5 Helpful Career Planning Tips for College Students

Do you know why “undeclared” is one of the most common majors in college?  It’s because many young students just out of high school have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

It’s not very surprising, considering you haven’t had much opportunity to experience the world and try your hand at possible careers.  However, you probably have some idea of which academic areas you excel in and what activities you enjoy.

This knowledge can help you to focus on potential career options and from there you can begin taking the steps to plan for a challenging, exciting, and rewarding career.  Here are a few helpful planning tips to help every college student get a career underway.

Helpful Career Planning Tips

  1. Take an Aptitude Test

One great way to narrow down your options when choosing the perfect career is to take an aptitude test.  Talk to a counselor in high school, hit up the career center on your college campus, or simply look online for these handy tests.

Aptitude tests assess your strengths, talents, and interests in order to determine what types of jobs you might be good at, as well as those you might enjoy.  You’re likely to find that a number of different job types will fit the bill, and from there you can start trying to decide which one will set your career path.

  1. Research Majors

Once you have some ideas about possible professions it’s time to do some research on which majors are likely to deliver gainful employment.  This means finding out if growth in the job market is anticipated and what type of median salary you can expect to earn.

You want to make sure you can find a job a earn a livable wage once you’ve graduated, especially since you’re probably taking on some student loan debt that will have to be repaid once you have your diploma.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics can give you information on future job growth and you can use a site like PayScale to find out what specific jobs might pay.

  1. Consider Your Goals

Not every student is looking for a profession that will deliver a six-figure salary.  Sure, everyone wants to get paid major money to do what they love, but money may only be one factor in your career choice.

Naturally, you want to pick a major that has the potential to deliver a livable wage, but you also need to think about the personal fulfillment you’ll gain.  Whether you want to help others, you’re interested in making the world a better, safer, and more beautiful place, or you simply want a career that you love, it’s important to consider that money might not be your biggest motivating factor.  Then again, it might.

  1. Try New Things

College is an ideal time to try new things, so think about taking a variety of classes so that you’re able to experience a wide range of potential career options.  Even if you have your sights set on a particular major, you could end up finding something that interests you more or that you’re better suited to.

  1. Meet NewPeople

The people you meet at the University of Southern California won’t necessarily help you decide on a career path, but who you know can definitely influence the course of your career.  Building and maintaining a network of professional contacts can deliver professional opportunities down the road, so make socializing part of your career planning strategy.