Choosing a Major/Career - Career Counseling

How to Choose a Career

Career Planning Guide

The Career Planning Guide allows students to understand the steps to successfully launch into a post-college career. Along with a set of goals for each year of college, the guide lists four career management functions that are necessary to successfully self-manage one's career. (1) Career exploration and self-discovery is an introspective process to learn about oneself and how to apply one's attributes and interests to the world-of-work. (2) Communication tools such as effective resumes and interviewing skills are basic elements of a job search. (3) A successful strategy for identifying opportunities takes the job search to an operationalized level. (4) Effective and prolific networking finds opportunities that are not formally advertised. Learn more...

Career Planning Myths

An interest inventory will tell me what I should do.

  • Interest inventories are good at measuring interests. However, a student also needs to consider abilities, values, experiences, and practical considerations (expenses, opportunities, family issues, etc.) An interest inventory is rarely sufficient.

Indecision is abnormal. "There's something wrong with me if I'm undecided."

  • Indecision is normal. Everybody has a different path and takes different amounts of time to make career decisions. Indecision is only really a problem when you choose to do nothing about it. If you are engaging in career exploratory activities, you are on the right track.

I need to decide today.

  • This is the myth perpetuated by those who think that career decision-making is an event rather than a process. Making a decision prematurely, or based on inaccurate or insufficient information, is invariably a mistake. Even if it means changing your academic plans, give yourself time to make an intelligent and unrushed career plan.

Once I choose a career I'm stuck for life.

  • The average adult doesn't settle on a career until their 30's. Your interests, values, abilities and aspirations may be different ages 20, 30, 40 and beyond. If so, you change or modify your career accordingly. Changing careers is only a problem if you think it is. Because of our society's dynamism, you can expect to have several careers.

My career choice must please my parents, friends, neighbors, etc.

  • The approval of others is nice, but it is not essential to your career well-being. If others care about you, they'll probably be delighted if your career brings you happiness and fulfillment. It's unfortunate if others aren't pleased with what you're doing, but it's not the end of the world.

What Can You Do To Help Choose And Prepare For A Career?

For more details on these activities, drop by our office.

  • Take on "trial and error" part-time jobs.
  • Read about careers. Use O*Net to find information on specific occupational titles.
  • Learn about careers by talking to parents, friends, professors, academic advisors, community leaders, etc.
  • Participate in Career Development Center workshops.
  • List your major concerns and fears about college life and discuss with a friend, parent, professor or counselor.
  • Thoroughly examine the NEIU course catalog.
  • Participate in study skills enhancement workshops for assistance with test-taking, test anxiety, and time management.
  • Join a social service or community organization as a volunteer.
  • Join a student organization.
  • Consider study abroad.

Career Exploration/Self-Discovery

What can I do with a major in:

For more information, visit

The following sites provide useful information to explore careers and enhance self-awareness.

Other Helpful sites

University of Delaware Career Services Center

Offers a nice layout of majors and further describes typical career paths, sample job titles, and links to professional associations.

Prentice Hall's Student Success Page

Contains good information on choosing a major. Also provides other links to industry specific sites.

What Color is Your Parachute?

This site is the on-line version of the classic, annually updated book that offers a comprehensive approach.

Mind Tools

Not specifically career-related but offers a section on decision-making techniques. This can be very helpful when choosing a major or career direction. It contains other good information on job search, managing time, stress etc.

Transferable Skills Survey

A quick tool from the University of Minnesota-Duluth to help identify skills. This provides a good way to learn about yourself and to use these traits when describing your value to an employer.

Type Logic

More descriptions of the 16 Myers-Briggs types

Career Zone

Access great information on hundreds of career fields categorized by broad occupational cluster.