Majors and Careers

Your education at the University will prepare you for the complexities of the world of work and you will learn to develop strategic approaches to pursuing whatever career opportunities you choose.

That said, It is important to keep in mind that choosing a major and preparing for a career are not always the same process. It's true that a college education will help prepare you for the job market. That said, most majors do not lead directly to particular jobs. Instead, most majors can prepare you for numerous job possibilities. During your time at UW it is also important to explore career options and prepare for work after school.

How to investigate possible careers

To find a satisfying career, you must make a good match between your interests and the demands of a job, and between your personality and a work environment.

Most students find choosing a career much harder than choosing a major. You probably haven't been exposed to very many fields before coming to college, and you'll need to do some research.

It is very important that you make career investigation one of your goals while you attend the UW. Students who prepare ahead may find more satisfying jobs after graduation. Career investigation is a process; there are no quick answers, and it takes some time. Fortunately, the UW has many resources to help you.


Make use of the UW Career & Internship Center

The UW Career & Internship Center offers counseling and workshops for students at every stage of career exploration. You can research job fields, learn to write a resume targeted at your intended field, and practice interviewing, and much more. It also hosts many career fairs throughout the year. Find out what employers are looking for by meeting them in an informal setting.

Pursue career counseling

Though not scientific the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory (SII) are widely used career assessment tools, and you can take both of these at the UW Counseling Center. The results of the MBTI can supply another way of thinking about your choice of academic major, career direction, and foster understanding and appreciation of individual differences in interpersonal relationships. The SII identifies interests and compares this information to the likes and dislikes of individuals in over 100 occupations. Where there is similarity in interest, there is likely to be job satisfaction. Results from the SII include a list of careers that may be of interest, as well as general “themes” to consider when choosing an academic major and/or career direction.

Participate in experiential learning

At any stage of your thinking about careers, you should start looking into getting some related experience. In particular, you should consider participating in one or more internships. As a student intern, you can gain valuable work experience at any of a large number of businesses, government offices, and non-profit agencies.

The Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity houses the Undergraduate Research Program, Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards, and the Community Engagement and Leadership Education Center. These campus offices can help you connect to research, scholarship, internships and service opportunities that will get you out into the real world. If you think you might be interested in international trade, you can actually work at the Port of Seattle. If you think you might want to be a lawyer, you can volunteer at the Public Defender's Office. If teaching or research looks interesting, you can tutor at a local school or work with UW faculty on a research team.

During any one of these activities, you will learn about further career resources and get some ideas about what to do next. If you will take these practical steps, you can enjoy any major you like at UW and be confident that you can make your way in the workplace.

Peruse the Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is published annually by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It has a listing for every career you can imagine, and each listing covers things like the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions.

Talk with a departmental adviser

Department advisers are a wonderful resource for helping you explore the question of "What do I do after I graduate?"

Browse "What have these majors done after college...?" websites

The UW Career & Internship Center has a section on their site dedicated to exploring careers, and if you search the web you'll find lots of similar resources, as well as websites about career investigation and planning.