working in a lab

Finding a career you love

As roses and carnations fill up vases and the price of chocolate fluctuates this month, we spend much of our time applying the concept of love to our personal lives, but rarely correlate it to the world of work. If you are working a full-time job, you likely spend (at least) 2,080 hours of your year working, so how do you find a career that fills your cup and brings you joy? Encourage your student to do the following:

1. Carve out time to understand your values, skills, and interests

The more your student invests in getting to know themselves, the better prepared they will be for their job search. Here are some questions you can encourage them to ponder:

  • What is important to me?
  • What am I good at and where can I grow?
  • What topics excite me?
  • How do I want to contribute to society?

Encourage your student to set specific time aside during the week or month to think deeply about these questions. They can take it a step further by engaging with the Internship and Career Center (ICC):

  • Check out our Career Planning resources and take some assessments.
  • Career Courses – Offered quarterly by the ICC, these courses can help students “design their life.”

2. Talk to people and network

You don’t know what you are not exposed to, so the more conversations students have, the more they can understand their options, what the job market looks like, how to break into a particular field, and what inspiring professionals enjoy about their work. Encourage your student to network with people by doing the following:

  • Conduct informational Interviews with alumni to understand their career trajectory.
  • Attend information sessions to learn from hiring managers and recruiters what it takes to succeed in a certain field.
  • Find people on LinkedIn who graduated with your major from UC Davis, or who are working in a field you are interested in.
  • Meet With an ICC Advisor – Schedule an appointment through Handshake.

3. Test it out and reflect

Each person’s professional journey is unique, so it is important to experience a profession, work culture, or management style personally to determine whether it’s a fit. Internships are a great way to do so. There are many resources to help students gain access to opportunities:

  • Check out Handshake, a UC Davis database of jobs and internships with thousands of positions available.
  • Look at specialized job boards for each industry.
  • Browse our Data Pages to see where other Aggies have interned in the past.

After their internship or volunteer experience, encourage your student to check in with a career advisor to reflect and talk about what they learned, what they liked, and what they disliked.

By taking the steps above, your student will be well on their way to uncovering a professional path they love, and that is something to celebrate any month of the year!

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