Career Growth

Help! I’m a Junior & Clueless About My Career

I’m a Junior in college, contemplating a double major in Political Science and English with a Minor in French. I have no idea what I want to do with my career. I am open to anything, but I’m worried about salary and the high cost of my medical expenses. Help! – Bobby

Here’s what I would recommend:

1. Focus on Internships

Have you had any internships? If so, which ones did you like? What did you like about them? That’s a good place to start — either figuring out what you want to do, or even better, what you don’t want to do. If you have never had an internship, you should get one immediately.

2. Reconsider Your Double Major

You seem to be overloaded with school, and I applaud you on your double major, but realistically, no one cares about your double major after you graduate. Employers care much more about work and internship experience than they care about how many majors and minors you had.

3. Explore Fearlessly

Scroll through the jobs and/or internships posted to your school’s career site, see what’s interesting and what might match your skills, and don’t be afraid to apply for anything that sounds remotely interesting to you.

You can always turn an internship down that you don’t want, but you’ll never know what opportunities might be perfect for you until you look into them.

4. Hone in On Your Skills

If this is unsuccessful, focus on your skills over your interests. Most people don’t actually get jobs doing something they love, but rather do the things they love in their free time. You can still find a rewarding and enjoyable job without it falling squarely into your interests. You’ve outlined majors and minor, but try instead to focus on the skills you have.

For example, instead of noting that you’re an English and Political Science double-Major, note that you’re great at explaining complicated concepts, are detail-oriented, have strong analytical and writing skills, or learn quickly. From there, you can focus more on which jobs would cater best to those skills.

5. Don’t Stress About Salary Initially

I understand that money is a huge stressor (it was for me too), but don’t let that get in the way of exploring careers. You will be afforded health insurance if you go private/corporate and you will be afforded health insurance if you go public, so the only career path that should stress you out is if you decide to become a freelancer (and even then, freelance health care options exist). You can also switch between government and corporate jobs at any time, so don’t feel like you have to be devoted to one or the other.

Salary is a major stressor for new job seekers and recent grads. Remember that very few recent graduates will make a high salary immediately. Use your first job to gain experience, build credibility, and learn how to navigate the professional world. You can always move on to a better, higher paid experience later.

6. Don’t Be Afraid

If you’re stuck, you can always search for those skills on career sites or even Craigslist to figure out which job postings are looking for people with those skills. You can then narrow the results to entry-level positions. If you have a particular area of interest, like health care or agriculture, you can always search for job titles under those categories on the same job sites to see what sparks your interest. Don’t be afraid to explore!