Explore Major & Career Options
The career decision-making process is not necessarily linear, sequential, or ordered. We will each be discovering new things about ourselves and our career aspirations for the rest of our working lives.
Selecting an academic major and career path is a gradual process that involves a combination of self-assessment, occupational and industry research, and experience in the real world to "test out" your career interests. There are many resources at your disposal to help make this discovery process less overwhelming and more enjoyable and exciting! Career Services is here to support you through your major and career exploration journey! Career Services is here to support you through your major and career exploration journey through the following services:
- Career Counseling: You don't have to navigate the processing of choosing a major or career alone! Meeting with a career counselor can help you understand yourself and your options; as well as develop a plan of action to help you gain confidence in your ability to make good decisions. Counselors can also suggest assessment tools to help you better articulate your interests, values, skills and personality characteristics. Counseling appointments are available Monday-Friday, 9 am 4 pm.
- Self-Assessment Tools: These instruments can help you learn more about yourself and gain valuable insights about how your interests, values, strengths and personality connects to major and career options.
- UBE202 Career Planning Course: Consider this 3-credit course if you are a freshman or sophomore undecided student and want to spend the semester exploring your options in this fun and engaging career seminar!
- Career Resource Library: Explore majors and careers! Career Services staff is available to help you identify and locate library resources and provide assistance with your career questions and concerns. Computer terminals are also available for students to research majors/careers, job search, use BullsEye, or work on resumes and cover letters.
Choosing a Major
Have fun and get creative with your academic planning! There are more than 100 majors and several different degree options available at UB. You can pursue a joint major, double major, combined degree, minor or certificate program, and more! Did you know you can even create your own special major? Student Advising Services has several resources to help including:
- Choosing, Applying for, and Changing Your Major at UB
- Academic Majors list of approved UB offerings
- UB Advising Directory Find your advisor based on your major or academic interests.
- Undergraduate Catalog - University policies, procedures, degree requirements and more. View the "Careers" section of each academic program to learn about common career paths associated with that major.
How Do Majors and Careers Relate?
- What I Can I Do With This Major? (from UB Career Services) - An outline of common career areas, job titles, typical employers, and strategies designed to maximize career opportunities by major.
- What I Can I Do With a Major In ? (from the Univ. of North Carolina Wilmington Career Center)
- Career and Industry Specialty Information - Alphabetical list of career areas/industries and get information about these specialties, plus job and internship postings.
- UB Libraries Career Planning Webpage A collection of career materials, databases, and resources to help you explore occupations and career paths.
- Sloan Career Cornerstone Center - Explores career paths in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computing.
- New York Career Zone - A creative and interactive website to help you explore career areas by interest area. This site has a fun self-assessment exercise that is a good place to start.
- Jobstar Central - Includes career guides by major and is packed with information about planning your career. What kind of training or education is required? What can you earn? What kind of environment will you work in?
These tools can help you gather basic information about occupations of interest, such as working conditions, required education, training, and skills, salary trends, job prospects, and more:
- Alumni Career Reality Videos - These online career videos show UB grads in real workplaces.
- The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) - US Department of Labor Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
- O*NET OnLine - Find occupations by using keywords, skill sets and a variety of other methods.
- My Next Move - Information on 900+ occupations, as well as local job openings and training opportunities.
Connect With Someone in Your Field of Interest
- Informational Interviewing Gain realistic information about a career field of interest, expand your knowledge of the job market, learn about additional career paths, and build your professional network by talking to individuals working in your career area.
- Connect with a Mentor - Conduct informational interviews and learn about the world of work via the UB Mentor Network. There are now more than 550 professionals in a wide variety of occupations listed in the mentor database, located in BullsEye.
- Professional Associations - Associations are formed to advance knowledge and provide support for a particular occupation, industry, or field of study and are an excellent way to explore career paths of interest and to network with professionals in your field. They usually offer a variety of services such as newsletters, websites, job postings, conferences, and even student chapters. View our recommended resource list.
Gain Experience to Help You Explore Options
If you're looking to make sure a career is for you, there are several ways you can enter into a decision with confidence. Gaining some experience in the field is an essential step to helping you explore different career options. Check out some examples below of how to "reality test" potential career options:
- Job Shadowing: Job shadowing involves following someone around for a day or several days to see what the work looks like and entails. Observing a person in a career that you're interested in, seeing the work environment, participating in typical job tasks and observing other features of a particular career, are all great means to see if a career is right for you. Being a "shadow" also gives you the opportunity to ask questions of the career professional.
- Volunteering: Devote some time to at an organization that does the type of work you're exploring. Being in that environment, hearing professionals discuss topics related to that career field, networking, and reading related materials, can all assist you in making an informed decision.
- Internships: Internships whether paid or unpaid, for credit or no credit, are valuable hands-on experiences that can be added to your resume and may open doors for you once searching for the "professional" job. An internship allows you to gain exposure to a potential career and make valuable contacts within a particular field of interest. Most employers these days consider an internship (or two or three!) a must!
- Part Time Jobs: Part time jobs are also a way to explore options and gain experience that can later assist you in beginning a career. Very often part time jobs are never advertised in the newspaper or on websites, so be proactive and seek out organizations who do work that interests you and approach them directly. Part time jobs are a great source of experience and you can also earn a little cash at the same time.
- Student Clubs and Organizations: Most employers are looking for students who have skills other than specific job-related knowledge. They're looking for time management, communication and leadership abilities as well. Participating in clubs and organizations while in school gives you learning and growth opportunities different from those in the classroom alone. It's also a great way to test out potential career options. Check out additional ways to get involved both on-campus and off!
Brent D. Arcangel Career Resource Library
Visit the Brent D. Arcangel Career Resource Library to explore majors and careers! Our library contains print information in three sections career exploration, job/internship search, and advanced degrees and includes everything from Jobs for English Majors to The Everything Get-A-Job Book. Computer terminals are also available for students to research majors/careers, job search, use BullsEye, or work on resumes and cover letters.
New! Use Library Thing to search the UB Career Services Library catalog and identify materials that can help with your career planning.
Instructions for Using LibraryThing:
- Click on "Search UB_Career_Services Books" on the upper right hand side of the page. Type a simple search term (e.g. 'Biology') and search "All Collections." You may also search by clicking on a "Tag" term.
- Click on a book title for more information, and visit the Career Services Library to view materials of interest in more detail.
Note: Although materials are not available for check-out, you may view materials at your leisure during open office hours. Career Services staff is available to help you identify and locate library resources and provide assistance with your career questions and concerns.
Library Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Express Career Consult: visit our student page for current hours and services.