visiting websites such as www.onetonline.org or www.bls.gov/oco for career information. In addition, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has an exhaustive list of employment projections for various professions over the next 10 years. And Grossmont College offers links to a number of community resources.
- Join professional associations, clubs and organizations. It’s not too early to learn about various professions. Students can learn a lot by networking and joining professional organizations.
- Gain career-related experiences. Cindy Morrin, Cuyamaca Career Center Coordinator, says students should ask their counselor about enrollment in Work Experience and seek out career experiences through part-time work, internships, or volunteering. Work Experience programs are offered at both Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges.
- Be flexible. You may start off with an interest in a particular field, but if you lose your motivation for that kind of work, don’t be afraid to switch gears.