Some of the most common career questions we receive from students relate to choosing a major and career path. The level of stress and anxiety around this process is real and well worth addressing. Many students worry they could “make the wrong decision” and that their entire future success is dependent on this one decision. That’s a lot of pressure! For those of us who have the benefit of some perspective on life post-college, we know that the career journey is not necessarily a linear path. Major doesn’t necessarily = career.
We can help students make these decisions more confidently when we provide them some time for self- reflection, research, and connections with alumni and professionals in their fields of interest. This is the first step in the career development process and we offer many resources that can help students with self-assessment and decision-making.
Step 1: Know Thyself
- What are your natural preferences, strengths, and traits?
- How do they connect to your preferred work and way of being in the world?
Interests (assessment options: Strong Interest Inventory, Focus2)
- What do you like to do? When are you in flow?
- What are your intrinsic motivators and how can you connect those to a field of study and future career?
Values -(assessment options: values inventory)
- What is important to you?
- What are your priorities and how might they change over time?
- How can you make good decisions that align with your values?
Skills -(assessment options: skills inventory, SkillScan)
- What transferable skills are you developing?
- What skills are in demand in the market? Which majors and experiences will help you develop these skills?
Resources & Activities for self-assessment:
- Explore Majors & Careers Guide (pdf handouts) pg. 6 Major Comparison Grid, pg. 8 Occupation Comparison Grid, pg. 11 Career Decision-Making Activity
- Career Plan: A Checklist An interactive checklist to help you stay on track with your career plan
- Explore Your Options Canvas Module
- Short video based microlearning and activities: Self-Assessment, Growth Mindset, Designing Careers, Informational Interviews, Career Decision Making
Step 2: Career Research & Exploration
Once some basic self-assessment is complete, the next step is to help students make connections between school-work-life. This requires them to put their research and critical thinking skills to work. We believe that the best way to learn about majors and career pathways is to connect with those who are already working in the field. We provide students with easy and friendly ways to connect with alumni and professionals through the following career exploration events:
- Employer Insights Series: Interviews with top employers who hire SJSU Spartans with a focus on career paths and tips for job & internship success (last tab in accordion)
- Careers in Science Series with SJSU Alumni:
- SJSU² Mentoring & Meetups: Mentoring database of 500+ alumni (across all majors/field) who are interested in connecting with students for informational interviews and act as mentors.
- Career Exploration Panels (All events and zoom links are listed in Handshake. *To request event recording: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Art & Design Career Panel Event* – 10/14
- Graduate Students: Identifying Your Top Skills to Enhance Career Success – –
- Explore Majors & Careers in Analytics – 10/22 – Open to all students and majors.
- Exploring Careers in Management Information Systems– 10/28, 3pm
- Exploring Careers in Business Administration – 11/4, 3pm
- Careers in the Humanities & Arts– 11/5 3:30-5pm Panelists scheduled to attend: Crystal Cardenas, Talent & Belonging Coordinator, Box Carmen Kennedy, Freelance Writer & Storyteller, Apple Shawn Fletcher, SJSU Associate Professor, PR & Sports Communication Lloyd Alaban, Reporter, Metro Silicon Valley & Content Writer, Cognizant