Major and Career Discernment

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You have already started and are continually engaging in the career development process. It is something that will continue throughout your lifetime and involves a number of steps.  It is a dynamic process with movement back and forth between stages. Both in college and whenever you are considering a career change, employ the same steps of assessing, exploring, reflecting, and taking action.

1 Figure out who you are

In order to choose a major or career path you must know yourself.  Knowing yourself entails identifying and assessing Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills (VIPS).  To achieve long term career satisfaction it is important to implement all four VIPS in your future career.  Personal experiences help to identify and learn more about your VIPS.  

To help you get started with knowing yourself better, you can complete the following inventories.  As you work on them be sure to think about everything you’ve done to this point (classes, activities, jobs, service, etc.).  

GETTING STARTED

VALUES

INTERESTS

PERSONALITY

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a scheduled appointment with a Career Counselor is required before taking the MBTI to determine if this will be beneficial)

SKILLS

 

Additional Action Steps:

  • Meet with your advisor to explore resources and services on campus

  • Become involved in extracurricular activities for personal and professional development

  • Learn about the Center for Career Development and review the information/resources on this webpage

  • Make an appointment with a career counselor or sign up for a learning lab

 

2 Study what you enjoy and get involved

Your major does not define your career path!  You will be more motivated to attend class if you are interested in what you are studying.  Engage on campus, and remember experiences help to better understand your values, interests, personality, and skills.  Use the following resources/action steps to explore academic areas of study and opportunities for campus involvement:

  • What Can I Do With This Major/Degree? (scroll down to the list of academic majors)

  • Read course descriptions and major requirements on departmental websites.

  • Speak with faculty and juniors and seniors in the various departments you are considering studying.

  • Attend the “Majors Fair” coordinated by First Year of Studies and Student Government (typically in the Fall semester)

  • Find academic clubs that interest you. If you can find a club that has nothing to do with your major, that's even better. Broaden your experience to become well-rounded.

3 Explore careers

Research careers related to what you have learned about yourself.  Use these tools and action steps to get started:

  • Vault & Candid Career - Access these resources to learn about various industries/careers.

  • O*NET - Read detailed descriptions of the world of work.

  • First Destination Report - Review information regarding ND students’ plans after graduation (scroll down to the Restricted Access Interactive Reports). 

  • Conduct informational interviews with family, friends, alums, and industry experts to gain practical career knowledge and learn details you would not find on a company website. Utilize the following tools (for more information and links to these sites, visit our Networking page): 

    • IrishCompass (networking and mentoring site)

    • myNotreDame (the Alumni Directory)

    • LinkedIn (professional networking website)

4 Reflect and take action

Reflecting throughout this process is a critical component of the cycle.  Every experience shapes you in some way so taking some time to slow down and think about how experiences and activities have affected you will be immensely helpful.  And remember, your career development is your responsibility! It’s up to you to be an active participant in your career journey and in your decisions - no one can make those decisions for you!