Doorway to College Blog

Finding Your Career Niche: Journal Prompts for the Undecided

Posted by Karen Nichols

Jun 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Shutterstock/Dragon Images 

This article is second in a two-part series. Read the first installment here.

Do you have no earthly idea what you want to be "when you grow up”? Choosing a career field or college major can be a daunting task. Often career exploration begins with looking at your grades and standardized test scores to see where your academic strengths and weaknesses lie. Interest inventories and personality tests also can help.

While these are fine approaches, you will want to dig deeper to find the career path that is right for you. Some call this process finding your calling, passion, vocation, purpose, or bliss. Whatever the name, a little navel gazing is okay when trying to figure out want to do with your life.  

Set aside some time in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Take out a journal or notebook, and write in response to some or all of the following prompts. You can do this in one sitting, but it might be better to tackle one writing prompt a day over several days. Come back and review your responses from time to time to see if they still fit. Then add, subtract, or tweak as needed. 

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Topics: career, career planning, college major

What Is Your Purpose?

Posted by Stacey Jackson

Apr 19, 2016 7:00:00 AM

First in a two-part series

What is your purpose in life, and how does your college education fit into that purpose? College admissions exams and the college application process may seem overwhelming right now. Your regular coursework and extracurricular activities may have you so busy that college is the furthest thing from your mind. Or perhaps your parents have their eye on sending you to their alma mater, an Ivy League school, or a certain state university, and you’re feeling double pressure from your social circle to decide what you want to do and where you should apply — as if being a teenager isn’t hard enough! Or maybe, like me when I was your age, you just don’t know what you want to do when you “grow up,” and the thought is nearly paralyzing you from making any decisions at all. 

This blog post will help you wade a little deeper into college and career planning with a few ideas for demystifying the process of finding your purpose. 

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Topics: career

Do I Need a Cover Letter? Check!

Posted by Stacey Jackson

Mar 3, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Err on the side of professionalism when applying for an internship or your first “real” job.

By Stacey Jackson

I recently agreed to provide a job referral for a friend. The opportunity to receive a referral — to have somebody on “the inside” vouch for you to a somebody who is in a position to hire you — is a true gift and is often key to getting your foot in the door for an exciting job or internship opportunity in a competitive market. My friend is terrifically talented, and I had absolutely no reservations about speaking on his behalf. On top of that, he has a positive attitude and a great work ethic. Why wouldn't I refer him?

Over the weekend, we exchanged information. I gave him the address and the contact person, and I offered to put in a good word after he had mailed his official application. We were both feeling warm and fuzzy when he dropped the bomb:

“Do I have to write a cover letter?”

YES! Yes, yes, yes! You absolutely, positively, always need to write a cover letter — especially if the recipient of your résumé has never met you. When I looked at him with my are-you-kidding face, he confessed that he didn’t know what to write.

I am always taken aback when bright minds are confused by standard business practices, but I shouldn’t be so surprised. Most colleges aren’t structured to teach students the business aspect of securing a job in their chosen career field. Wouldn’t it be great if colleges implemented mock interviews and offered classes in negotiation across the board? Until then, it’s up to you to cultivate best-practice techniques when applying for a job or internship.  

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Topics: cover letter, job search, career, employment, internship

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