Some degree programs have a clear connection between the major and careers (think Nursing or Accounting) and others offer a more diverse set of career options. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn about occupations of interest and the majors that would prepare you for future success in your career.
Learn about occupations by major
If you have a few majors in mind, reviewing these comprehensive resources can give you a much better sense of what you can do with each major of interest. Learn about the variety of occupations available by major, top recommendations on how to prepare for success in these occupations, and links to professional and job search sites specifically targeted to this field or industry.
Explore career databases
Career databases provide comprehensive information about occupations including what professionals in this field do, needed education and experience, typical salaries, and job outlook. Check out these sites to learn more.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: A guide to hundreds of occupations offered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
- O*Net Online: A career exploration and job analysis tool sponsored by the US Department of Labor and the Employment & Training Administration
- CareerOneStop: A source for career exploration, training & jobs sponsored by the US Department of Labor
- CAREERwise: Minnesota’s comprehensive career, education, and job resource sponsored by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Connect with professionals in the field
No one knows an occupation better than professionals in the field. To get your questions answered, why not go to the source? Informational interviews put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to “interview” the person in the job.
Consider the following questions.
- How did you prepare for this job? What was your degree? What other training and experiences were needed?
- Describe a typical work day. What do you do? What are the hours expected?
- Does this job offer growth potential? How so?
- What is best about this job? What is the absolute worst?
- Would you consider this job to be rewarding? If so, in what ways. If not, why not?
- Tell me about typical compensation in this occupation. Are there many opportunities opening up or is it difficult to find work?
- Does this job offer work/life balance?
- What do you wish you would have know as a student before getting into this field?
Job Shadowing & Networking
Want to get more first-hand experience? Ask if this person would be willing (and able) to allow you to job shadow for a day and/or whether the company offers any internships for students.
Not sure how to locate these professionals? Try networking! Ask family and friends if they know anyone working in this profession. Talk to professors to see if they could make a referral for you. Identify local employers and call the HR department to discuss your interests. As an added bonus, this process will expand your professional network which may be very helpful when seeking employment in the future! Strengthen your networking efforts by using the top social network for professionals—LinkedIn!
Graduate Follow-Up Reports
Winona State asks recent graduates to share information regarding where they went after graduation. View the Graduate Follow-Up Reports to see the jobs alumni accepted as well as their employers. Also learn how many students went on to graduate school and at which universities. You can even research salary outcomes by college and major.
When you are hired, we would appreciate if you would send us your employment data via the Graduate Follow-up Survey. Note: personal data (i.e. first name, last name) will not be shared with the public.