While internships and networking provide valuable sources of information for students as they explore different possible careers after graduation, there are also several free, accessible resources on campus and online that can equally benefit your career search. Here are just a few:
The Washington Occupational Information Systems (WOIS) is an online tool that provides detailed data on every existing profession in Washington state. Clicking on a particular profession listed on the “Careers” section, such as “Budget Analysts” or “Pharmacy Technicians” will display data on the median salary for professionals with that title in every city and county in the state, show what percentage of professionals in that type of role have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or higher, and list common skills, abilities and job duties required of individuals in that role. The “Educational Programs” section provides a long list of professional preparation programs corresponding to every possible professional role in the state of Washington.
LinkedIn – Alumni Search
While LinkedIn serves many purposes, such as allowing users to create online versions of their resumes, gather information about various employers, and connect with other individuals in the same industry, one of LinkedIn’s most valuable features for a student exploring career pathways is the alumni search tool. Clicking on the “Alumni” tab on the UW’s LinkedIn profile will bring up the profiles of over 300,000 UW alumni. From there, you can sort alumni profiles by city – alumni living and working in Seattle, Portland, New York, San Francisco, etc., or by employer (i.e. the group of alumni who work for Boeing). You can also type certain keywords, such as “political science” “teaching” or “public health” to find the profiles of alumni who have earned the same degree you might be considering for yourself, which in turn provides various examples of what types of jobs this degree has led to for a variety of individuals. What can you do with a history major? Type “history” into the alumni search tool on LinkedIn to see what jobs dozens of alumni have done after earning a bachelor’s degree in history from the UW.
Informational Interview with Faculty and Teaching Assistants
It’s easy to forget that before many professors were hired to teach and conduct research professionally at the college level, they may have had a variety of different professional roles in a variety of different industries. Thus, professors are often an underutilized on-campus career exploration resource. Try conducting an informational interview (also known as a career conversation) with one of your professors during office hours, to learn what led them to academia as a profession, and what steps along the way helped them make this decision. You may be surprised by what you find!