By Marcie Kirk Holland, Executive Director, UC Davis Internship and Career Center
References to love fill newsfeeds, headlines and even grocery store aisles in February, yet we see little recognition of the importance of loving our work. Most of us will spend more than 80,000 hours in our careers. Wouldn't it be ideal to love what you do during that time? As parents and guardians, you can help your students in this endeavor. Though needs and interests evolve over a lifetime, there are three basic principles central to exploring careers and finding one that is satisfying and meaningful. These principles are outlined below, along with resources to support the process.
1. Know Yourself
This is the most critical element when finding a career match. Here are a few questions that can create clarity.
- What piques your curiosity?
- What problems do you want to solve?
- Do you prefer to work with people, data or things?
- What are your strengths, values and interests?
The Internship and Career Center (ICC) suggests several resources to help answer these questions.
- California Career Zone – This online resource includes interest, values and skills assessments, matched to careers.
- Career Courses – Offered quarterly by the ICC, these courses can help your student “design their life”.
-Meet With an ICC Advisor – Schedule an appointment through Handshake.
2. Know Your Options
The world of work is changing rapidly. Many resources are available to facilitate exploration and help your student find a rewarding profession they may never have considered.
- “Careers in…” panels are offered routinely by ICC advisors and cover a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, State and Federal Careers, Careers in Beer, Careers in the Gaming Industry and Careers in Water. Register for the ICC Newsletter to hear about workshops, panels and other events.
- Informational Interviews provide personal insight about a profession. The Aggie Community is a great resource for contacts!
- The ICC has resources to explore by:
- Occupational Outlook Handbook – Another online resource which offers a useful overview of a vast array of careers.
3. Gain Experience in Fields of Interest.
Each student is unique, so experiencing a profession, work environment and/or organization personally is important to determine "match". There are many resources to help students gain this access.
- Handshake, this UC Davis database of jobs and internships has thousands of positions, even during the pandemic!
- Part-time jobs can be a valuable source of career exploration. Listings can be found in Handshake.
- Research is a career path of interest to many UC Davis students. The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) offers assistance.
- Volunteering can provide exposure to many professions. The ICC's Community Service Resource Center can help connect students with opportunities.
We don’t want finding the “perfect” career match to create undo pressure, but exploring while still in school gives students a head start on launching a career they will find meaningful. For more information on how your student may find a career they love, encourage them to visit the ICC’s Career Exploration Resources.