You start at birth and ease your way in…

The search for what you want to do with your life starts very early. You learn what you like and don’t like to do as you go through your childhood, start school, watch TV and movies, and meet various people who have jobs doing different things.

In some ways, careers are self-determining. If you hate dance and are not good at it, you won’t become a dancer or dance teacher. However, if you find the process of getting people to the performance or managing how money is spent behind the scenes, perhaps business or marketing is where you belong.

Since this isn’t meant to be a birth to job guide, let’s start at the beginning of college and what you can do to start the “ball rolling.” Attending college and a year or two after, can be your trial years. After that, you really need to get serious.

What follows is a list of  things to start thinking about when you start college. And remember that the sooner you can identify a career path, the sooner you can focus on it and start to “bank” appropriate experience and contacts.

  1. 1.       Start to talk to people about what they do for a living. Your friend’s parents, your parents, friends of your parents—anyone who will talk to you. Start reading the newspapers and take a look at online job boards.
  2. 2.      Start to make a list of careers that could be something you want to do and could do. Compare that list with your college major and your own skill set. Is it on target and realistic or do you want to be a surgeon and hate the sight of blood?
  3. 3.      Start to make a list of your skills and adjectives that describe you (strong Microsoft word, JAVA, etc and organized, dependable, observant, etc.).
  4. 4.      Think about summer internships—can you get one that will allow you to “try out a career”.
  5. 5.      Talk to more people.
  6. 6.      Think about where you want to live. Do these areas have the careers you want? Is there a publishing house in Neenah, Wisconsin?
  7. 7.      Take the career assessment tests that your college/university has available.  If nothing else, they are fun.  Perhaps they can give you an idea for a career you hadn’t thought of.