Explore Careers

YOUR CAREER JOURNEY

Are you headed along the right path to your dream career? Like any adventure, your career journey is certain to be much more exciting and satisfying if you have a destination in mind. When you are focused and know your strengths and interests, you can target the industries, organizations and positions that best match your talents and personality.

 

Your immediate goal should be to make the best career choices possible at this point in your life. Keep in mind, it’s only natural that your dreams and aspirations may change over time. Changing interests and personal circumstances, combined with the rapidly evolving nature of the world of work, will require you to make numerous career-related decisions throughout your lifetime.

 

Discover The Real You

Self-assessment requires a hard look at yourself and an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. It is one of the most challenging pieces of the career puzzle, but also one of the most important.

Explore the Options

Familiarity with different career fields, and knowing the responsibilities and skills required for different jobs, will help you determine options which are compatible with your interests, values and skills.

Know the Job Market

The more you know about industry and occupational trends, the better you can assess what skills and qualifications employers are seeking, evaluate your odds of entry and success, and learn how to market yourself.


A FOUR YEAR CAREER PLAN

Freshman Year: A Time of Self - Discovery

“Who am I?”
“What’s my niche?”
“What do I do best?”
“What major should I choose?”

As you begin your college education, it’s perfectly OK not to know what you want to do later in life. Take time now to learn as much as you can about your skills, personality, lifestyle preferences, interests and values. This information will help you choose a major and begin to explore the exciting world of career possibilities awaiting you!

  • Develop your interests and skills through student organizations, sports, general education classes and extracurricular activities.
  • Get acquainted with what’s available at the Career Center Library. Read about different occupations.
  • Talk about your career interests with parents, friends, professors and other individuals already employed.
  • Stop by the Career Center for drop-in counseling. Take self-assessments to learn more about yourself. Identify the skills and strengths you enjoy using.
  • Study hard and keep your grades as high as possible.

Sophomore Year: Expand Your Career Horizons

“I know my major, but what can I do with it?”
“What career options do I have with my major?”
“What’s out there?”
“What can I do with a liberal arts degree?”

Continue to explore and gather information about career fields. The best resources are people who work in the career fields that interest you. Summer jobs, internships and volunteer activities will provide first-hand insights.

  • Continue to expand your knowledge of career options. Make a list of the ones which sound interesting.
  • Learn more about the job market by browsing through the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Research other materials at the Career Center Library and on the Internet.
  • Conduct informational interviews with people who work in career fields of interest to you. Spend a day on the job with a professional.
  • Pursue internships, part-time and summer jobs and volunteer activities to gain work experience and to learn more about your work preferences.
  • Attend career fairs and other career-related programs to increase your knowledge of the full range of jobs that people perform.

Junior Year: Narrow Down the Options

“I’m looking at several career options -- which is the best for me?”
“What do I need to do to prepare for this career?”
“How have my interests changed since my freshman year, and how will this influence my present actions?"

Internships and summer employment will help you acquire new skills, learn more about careers and develop a network of contacts. Aim for outstanding academic performance, especially in your major. Now’s the time to go back and once again ask and answer the questions “Who am I?” and “What do I want?”

  • Narrow down your choices and discuss your career ideas with a career counselor. Are you satisfied with your early decisions?
  • Start preparing for graduate school if your career choice requires an advanced degree. Check admission requirements, testing dates and timelines for applications.
  • Research companies and work environments. Pinpoint organizations with job titles that use your skills and for which you believe you are a good match.
  • Begin to establish professional contacts to assist with your job search campaign.
  • Continue to gain career-related work and leadership experience.

Senior Year: Make a Career Decision

“What types of jobs are available?”
“How do I find the job that’s right for me?”
“Should I go to graduate school now or later?”

Plan ahead and set reasonable career goals for yourself. By now you are facing a transition from college to graduate school or a career position. Graduate school applications, letters of reference and test scores must be submitted early. BruinView™ jobs, internships, and interviews will help you identify prospective employers and career positions.

  • Discover the ABC’s of a successful job search by attending workshops at the Career Center. Consult with a career counselor.
  • Prepare for your first job. Talk with UCLA alumni about their first year on the job and some of the challenges you can expect.
  • Use your contacts to identify job opportunities and get referrals.
  • Explore all opportunities. Attend career fairs and employer presentations. Check BruinView™ for jobs, internships, and interviews.
  • Confirm your remaining degree requirements at the beginning of the year so there are no “surprises” when it comes time to graduate.