For undeclared students, see the Exploration Checklist. Here are also some hands-on ways to figure out if a career is right for you:
Want to know what a career is really like? Ask someone with first-hand experience. The informational interview is a chance to spend time with someone who is a professional in the career field that is of interest to you. By talking with a professional in the field, you will be able to learn about the professional and get to know someone in the field for the purpose of networking. Most professionals a very willing to spend time talking with students about their experiences, and most professionals will share helpful advice about preparing for and securing employment in the field. Visit the Career & Leadership Development website for more information.
Similar to informational interviewing, a job shadow will help you explore what a job is like and help determine whether you might want to explore that career a little further. It is a way to test drive a career option without the time commitment of an internship. A job shadow is most often a day long (or a partial day) experience. It’s an opportunity to ask questions, observe a company, and gain perspective about a potential career. Job shadowing can be a great way to strengthen an existing network relationship – or to create a new relationship.
Internships are career-related work experiences that involve students working in professional settings under the supervision of professionals. Students participating in internships gain valuable workplace skills, improve their marketability, and better prepare themselves for their full-time job searches. Employers offering internships have access to energetic students' fresh perspectives, fulfill additional staffing needs for seasonal positions, and heighten their visibility on campus.
For more information on internships, visit the Career & Leadership Development website.
You can volunteer at an organization that interests you, and gain valuable work experience, references, and networking opportunities. Leadership Development offers a database on the web of volunteer opportunities in and around Whitewater. The database can help you find a volunteer opportunity that matches your skills and interests, and fits with your available time.
Student organizations are an integral part of a student's experience while at UW-Whitewater. They provide opportunities to develop leadership skills, broaden social and professional opportunities, and contribute to both the University and the surrounding community.
Annually, more than 170 student organizations are recognized through UW-Whitewater’s Career & Leadership Development office. These groups can range from arts programming to ethnic interest groups to political advocacy to club sports or service organizations. Visit the Student Involvement Directory – Join! – for a list of UWW student organizations.
People who know you well may have some insights that you yourself might not be aware of!
Consult job posting websites to identify occupations of interest. These postings will also assist you in understanding required skills, educational training needed, and potential salary ranges. The Career & Leadership Development website lists a number of job search engines.
Talking to instructors is a great way to get information from experts in the field. Ask instructors about careers options and how previous students have used their degree. Want the student perspective? Find a student currently enrolled in the major and ask to look at his or her coursework materials and ask how they decided on their path.
Professional associations are a great resource for students. They provide publications, networking opportunities, career resources, and much more. Joining a professional organization shows employers that you are truly interested in becoming involved in that profession. Most professional associations offer student membership at a reduced rate; some groups have student chapters.