Major and career exploration

Step 1: Assess Yourself

When searching for a major or a career that fits, first look within. Assessments such as our TypeFocus program can help you identify and define your interests (what you like to do), skills (what you are good at), work values (what is important to you), and personality (what personal tendencies do you have). Many people prefer to work in a career that allows students to pursue their interests, use their skills, work according to their values, and act in a manner consistent with their personalities. Type Focus will present students with majors and careers that other people with the same or similar characteristics usually prefer. Please contact the Career Center for the access code to our TypeFocus account.

  • TypeFocus - contact Career Center for license code for 2012-2013

Step 2: Research Careers

Finding an appropriate potential career will require research and reflection. Have you selected an academic program? Do you know what you can do for a living with your major? Once you find that out, you might want to learn about what job titles mean, working conditions in that job, required skills and experience, or future job prospects in that area. Resources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook can tell you what to expect. You may wish to talk to people in that field to learn more about what that job is really like. Learning as much as you can about careers of interest will help you rule out some career paths and focus on others.

Resources

SMU Academic Programs and course offerings

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Washington Labor Market Information

"What to do with this degree?" articles:
Accounting
Biological sciences
Business
Chemistry
Computer science
Criminal justice
Education
Engineering
English
History
Management
Math
Medical fields
Music
Political science
Psychology
Religious studies
Sociology
Theater

Step 3: Experience Careers

The best way to know if you are going to enjoy a potential career is to gain experience in your field of choice. Talk with people in the field, enroll in job-shadowing or mentoring programs, or try on a particular career through an internship. If you are interested in trying a career on, the Career Center can help connect you with opportunities in your field.

Resources

Alumni Job Shadowing
SMU-Mentor Connect

Step 4: Reflect

Reflecting on your assessed interests, skills, values and personality, your research into the pros and cons of careers, and your experience as an intern can help you decide whether a career is a good fit for you. If the career appears to be a good fit, you can then decide if it is a career worth pursuing. If it isn't, go back and research and experience other career options.

Step 5: Plan

Once you find a career with the right fit, you can begin to plan for your career. What steps will you need to take to make yourself stand out to employers? What experience will make you marketable in the field? The Career Center staff can help you plan your transition from college to career.