Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is topic that’s hardly unavoidable. While you are out getting flowers for your loved ones or making reservations to the one restaurant with the longest line, take some time out to think about your other significant other, your career. Whether you are starting off with a college internship or are indulging in your freshman year of college, developing your career should be a passionate love affair. After all, wouldn’t you want a career in which you love what you do and do what you love?

Throughout their college career, students change their major typically 2-3 times. Sometimes, a trial-and-error method is the best method to figure out what subject fits best with you and your goals. Other times, I recommend a little research.

Research Tip #1: Figure out what you are good at (what you are interested in). Do you like Math? Do you like Science? Do you like Psychology or Anthropology? Whatever it may be, go to your local library, Half-Price Books, or a Barnes & Noble and select a “textbook” that pertains to that subject. Skim through it, and read a bit. Did you like what you read? Did you understand it? Are you eager to keep reading? If you answer yes to all three questions, then good. You may have found your new major. If not, keep looking. It may be easier to eliminate what you don’t like first, and then continue. It is important to figure out your strengths prior to choosing a college major.

Research Tip #2: Figure out how you determine success (and/or what makes you happy). There are reports published every year discussing top major choices, top industry trends, highest paid majors, most unique major choices, etc. Make a list of what’s most important to you in your career/lifestyle, and then, do a Google search. For example, if you listed money as a high priority on your list, do a search for “what are the highest paid majors”. If you listed career reputation as a high priority, do a search for “top respected professions”. While you may not choose the exact major choice offered by Google Search, at least you will be able to see a trend of what you do want your career and lifestyle to look like.

Research Tip #3: Figure out how much you like school. While there’s a huge chance you will go back to school for higher education or pursue industry-expert certifications, it’s good to know how motivated you are to attend actual school. This is because some career paths are higher education focused, some are experience focused, and some are focused on additional education over time. For example, if you love everything there is to love about working as a Physical Therapist, you have to be motivated to obtain additional school directly after your bachelor’s degree. Contrarily, if you choose an accounting career, you only need a bachelor’s for your entry-level job. Of course when you are ready, you can eventually go back to studying and earn your Certified Public Accountant, but that’s entirely up to you. In a society where apprenticeships are increasingly being replaced by formal education, it is vital to determine how much you like school. Knowing that will help you figure out what major to pursue, and what career path to navigate.

Research Tip #4: Figure out what you are passionate about. Whether it is education, marketing, entrepreneurship, or healthcare, find out what type of industry/work makes you feel happy and fulfilled. The best way to do this is to meet people in those industries/jobs. Professional student organizations in college often host meetings in which they invite industry experts as speakers. Attend those meetings and build your connection. Learn about what it takes to get your foot in the door. By meeting professionals, you are not only exposing yourself to various careers, you are also finding out about different companies and if they hire new graduates. Aside from professional student organizations, other ways to grow your professional network is by connecting with your professors, attending company events such as open houses, connecting with your school’s career center, and obtaining recommendations from your parents’ friends and extended family.

Just as with any relationship, you have to devote time to it. You have to be understanding of your significant other. You have to be patient. Your career is the same. After all, if you are planning to work until you are 65-70, you might as well dedicate that time to something you love.