Can you remember the first time you were asked what you plan to do with your life? Maybe at a gathering or right before you were about to walk across the stage in high school? Upon entering college, students often ask themselves, “What am I going to major in?” Luckily, there are many career resources available to help you explore what major or career path to pursue.

Career resources

Interest assessment

If you are uncertain about your career path, Career Services provides FOCUS, a free online interest inventory. This quick self-assessment is designed to help identify your interests, values, personality, skills, and leisure activities, and provide career options based on your information.

Career advising

Another way to identify a career path is to schedule an appointment with a career advisor. They will help you explore your interests and identify career paths.

Career Choice class

If you are still indecisive about choosing a major/career path, then IDS 106: Career Choice is for you. This one-credit hour course provides tools for students to discover their values, interests, and skills. IDS 106 provides extensive resources and individualized attention for each student to successfully select an academic program that fits with your personality.

“This class helped me find my new major. I was completely lost and then I met a human resource professional (through the course) and found my career path,” said Taylor Denby ’21, who took the class and later became an IDS 106 teaching assistant, “I will always be grateful for IDS 106.”

Career Resource Guide

Check out the Career Resource Guide available in Hire-A-Redbird. The first chapter is about academic and career exploration and specifically highlights how to choose a career path, utilize informational interviews, move through the career process, and take advantage of the keys to academic and career success.

Illinois State University’s website

Visit this University’s majors webpage to access the list of majors offered at Illinois State. They are listed alphabetically, or you can choose to organize them by your academic or career interests or college. Once you find one that seems interesting, click to get an overview, review career options with that major, course requirements, how to apply to that major, and more.

Labor resources

After you have identified a career that interests you conduct research to learn more about it. You can use the Occupational Outlook Handbook through the Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET OnLine. These resources explore careers you can pursue with your major or interest. It may also help to consider the population(s) you may be working with, the setting(s) will you be in, educational requirements, etc.

Your major does not define your career path

Just because you study a particular topic doesn’t mean that is all you can do as a career. Prospective employers often look for transferable skills and experiences that you gained during your time in school, which can apply to many careers. For example, skills such as communication, leadership, and work ethic are considered transferable.

“It’s not important at all which major our applicants come in with,” said Penny Darnall, a human resource manager for Cintas. “We have employees with majors in history and finance; they are all successful with different majors. We can teach anyone anything and really care about the three P’s: personality, passion, and potential.”

Don’t feel pressured when choosing a major. While some students come in with an idea of what they want to do, many do not. So you are not alone. Take advantage of these career resources, and you are sure to find success.