major & career exploration
Choosing a major and career can feel overwhelming. The following steps are meant to help you from your first year until graduation. Although these are presented as steps, we encourage you to begin where you need to. Keep in mind that these steps are all connected to the “bigger picture” when it comes to deciding on a major and career. No matter where you start (or where you are stuck!), our career services staff is here to help support you throughout the process.
Reflect on Your Identity or Your "Sense of Self"
Gaining an understanding of your “sense of self” and how it relates to your career journey is extremely important. Understanding and reflecting on your “sense of self” can help you make confident decisions such as deciding on a major or a career path. However, identity is complex with multiple parts that all influence each other. In order to begin understanding your own identity or “sense of self,” reflect on the questions below. Always remember, our career counselors are here to engage in conversations with you on your own “sense of self” and how it might apply to your major and career journey:
- What are the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make you or your community different from others?
- Where did you grow up? Where did you live?
- What was your parents' career path?
Explore your interests & personality type
- Take a career assessment to understand your personality or interests and meet with a career counselor.
- Play the Career Interest Game.
Identify your values, skills, and strengths
You have unique values, skills and strengths. Identify where they come from and how they play a role in exploring majors and careers. Also reflect on how they influence your “sense of self.” Understanding your values and skills can also help you in several other ways, including writing a resume and cover letter, interviewing and exploring and preparing for graduate school.
Explore your major and career options
- Explore CEHD majors and careers.
- All majors at the U of M
- Look at job descriptions on employment sites like GoldPASS and Indeed.com.
- Online resources for researching careers
Engage and gain experience
Spending time outside the classroom can be a helpful way to explore majors and careers. There are many ways to get involved on and off campus to explore interests and gain leadership skills. CEHD offers more specific ways to engage as well!
Make a decision
Connect the knowledge you’ve learned about your “sense of self” and the world of work to begin making major and career decisions. Consider reflecting on the questions below and connect with CEHD Student Services and resources to help you in your decision making process.
Connect the dots by considering the following:
- How does my “sense of self” relate to my major and career choice?
- How confident do I feel after exploring my “sense of self” and major and career options?
- What or who helped me make this decision?
- What has been helpful in exploring my options?
- What information (if any) do I still need before making my decision?
- Meet with a career counselor.
- Meet with your CEHD academic adviser.
Prepare for your own career journey
Your career journey may take you many places. It will be unique and exciting, but it can also feel challenging. This is very normal in the changing nature of today's careers and work. To prepare, you can identify action items and goals to help you get started in taking your next steps in your own career journey. Our career counselors are here to help you develop individualized action items and career goals. Reflect on the following questions and online resources below to help get you started.
- What does your career journey look like?
- What sort of experiences have you gained to learn about your “sense of self” including your values, strengths, skills, interests? How do these experiences fit with your career journey and vision?
- What additional skills are you hoping to gain or enhance in your next career opportunity?
- Does your career vision feel out of reach in this moment? Why? What sort of skills or experiences would you need to continue your journey and reach your best fit career?
- In what ways have you explored the industry you're interested in? In what ways have you built connections to this industry? How can you keep these connections going?