Understanding Professions and Careers
I. How Majors and Careers are Related
Deciding on a major, whether you are choosing one or contemplating a change, can be a daunting task, especially when you are trying to connect the major to some future career. Sometimes, the relationship between the two can look linear:
MAJOR -> CAREER
For example, Stony Brook’s major in journalism would prepare you to be a journalist; the major in chemical engineering would prepare you to be a chemical engineer. But would you be surprised to know that, more often than not, the relationship between major and career looks something like this?
This picture is harder to understand, right? That’s because the relationship is indirect and more complicated than you’d probably expect. The purpose of a liberal arts education, like the one you’re getting at Stony Brook is not meant to give you hard job skills, but rather to teach you how to do things like write well and think critically – transferable skills that are essential in almost any job. Because of this, every major leads to a wide variety of career options. For example, did you know that studio art majors can become doctors (if they complete the requirements for medical school)?
As in the second picture, your major is only ONE part of what your future employer or graduate school will consider when you apply: the key is to combine your academic study with experience that adds to your skills and refines your interests.
But your major will most likely have a direct effect on your feelings of academic engagement, your passion for learning, and your overall satisfaction with college – so you should still choose carefully! How do you start the selection process? Here are some steps you can take:
- Look at the list of available majors to see what your options are.
- Get more thorough and detailed information about majors of interest: checklist [doc]
- Look at transferable skills you are gaining with any major
You can also:
- Attend a workshop at the Career Center. Use the event calendar and filter by workshops to see when they are offered.
- Enroll in CAR 110
- Take a self- assessment inventory
- Schedule an appointment with a career counselor
- Browse through our many resources, in print at the Career Center and online throughout this website
What can I do with my Major?
- Information on popular disciplines
- Find Our Where Your Alumni Have Gone - All Stony Brook University Majors are not represented here. This list is intended to give you a sample of who are alumni are and where they have gone. These alumni are interested in talking with you further about what their job is about and the career path they've taken.
- Zebra Career Advising Network - Enables students to network with alumni and friends of Stony Brook.
II. Gathering Information about Professions (how to prepare)
Gathering information about careers and professions can be a difficult task. We have provided you with an easy way to organize information about the professions you may be interested in pursuing.
You can use printed resources in our Career Library as well as on-line resources available through our webpage: Vault, Career InfoNet, Career Zone, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Salary.com
Library: Our reference library containts materials such as books, magazines, and videos about the career planning process, occupations, job outlooks, salary levels, job hunting, resume writing, employment interviewing, and many other topics.
Search the world's largest internship database...
Internships.com serves as the leading nexus between internships and students, higher education and employers. At internships.com we develop world class tools and services to enable every student, employer and educator to better understand and optimize the work opportunities of the future.
Internships.com's mission is to democratize the opportunity and access for all students preparing to stand out and be hired as interns by organizations, worldwide, with a vested interest in the workforce of tomorrow.
Vault Career Insider
Vault Career Insider is one of the most popular online career libraries available to college students. Occupational profiles, industry overviews, in-depth employer profiles, the "electronic water cooler" message boards, employee surveys, salary trends and more. Use your SBU email address and obtain your unique password online.
Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2010-11 Edition
For hundreds of different types of jobs such as teacher, lawyer, and nurse, the Occupational Outlook Handbook tells you:
- The training and education needed
- Expected job prospects
- What workers do on the job
- Working conditions
A product of the NY State Department of Labor, CareerZone is a free, career exploration and planning system designed especially for New York State students.
Salary.com builds on-demand software around a deep domain knowledge in the area of compensation to help customers win the war for talent by simplifying the connections between people, pay and performance. Salary.com's cutting edge technology is integrated with actionable data and content, empowering customers to make the best decisions about pay and performance and help them to attract, motivate, reward and retain top performers.
America's Career InfoNet is a resource for making informed career decisions to support a demand-driven workforce investment system.
Talk To Other People In Your Field Of Interest
Take the time to talk with people in the career you are potentially interested in. The information you get from talking with someone doing the job you are interested in is priceless as you cannot find this information in a book. This will help you better understand if a field or career is the right fit for you.
ZebraCAN is a database of alumni and friends of Stony Brook representing a variety of career fields who are willing and able to help you learn about careers through informational interviewing. Some of these contacts have even volunteered to provide assistance with obtaining internships and employment with their organizations!
You will need to attend a ZebraCAN info session and have a ZebraNet account to access ZebraCAN. Please see our event calendar for schedule of sessions.
Here's a startling statistic: One out of every 200 resumes (some studies put the number as high as 1,500 resumes) results in a job offer. One out of every 12 informational interviews, however, results in a job offer. (read more: DOC, PDF)
Please see more information regarding networking by clicking here.
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