I'm Deciding between a Couple of Occupational Areas, or I Think I've Decided on One Area. How Can I Be Sure I Find the Right Fit?
The best way to be sure is to observe the reality of the work, talk with people who do it, gain hands-on experience, or immerse yourself in different areas of your career path of interest. Try the following suggestions:
q Try informational interviewing as a way to get the information you need to help you make your decision. Search the Online Alumni Directory for potential people to contact in your occupational area. Think about the criteria that will help you decide if something is a good fit or not and be sure to ask questions that give you that kind of information. Ask about whatever is important to you-lifestyle, salary, opportunity for advancement, work culture, variety, freedom, etc. Link here to download a sample list of questions.
q Engage in a job shadowing experience. Spend anywhere from a few hours to several days on-site observing professionals do what they do and seeing what a typical day is like in the career area you're interested in. While you're there, meet a variety of people who are in that line of work and do some informational interviewing to get others' perspectives on what keeps them doing the work they do.
q Try getting an internship, a summer job, or part time employment in your area of interest as a way to "test the water." Come in to the Piper Center and talk with a peer advisor or career coach about resources to help you in your job or internship search.
q Join The St. Olaf Mentor Network, a student organization that pairs students with alumni in different career areas. Throughout the course of the year with your mentor, you will gain valuable insights into the life of a professional in your occupational interest area. Get advice from someone who's "been there," learn from the mistakes they may have made along the way, develop contacts, and build a meaningful relationship with someone who shares your interests.
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