Senior year: What should I do if I don’t know what I want to do yet?

I have been seeing tons of seniors this month wondering what they should be doing now (winter quarter) to graduate with a job in June. One very common question has been “what should I do if I don’t know what I want to do yet?”

While there are theoretically many things you could be doing, it is more important to start doing a few things rather than do lots of random things. If you don’t know what kind of job you want when you graduate, consider a few small, foundational steps in each of the following categories: People, Places, and Documents. The key is to lay the groundwork for bigger steps later in the spring and into the summer.

As you work through them, check in with us at the Career & Internship Center—we’re more than happy to chat about career exploration topics.

People

  • You: Continue learning about your interests, values, and strengths. If you haven’t already, take the lead on a class project or discussion, club activity, or something similar.
  • Other people: Identify some key people in your existing network. Common people are departmental advisers, career counselors, alumni, work supervisors, fellow students, faculty members, class instructors, and family members. You’ll start contacting people in your network now and later, so having them identified is a good first step.
  • Reach out to one person you know who has an interesting job and ask them about it.
  • Bonus points: Check out the Alumni Association’s excellent Huskies at Work program – visit a UW Alum at their place of work and learn about what they do!

Places (and events)

  • Make note of departmental and college events, and go to one that looks good.
  • Attend an employer InfoSession to learn about one employer’s company culture and jobs OR
  • Attend a career fair, panel, or workshop. Lots are listed on our calendar.
  • Drop by the Career & Internship Center for a workshop on resumes, cover letters, job search or interviewing.

Documents

  • Make a big list of class projects and research papers—these make great talking points for future interviews and networking. Write descriptions of what you have done in each, noting what you liked best.
  • Draft a basic resume that can become the basis of future applications.
  • Make a list, collage, or drawing of your current interests, values, and priorities.

What next? Check out these posts for more ideas:

By Catherine Basl
Catherine Basl Career Counselor Catherine Basl