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Exploring Majors & Careers Virtual Workshop Transcript

Hello, welcome to Career Exploration online presentation. My name is Edward Lai. I am the associate director of Career Services at UNG.

We offer a variety of career related services to our students. For example, choose a major, explore careers, search for internships, apply for jobs etc. I personally encourage you to make an appointment to talk to one of the career specialists. You can either go to our website or call us to schedule an appointment.

Let me ask you to think about a bad work experience that you had: Maybe someone yelled at you, blamed you for something you didn’t do, your boss micromanaged you, you worked at a very nasty work place. I think that’s good enough; let’s move on to think about some good work experience that you had: got a good raise; received a big tip from customer; your boss spoke highly about you; your coworkers were fun to work with.

My point is that you will be working for a number of years after you graduate from college. If most of your work experiences are bad, at least one-third of your future life will be negatively impacted. On the other hand, if most of your work experiences are going to be good, at least one-third of your future life will be described as successful, satisfactory, meaningful, rewarding, or happy. My guess is that one of the biggest reasons you come to college is to earn an education which allows you to find a career that makes sense to you.

How can you find your career? A simple way to understand that process involves a 3 step model. Step 1, know or understand yourself. We will do a few exercises during this workshop to help you learn about yourself. Step 2, conduct research to explore the careers or jobs that interest you. I will show you resources that you can use to conduct career research. Step 3, identify ways that you can test drive your future career. We will discuss this part at the end of this workshop.

Now, let’s do exercise 1. You are good at all kind of sports. All the professional agents are knocking at your door to try to sign you to play for their teams. However, you can only commit to one sports in your life. How do you make that decision? What factors will you consider while making that important decision?

Here are some of the factors that may play an important role on your career decisions. Goals: what are your plans for the next five to ten years? Interest: what are your passions? Values: what are some of the things that’s important to you? What kind of skills that you are good at? And what kind of skills you want to develop? Your personality. How about others? Family influences or cultural background?

For a day dream exercise, I’m going to read you a script that is going to happen to you five years after you finish college. During the next few minutes, I’m going to ask you a few questions to guide you through this exercise. Just lay back, relax and if you want to, close your eyes. Are you ready?

Imagine today is a Friday morning, five years after you finished school. Imagine you just wake up. What kind of a home are you in? Is it in downtown condo, in an apartment, a town home, a range, a house, or may be in a houseboat? While you continue to look around your home, who is there or no longer there with you? Now you’re getting ready to go to work. What kind of clothes you see yourself wearing? Jeans, T-shirts, uniform, business clothes, designer clothes? Now you’re seeing yourself leaving your home to work. How will you get there? Walk, bicycle, subway, train, Uber, drive, what kind car? Now you just arrive to your workplace. What does that look like? Is it an office building, in a law firm, in hospital, clinic, in a factory, in a grocery store, mall area, in a school, college, somewhere outdoor in a state, national park? Now it comes to the weekend, how you like to spend that? Go back to your office to do some extra work. Go for a ball game, a concert, a movie, a social gathering, a party, so just stay home with your children? Now you have been working for a while and you have a whole month of vacation, how you like to spend that? Travel the world, go back to school to learn something new, or stay home to fix your garage or kitchen? Now if you like to, I’d like you to open your eyes and back to this presentation.

How was it? Do you like this exercise?

What is the connection between your day dream and your career future? One possible connection is that your dream reflects what you desire, and that could be translated as your goals.

There are short term and long term goals. Long term goals represent major targets in your life.  It may take five, ten, twenty years to achieve. Two questions: What do you want to accomplish in your life? Do you want your life to make a statement? What is it?

Some of you may have already known your goals very well; and some of you are working on it. I believe that’s the beauty of a four-year college, which allow you times to explore yourself and develop some concrete goals for your future. Please talk to our Career Specialist if you need any assistance in career goal setting.

Let’s move on to Step 2, Career Research. It means that you gather relevant information of the careers that interest you. Actually, research is telling us that when first year college students across the nation declare their majors, more than fifty percent of them make their decision without sufficient information. I recommend you to use Focus 2. Focus 2 is free for UNG student to use. It has a section on career assessment and a section on career research. Please use the link to register. The access code is UNGNighthawks. There are five career assessment you can take. Each of them take about 5, 10 minutes to finish. Once you completed an assessment, the results section will show you your profile and the job titles that match with your profile. You can combine the results from the assessments you have completed to help you narrow down your occupational results.

There are a number of ways you can explore occupations with Focus 2. For example, select What Can I do with a major in from the menu to explore occupations that corresponds with specific majors offered by UNG. You will be able to gather specific information if you select any of the occupational titles you like to focus on.

In addition to Focus 2, you can gather information by using Occupational Outlook Handbook which is published by the Department of Labor, or meeting with a career specialist, or talking to your advisor, faculty, staff, or take a few classes in your areas of interest. Or you can conduct informational interview. Have you ever tried informational interview? It involves talking to people who are currently working in your area of interest to gain a better understanding of a career or industry. You can also build a network of contacts in the professional area.

How do identify people to talk to? The easiest route will be the people that you already know. You can also use your social media or joining a professional association. Don’t forget about your community. Your pastor, your banker, or our doctors probably know a lot of people.

Step 3, Career Exposure which means test drive your future career. There are a number of ways you can test drive your future career. For example, internship, part-time, summer time, full-time job, an in-depth of volunteer experience. How about job shadowing? All these will help you to experience your future career to make sure the work environment is a good match for yourself. If you try all these three steps, self-understanding, career research and career exposure, you get a better chance to find your future career.

I encourage you to follow us in social media.

Again, Career Services is here to help you to achieve your career goals. When you want to talk to us, please schedule an appointment.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to working with you. Bye-Bye.

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