Major and Career Exploration

Index for this page 

Career Planning Approach

I Know My Career but What Major Should I Choose?

What are my Interests?

What are my options?

What's your Personality Type?

What Can I Do with My Major?

Networking and The Employment Pyramid

What Do You Want to Do for a Living?

Other Resources for Career Explorations

Student Employement FAQs

Contact Us

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  Avoid the Cookie Cutter Approach to Career Planning
Trying to determine a major can be a very difficult task. If you are struggling with what to choose, aren't sure you should be in your chosen major, or are having second thoughts about college in general, you will benefit from meeting with one of our career counselors. Our career counselors are here to help you map out an individualized plan.
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Research the CAREER
  • Choosing a career is a big step! Note that most people don’t stay in the same career for the duration of their lives. Career change is common and expected. The key is finding your starting point.
  • Visit the Career Center and speak to a career counselor that can help you make an informed decision.
  • Once you have narrowed down your career options, you will want to research each option. Start by visiting the Occupational Outlook Handbook at bls.gov. You will be able to find the following information: job requirements, salary, expected job growth, and what degrees, certifications and licensures are needed.
  • Conduct an information interview by speaking with professionals in the field to find out what major/degree of study he/she pursued.  Ask the individual questions about likes and dislikes of their career field.  Also, check out Candid Career.
  • Visit the University of North Alabama’s website to find a list of current majors. Research the majors offered by reading about them in the University catalog.  Be informed about the courses needed in order to meet degree requirements.
  • Visit the department that houses the major in which you are interested to gather information from faculty members about careers pursued by graduates within that major.
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Click to open the external website.

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Making a decision
  • Choosing a major can feel overwhelming. Most students don’t know where to start.
  • Begin with self-assessment by thinking about your interests, likes, dislikes, values, traits, and skills.
  • Visit https://www.una.edu/academics/majors/#/ for a current list of all possible majors.
  • Make a list of all of the majors that interest you. Also, look at What Can I Do With My Major?” (available on the current page).
  • Visit the Career Center and let our career counselors help you
  • Use your University catalog to read about the degree requirements for each major. Read the course descriptions in the back of the catalog.
  • Talk to your family and friends. Ask individuals currently working what he/she likes and dislikes about their current occupation.
  • Visit departments on campus that house majors that interest you and speak to the faculty and staff.
  • Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide on your major and your future career. Know that you are only selecting a starting point and not your final destination.
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Accounting 

Printable (.pdf)

Art 

 

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Networking is KEY to securing employment. The old cliché, “It’s who you know” holds true during the job search process. The power of networking should not be underestimated. When employers have an open position, they first think of who they know, that can fill the position. If the employer doesn’t know anyone, he/she will begin asking trusted friends, coworkers, and family members if they know anyone who can fill the position. If that avenue doesn’t bring a prospective employee, the employer will check to see if they have any résumés on file. If they are still unable to select a candidate, the employer will turn to staffing agencies for help. The last resort for most employers is posting an advertisement for the position on job boards, in the newspaper, etc.
Many students spend time solely focused on job advertisements and not enough time networking with others. Sure, there might be an advertisement posted, but in most cases, the employer, already has an idea of whom they wish to hire. We encourage students to set a goal of meeting at least one new person per week during the job search. Don't be afraid to deliver your resume to places of employment that interest you.

The picture below illustrates the way most employers hire:
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  1. Career Fairs –Attend these types of recruiting events in your freshman and sophomore years to explore your options. Ask lots of questions; learn what employers are in your area, what types of positions are in demand, and what credentials are expected of applicants. Ask what the position entails and what other opportunities exist in that field.

  2. Use Your Network –Talk with people about what they do for a living, what they like and dislike about their work, and what they studied in school. In addition to offering insight in the exploration phase, these same individuals can be helpful when you’re ready to begin applying for jobs. Don’t forget to talk with members of your family, friends, neighbors, professors, and advisors. Most people love talking about themselves and will be glad to share their experiences with you!  

  3. Job Shadowing – Observing people in their work setting can be the best way to learn what is truly involved with their occupation. Arrange to spend a day or an afternoon observing someone in a line of work that interests you. Being in the environment and witnessing the day-to-day happenings and job responsibilities will offer realistic insight that is difficult to gain in any other manner. 

  4. Information Interviewing - Information interviewing is a technique used to explore and research occupations and organizations.  It has several benefits, including: 
    • Discovering first-hand knowledge and perspective about an occupation or job. 
    • Providing access to the “hidden” job market. Only 20% of all job openings are advertised!  Direct contact and networking are essential to finding out about unadvertised job openings.  Information interviewing is not a job interview, but it will establish your interest and can be a helpful first step in eliciting information about a prospective employer. 
    • Improving your self-confidence and interviewing skills. 

    The steps below explain how to set-up and conduct an information interview.  The more prepared you are, the more you will get out of it! 

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If you have additional questions about LionJobs, please contact the UNA Career Center at 256-765-4276 or email careercenter@una.edu.

For additional information about Student Employment at the University of North Alabama, please visit this site: https://www.una.edu/humanresources/student-employment.html.

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