Network For Your Job Search

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Networking could be what helps you land a job.

If you take part in social networking sites, you probably have a pretty good idea of how networking can enhance your personal life. But, if you’re like many new college graduates, you’re probably not as comfortable about incorporating networking into your job search.

In spite of your discomfort, you need to incorporate networking into your job search: Especially in a competitive job market, networking could be what helps you land a job. In fact, many jobs are filled before they are even advertised—filled by people who learned about the opportunity before it was formally announced.

What is networking when it comes to the job search? It’s not about using people. Just as you look to build personal relationships through social networks, you want to build relationships to foster your professional life. These relationships can help you not only in your current job search but down the road as you build your career.

Networking is not one-sided: It works both ways. You offer assistance to others just as they offer assistance to you. Perhaps the easiest way to think about networking is to see it as an extension of being friendly, outgoing, and active.

Here are some tips for building and maintaining a healthy network:

  1. Make a list of everyone you know—and people they know—and identify how they could help you gather career information or experience.
    Who do you know at school? Professors, friends, and even friends’ parents can all be helpful contacts. Did you hold a part-time job? Volunteer? Serve an internship? Think about the people you came into contact with there.
  2. Sign up for an alumni mentoring program.
    Many colleges offer such programs, and they are a great way to build relationships in your field.
  3. Join the campus chapter of a professional society that relates to your career choice.
    In many ways, a professional society is an instant network: You’ll be with others who have the same general career interest. Plus, you may be able to learn more about your field from them. For example, you may be able to learn about the field and potential employers from others who share their internship experiences.
  4. Volunteer at a local museum, theater, homeless shelter—anywhere that even remotely relates to your field of study.
    By volunteering, you’ll not only learn about your chosen field firsthand, you’ll also be able to connect with people who are in the field.
  5. Speak to company representatives at career fairs, even if you’re not ready to look for a job.
    Be up front that you’re not currently in the job market and don’t take a lot of the representative’s time, but touching base with a potential employer now can help you down the road when you are ready.
  6. Attend company information sessions at your college and talk one-on-one to the recruiters who run them.
  7. Schedule informational interviews with people who can tell you about their careers.
    It’s best to ask to meet in person or by phone for a short interview, and don’t immediately start asking “How can you help me?” Plan your questions ahead of time, focusing on how the company works and how the person shaped his or her career path.
  8. Add your profile to LinkedIn.
    It’s free. And then, work your profile. Add work history (including internships!), skills, and keywords. Make connections to people you’ve worked with or met through networking. Ask for “recommendations” from people who have worked with you. You’ll find LinkedIn is a good source of suggestions for people in your field to contact for informational interviews.
  9. Remember to be courteous and tactful in all your conversations, to send thank-you notes to people who help you, and to find ways to help others as well.
    Don’t drop your network once you’ve gotten a job. Nurture the relationships you’ve built and look for opportunities to build new connections throughout your career. Getting started might be uncomfortable, but with time and practice, networking will be second nature.

Common Career Pitfalls to Avoid

Written by Robert Brookman, Talent Acquisition Department with Humana

Within our robust college recruiting program, we see a lot of mistakes and pitfalls that college students regularly fall into during their career search. These are things that may seem like common sense, but over the course of time become less of a priority. The strategy any student should take into a job search is to make sure first and foremost; they do not disqualify themselves because of a minor mistake. Often times in recruiting, the first cut of candidates is made because of minor mistakes such as grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. We want to put you as a job seeker, in the best place to succeed in your impending search. That’s why we have compiled the following list of common pitfalls to steer clear of.

1.  I can begin looking for a job after I pass my finals.

If you have taken this mind-set into your final semester, you are already behind. Many of your peers have been looking for, and may have locked up, internships or full-time positions for the coming months. Job seeking can be an extremely long-process especially when you have little experience. There are not many things in life that you wait until the last minute to start planning, especially something as important as a job search.  

Normally at Humana, we begin accepting internship applications and entry-level college programs roles in August of the year prior. But, each year we also get notes from students inquiring about positions the next spring and summer as well, when those positions have been long-filled. Make sure to start your search early.

2.  I want to work as a _____ for ____ company, living in ____, and making ____ .

This is one of our favorites. Sometimes students can get a very narrow focus (not always a bad thing), while other times the student can have no focus at all. The difference between the two would be someone who could fill in each blank of the above statement (narrow) and a person who does not know what they would like to be doing now, much less five years from now (broad). You have to find a balance between having too narrow a focus and too broad a focus. You want to have some idea of where you would like your career to go, but not so much that you limit your options too far.

Another piece of this is your expectations. Some students come in and want to get their foot in the door anyway they can. That’s great, and we love to see students like this. They want to work hard and get in the door because they know they can use their skills to stand-out and eventually move up once they have a solid foundation. On the other hand, we have students that come into interviews who have obviously over-valued themselves. It’s one thing to be confident in your abilities, but it is something completely different to come into an interview as a recent college graduate and look for a director-level role. This is not a hard and fast rule, but you should know what your true value is.

3.  I can do my entire job search online.

Untrue. In this digital age, it may seem as though this is the case, but remember, the name of the game in a job search is differentiation. How do you differentiate yourself by just using a word document you uploaded to a website (just like everyone else). There are so many opportunities to network person-to-person with employers. We at Humana are regularly on campuses across the country throughout the year, as well as other major nationwide events. Come see us, meet our people, and show us a face. This allows you times to articulate more than you can on a one-page resume and also can potentially give you a point of contact into the employer.

All that is not to say that you can’t connect with us online, or that you shouldn’t; far from it. We have a lot of resources online devoted to connecting with people just like you. Check out our Twitter account @Humana_Careers or our Facebook page Humana College Programs. If you have questions or comments for us, we love to hear them on our social pages.

Forget What You “Know”

(Written by Tonia Gibeault, Director – Human Resources for ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company)

Life is about choices. For example, one can choose to “know,” or one can choose to know. While attending college in pursuit of a degree in business management, I knew I would eventually establish a career in a business or corporate setting. I also “knew” I would never work for an insurance company, nor in the sales or marketing fields. Ironically, however, my first “real job” out of college was as a marketing analyst for my current employer—an industry-leading and award-winning insurance company—over 13 years ago.

I have spent the last decade of my career in ACUITY’s human resources department. During this time, I have had the pleasure of interacting with a myriad of students, many who “know” and a few who know. For the few who know, this attribute is a distinct competitive advantage when talking to employers about job opportunities. So, how do you gain this advantage?

#1 – Forget what you “know” by keeping an open mind. If you’re a math major, do you “know” you must become a math teacher or work with numbers all day, or do you know that some of ACUITY’s brightest and most talented software developers earned their degrees in mathematics? If you’re an accounting or finance major, do you know you have transferrable skills conducive to a successful career in underwriting? If you’re a history major, do you know you can come very close to rewriting history for many victims as a claims adjuster, positively impacting their lives forever?

I estimate that 95%—likely more—of the employees hired at ACUITY never envisioned working in the insurance industry, simply because they didn’t know about the variety of dynamic and rewarding opportunities. Keep an open mind and know there are incredible opportunities outside the commonly known career paths in your field of study.

#2 – Forget what you “know” by doing your research. Many students have their hearts set on one position with one or two companies because they “know” these as their only options. When an acquaintance informed me about the marketing analyst position, I immediately dismissed the opportunity because I “knew” I didn’t want to be employed in sales or marketing (nor did I want to work for an insurance company, as you may recall). Thankfully, enough information was shared with me to spark an interest. At this juncture, I transitioned from “knowing” I would never work in the insurance industry to knowing it was a possibility. Extensive research on ACUITY and speaking with someone already in the position solidified my interest. I knew this was a great opportunity to leave my job and begin a career.

Your Career Services team hosts several events throughout the year—including widely-attended career fairs—to broaden the informational and job opportunities available to you. Use these convenient events to educate yourself. Research positions and companies. Know which are best for you.

The return on investment from keeping an open mind and conducting research is substantial. Forget what you “know,” and learn what you need to know.

To learn about ACUITY’s entry-level job opportunities, visit https://www.acuity.com/acuityweb/careers/mainpage.xhtml

Building Relevant Work Experience

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Getting the Most From Your Internship Experience

Learning, confirming, impressing, and positioning. When you take an internship, these should be four of your goals.

Of course you want to learn as much as you can about your employer and its culture, and about the industry in which it operates. You’re looking to confirm that both the employer and the industry are good matches for you.

But you also want to impress managers and leaders to position yourself for an offer of full-time employment from the organization once you graduate.

“If you get a ‘high-quality’ internship that gives you the chance to apply what you are studying in school, it will give you the opportunity to confirm that your major is really the right direction for the start of your career,” explains Steve Canale, General Electric’s (GE) manager of global recruiting and staffing services. “An internship is a great testing ground to make sure that you are on the right path.”

Most companies hire the majority of their full-time college graduates from their pool of interns and co-ops. Canale says that 70 percent of GE’s full-time hires have interned with the company. What can you do to get the most out of your internship experience? First, you need to know what employers look for in their interns that makes them candidates for full-time positions.

First and foremost, employers see potential in you, says Julie Cunningham, president of The Cunningham Group. Potential, Cunningham explains, is indicated by your:

  • Ability to learn quickly (not just the job tasks, but the informal rules of the organization)
  • Perseverance when confronted with obstacles
  • Ability to work independently and finish tasks
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Technical skills related to the job

 

“Lastly,” she continues, “don’t underestimate how much social poise and good manners count.”

Burke Walls, Intel’s intern program manager, agrees, adding that a positive attitude during your internship is a key indicator of on-the-job success.

“Many times, students come into an internship ready for their dream job,” Walls says.

“However, in some cases, that dream job may be several steps away from the original internship. Even if this is the situation you’re in, you need to perform at a high level. Managers want to see you take care of your assignments, understand your deliverables, and use your skills and the resources available to you to get the job done. Be humble and appreciate the work others have done to make you successful.”

In this competitive job market, it’s important to keep in mind that the overarching goal of an internship is to get a full-time job offer, Canale says. “Realize that, like school, you are in a competitive environment and that your actions, attitude, and deliverables are being ‘graded,’ ” he adds. “With this in mind, look for ways to differentiate yourself.”

To make your mark, take advantage of the opportunities your employer makes available to you, says Shannon Atkison, Vanguard’s intern program manager. An example is speaking or presenting in front of senior leaders.

“Treat this like a final exam and prepare as much as you can,” Atkison says. “And be creative with your projects. Every project has the opportunity to turn into something robust and value-added given the right amount of time and creativity you put into it. These opportunities are like auditions and represent an incredible chance for you to set yourself apart.”

Incorporating these strategies will help you meet your internship goals in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a full-time job offer.

 

Welcome Back, Students!

It’s our first day of the 2014 Spring semester. Although it’s difficult to think of “Spring” when we’re currently in a deep freeze, Career Services wants to light a fire to help you get excited about the coming semester. We have a great line up of programs to help you - whether you’re starting to consider applying for an internship, or are preparing for your last semester and finalizing your post-graduate plans. Here is a sampling of what’s to come over the next few months:

LinkedIn – The Basics to Get Started
Wed., Feb. 19  |  11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.  |  1965 Room, Union
Learn about this social media networking tool and how it can help you professionally begin your career.  Topics include LinkedIn groups, endorsements, recommendations and how to connect with alumni.

Prep for Success – Employer Panel
Mon., Feb. 24  |  12:45 p.m. – 2 p.m.  |  Phoenix Room B, Union
A panel of employers will be available to answer questions about interviewing, job fair etiquette, the job search, and more. Take this opportunity to prepare yourself for the Job and Internship Fair, Mock Interview Day and Dine Like a Professional Etiquette Lunch.

Basics of Behavioral Interviewing
Tues., Feb. 25  |  12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  Phoenix Room B, Union
“Tell me about a time when you…” Behavior based interview questions are common within the job search process. Join our guest speaker, Stacy Butter from Schneider National as she takes our audience through ways to effectively manage behavior based interviews.

Mock Interview Day
Thurs., Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  | Phoenix Rooms, Union
Nervous about interviewing?  A variety of professionals will conduct practice interviews with our students. During the session, the interviewer will ask typical interview questions for approximately 20 minutes, and provide you with feedback about your performance. Develop your interview skills in a no-risk setting.  Sign up required with a deadline of Thursday, February 20.

Dine Like a Professional Lunch
Mon., March 3 from 11:40 a.m. – 1:40 p.m.  |  Weidner Center
This is an opportunity for students to mingle with UW-Green Bay alumni and community members to develop new skills in a fun learning environment. Lyn Hulgan, owner and etiquette consultant at Essential Details, will take students through the basics of professional dining etiquette during a delicious meal. Registration is required, with a deadline of Friday, February 21. Space is limited, so register early!

Spring Job & Internship Fair
Wed., March 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  |  Phoenix Rooms, Union
Visit face-to-face with employers who are seeking candidates for full-time, internship and part-time positions. Dress professionally and bring your resume!  View the complete list of registered employers in PRO.

 

In addition to these events, we will be hosting our Creating a Resume 101Interviewing Basics and Applying to Graduate School workshops, as well as offering opportunities for students to have a professional photo taken for their LinkedIn profile.

For details about all of these events, registration instructions and more, check out our calendar of events by logging into PRO, or view our website at http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/calendar.asp

Why Working at a Donut Shop Could Lead To Your Dream Job

(Written by Jessica Halcom, Corporate Recruiting Manager – Human Resources for Schneider National, Inc.)

Our cumulative life experiences create who we are, and who we will become. You’ve likely heard about Steve Jobs haven taken a calligraphy class almost “on a whim” after he’d dropped out of college. What he took away from that class would largely influence the design of Apple and Mac computers. At the outset, calligraphy doesn’t appear to have a thing to do with computer science, but it ultimately became one of the largest differentiating factors in consumer preference between Apple and their competition.

I often have students tell me that they’ve purposely left work experience off of their resume because it “wasn’t relevant” to the job to which they’d applied. You might not think you’re headed for the Forbes List because of the summer job you took working on a line in a factory, but I’d argue that you may be wrong, and I’d like to pass along some advice:

Potential employers care about all of your work experience, not just the seemingly related.  All job experience is valuable experience. Madonna worked at Dunkin Donuts in New York when she was still trying to launch her career, Bryan Cranston worked on a paper route, and Sara Blakely sold fax machines door-to-door. Admittedly, fried dough, newspapers and faxes have little to do with singing, acting and Spanx, however, proving a good work ethic, personal responsibility and showing up every day on time, and willing to learn, say a lot about you.

If you had a job that doesn’t seem to match up with the skill set for the position you’re applying to, prospective employers still want to hear about it. Consider this example; the Director of Operations is deciding whether or not to hire you based upon the three month internship you had last spring in a production department of another company, because that was the only job you listed on your resume, deeming it the only relevant experience you have. You excluded the three summers you spent painting houses, and the job you have as a shift leader during the school year at a local sub shop. By omitting work history, you weren’t showcasing your work ethic, willingness to work long hours, ability to make quick decisions, experience working with customers in a fast paced environment, team work and leadership qualities, all of which are skills that would benefit most any organization, and would make you a more attractive candidate for the role.

It’s important to account for your time, no matter what. A candidate who hasn’t worked during their summer breaks may have an excellent work ethic, problem solving skills and be incredibly creative, but how would we know? If you haven’t taken a job during the school year, or on summer breaks, tell us about what kept you busy. We want to know about your volunteer work, sports teams or organizations you were involved with, or study abroad experiences. You don’t necessarily need to be earning a paycheck to be gaining some valuable skills. Another thing I’d urge you to consider is that when purposely omitting work history from a resume, leaving an unexplained gap in time can make it appear as though you have something to hide. The best rule of thumb is to always be honest.

For summer, part-time, internship and full-time positions check out the opportunities at www.uwgb.edu/careers today!

10 Skills Job Seekers Need

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

10 Skills Job Seekers Need

When it comes to a job seeker’s skills/qualities, employers are looking for team players who can solve problems, organize their work, and communicate effectively, according to employers who responded to NACE’s Job Outlook 2014 survey.

Employers who interview and hire new college graduates were asked to rank a job candidate’s desired skills and qualities. Employers rated seven of 10 qualities as “very important”; three were rated “somewhat important.” (See Figure 1.)

How can you demonstrate that you have these qualities? Here are some things you can do during your college years to meet these demands:

Join extracurricular activities. Being an active member of a club or an intramural sports team, organizing a volunteer project, or taking part in group tasks, will help you earn that top quality spot, “ability to work in a team structure.” Participating in extracurricular activities while maintaining a high GPA will demonstrate that you have the “ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work.”

Keep Your GPA High. Good grades show that you have a good knowledge base—the “technical knowledge related to the job”—and demonstrates a strong work ethic—a quality that employers value.

Find an internship. Another way to demonstrate your knowledge of the job is to have done an internship or two in your field. You’ll have taken an opportunity to look at your future career close up while getting hands-on experience with any potential job. Your internship can put your “foot in the door” to a job opportunity with many employers and help you build a network of professionals in your field.

Make a Date With the Career Center. The career center staff can help you go a long way in preparation for selling yourself to future employers. In addition to helping you choose a major and career direction, a career counselor can help you find internships, perfect your cover letter and resume, and develop your interviewing skills. Good interview skills will help you show a potential employer know that you can “verbally communicate” with people inside and outside the organization.

 

Be Prepared for Your Career After Graduation – It’s Worth the Energy

(Thank you to our Valued Partner, Integrys – for authoring this month’s blog)

Transitioning from the college scene to the professional job market may not be as far off in the distant future as you might think, and it has the potential to cause quite a few pitfalls for the unprepared student – both for the short-term and the long-term. One common example experienced by far too many college graduates is that they don’t necessarily possess a high level of hands-on experience in their field of study – resulting in a fragile resume that doesn’t help much in landing a job offer. Conundrums like this one stem from the well known circular-reasoning of “You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job”. So which one comes first – the job or the experience?

One answer to this question comes to many students in the form of an internship or an apprenticeship. Regardless of your field of study, there are many job opportunities available to students who are still enrolled in college-level education, and can be accessed through a host of websites and job and internship fairs. Using your UW Campus ID number, you can access the Phoenix Recruitment On-Line (PRO) resource, which serves as a connection between employers and students. Other resources include Green Bay Current from the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn, and the numerous Job fairs that are hosted in the Phoenix rooms on UW-Green Bay campus.

Finding the channel that suits you the best, and using it tap into the vast pool of opportunities in the greater Green Bay area, and to get in contact with employers who are actively looking for interns is a great first step towards building up your resume and obtaining real-life experience in your area of study – which is exactly what employers look for when you’re searching for a position to begin your career after graduation. Never think that it’s too early to begin bolstering your greatest investment (your education) with an applicable internship. The more experience that you have under your belt at the time of your graduation will serve to rocket you into your career. Don’t get caught in the doldrums after you graduate – begin your quest for an internship today!

‘Major’ life decisions

Imagine your future in a couple of years. Where do you see yourself? What kind of job do you have? Are you happy in this job? As a college student it is inevitable that you will have to seriously start thinking about your future; it’s right around the corner! Most likely you are at UWGB to earn a degree that will prepare you for a career. But do you know about the many different career options that are offered? Or maybe you are undecided about a major. Have you looked at the list of majors offered at Green Bay and other schools? Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start, and when looking through so much information, it can be terribly confusing. Luckily, there are several tools and websites available that can offer assistance in you search.

If you are undeclared, chances are you may be feeling overwhelmed when you even think about choosing a major. It’s not uncommon, and there are many sites on the web that offer “major assessments.” One website I came across was mymajor.com. This site allows you to create an account using your email address, and then take a quiz to determine some possible major options. The program asks for you to rate the classes you took in high school and also asks you a few work related questions. The system then calculates your answers and formulates a list of five majors that fit your preferences. I was interested to see the accuracy of the MyMajor program, so I decided to take the quiz for myself. I am a vocal performance major and a musical theatre major, so I was definitely expecting a list of a few theatre and music related programs.  This was very true, because I was presented with 1. Theatre, 2. Dance, 3. Music teacher, 4. Special Needs teacher and 5. Public Communications. I concluded that online quizzes are a good starting point, but they are not always what you would expect. It’s important to take quizzes that are made by a reputable university or college prep site. This will help you avoid quizzes with no real logic to them. Take a few quizzes, but don’t freak out if the recommendations aren’t what you expected. Just keep an open mind and you may be surprised what you learn about yourself.

If you have decided on a major, or even if you haven’t, and are looking to build or explore career options, then wiscareers.wisc.edu is a great tool to use. Create a username and password login to access thousands of career profiles including a general overview of the job description, salary, and educational path for each occupation. It also includes “Hot Occupations,” which are jobs expected to see job openings increase by at least 27% in the next 10 years. This is a great way to get a sense of what a job is all about and to compare different options. The descriptions are quite honest and include a section of both pros and cons about the occupation. If you aren’t sure where to start you occupation search, Wiscareers also offers several career, skill, and values assessments, and uses your responses to generate suggested occupations. You can then browse through the recommendations and also find out what Wisconsin colleges offer degree programs required for each occupation. Wiscareers can then link you to any college, university, or tech school in the United States.

Assessment tools on the internet are numerous, and sometimes pretty confusing. If you take a few and aren’t sure how to begin applying the responses, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with a Career Services professional. They can give you additional advice and steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a major and career planning. Office hours can be found on the Career Services website, by calling (920) 465-2163, or by stopping by SS 1600. We are always happy to help!

Choosing a Major

As a college student, one of the most common questions you are asked by family members, friends, and classmates is, “What’s your major?” If you have not yet declared your major, you may feel uncomfortable responding that you are undeclared and/or undecided. It sometimes seems as if most of your peers already know what they want to do, and that something is “wrong” with you if you have not yet decided on a major. Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions a student is faced with very early in a college career, and many students feel that they are not adequately informed or prepared to declare a major. It is the hope of the staff in Career Services that this guide will prove to be a starting point for you in selecting an academic discipline(s) in which to major while a student at UW-Green Bay.

Does My Academic Major Have to Relate to a Career Choice?
Consistently, the staff in Career Services hears students expressing the belief that major and career choice are the same thing. It is true that certain fields do require specific degrees or substantial course work in order to qualify for certification or licensing. These fields include, but are not limited to, professional programs such as Accounting, Education, Social Work, and Nursing. Without a degree in these fields, additional course work completed after graduation or special certificate programs can provide the credentials needed to qualify. However, there are numerous careers that may require a bachelor’s degree for entry into the field, but not a specific major. Most employers are concerned with the solid skill base that is gained through a college education. These transferable skills include oral and written communication skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking, organizational skills, and research and analytical skills. The ability to be trained and the ability to adapt to new environments are necessary skills to have for the work force of today and the future. Completing a college education enables you to develop and enhance these skill areas.

For some career fields, such as medicine, law, counseling, pharmacy, etc., graduate or professional school will be required after completing a bachelor’s degree. Students should be aware of the admission requirements for the programs they are interested in. Many will have prerequisite course work requirements, but most will not require a specific major. So, for example, medical schools will require a specific core of science courses, but you do not have to major in one of the sciences to qualify for admission. The same is true for many other graduate and professional school programs, though there are some exceptions to this, so it is important to research the requirements as early as possible.

Because most majors are not focused on a specific job or career field, some form of practical experience is very important for making a successful transition to the world of work. Internships allow you to build on the transferable skill base gained through your college education. You then receive focused training and practical experience where very specific content or task skills are developed. So an English major can use an internship to prepare for a career in banking, or a Psychology major can do an internship in the field of human resources. Internships are the primary way for students to gain the practical, related experience that many employers are seeking.

What Should I Consider When Selecting a Major?
Students get overly concerned about selecting the “right” major. The choice of an academic major is an individual and personal choice. As the person declaring the major, you will be accountable for learning the material, completing the papers, conducting the research and taking the exams. Therefore you, and you alone, should decide what you will major in while attending UW-Green Bay.

The best place to begin with your choice of major is to think about your own interests, values, abilities, and personality. Can you imagine dreading to go to class each semester because you are bored by the material or you have no real interest in the field? When you consider the amount of time you spend on concentrated study in this field in which you have majored, interests and a desire to learn the material become critically important. You also need to think about what your goal is in choosing a major. Do you want your major to prepare you for a specific career field? Do you want you major to help you develop a depth of knowledge and skills that you can apply in many different fields of work? Or will your major simply be a subject that you enjoy studying? Not everyone has the same purpose in choosing a major, so it is important to think about what you want to accomplish.

Career Services utilizes several different assessments, including WISCareers, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which can help you learn more about yourself and your options. No “test” or inventory can tell you what you should do, but these tools can be a good place to start for those who are undecided. Before taking an assessment, you should make an appointment with one of the staff members in Career Services to discuss which one would be most appropriate for you. And after taking an assessment, you meet with the career counselor again, to help you interpret the information. There is also a one-credit Career Planning course (Human Development 225) you can take, which is designed to provide you with the knowledge and resources necessary for career decision-making in college. The class sessions and assignments will help you to assess yourself, learn major career development theories, explore career and major options, gather information about the world of work, and establish short-term and long-term goals for career/life planning.

What if I Don’t Think I’m Ready to Declare my Major?

As mentioned earlier, the choice of an academic major is not an easy choice. However, many students believe that once they choose a major they are “locked” into that course of study. This is not true. You may change your major as many times as you would like. Declaring a major is never a final choice. A student merely repeats the process by completing a new declaration of major form. There are, however, a few precautions to consider about changing a major too frequently or declaring late in your college career.

The first precaution is that some departments may restrict enrollment in courses to majors only. Other courses may have prerequisites that must be taken before enrollment is possible. If you have not declared your major, there could be a limited number of courses open to you outside of the courses required in the general education program. Another precaution to consider if you declare or change your major late in your college career, is that your date of graduation may also change in order for you to complete the necessary graduation requirements for your new academic program.

This is not to say that you need to rush the decision and choose your major right now. But it is suggested that you do not delay your decision longer than necessary. You may find it easier to procrastinate because you are focused on completing general education requirements, but you need to realize that choosing a major is a decision you will need to make relatively soon – and no one else can make it for you.

Are There Benefits to Declaring My Major If I Am Hesitant?

There are some benefits to declaring a major even if you are not certain yet. When you declare a major, you are assigned an adviser in the department. This gives you an opportunity to get to know the department’s procedures and policies, gain first-hand information about which courses to take, and receive assistance and advice from an instructor familiar with the department and the curriculum. You will also know the recommended sequences in which to take courses, and how frequently they are offered.

Another benefit you receive as a declared major is access to student organizations, honor societies, scholarships and departmental activities. All of these things can help you network more effectively with faculty, alumni, and other students in the department, who can provide a wealth of information based on their experiences. In addition to the people you meet through these groups, you can connect with UW-Green Bay graduates in a variety of career fields by joining the UW-Green Bay Alumni group on LinkedIn. Create a LinkedIn account for free, and request to join the group.

Declaring a Major at UW-Green Bay

After you have made a decision about which major to declare, you must submit a completed Declaration of Degree Plan form, signed by the designated academic department representative, to the Registrar’s office. Students seeking admission to the majors in Accounting, Social Work, Communication, Education, Music, Nursing, Human Development, Psychology or Business Administration must meet special admission criteria to be accepted as a major. See department websites for specific information.

In order to meet the university requirement of an interdisciplinary academic program, students who declare a disciplinary major must also declare an interdisciplinary minor by the time they have 62 credit hours in progress. Students with an interdisciplinary major are not required to have a minor.

Majors and Minors
Interdisciplinary Majors, Minors and Areas of Emphasis:

http://www.uwgb.edu/catalog/undrgrad/interdisciplinary.htm

Disciplinary Majors, Minors and Areas of Emphasis:
http://www.uwgb.edu/catalog/undrgrad/disciplinary.htm

See a complete and current list of majors and minors in the UW-Green Bay Undergraduate Catalog and link to each department’s webpage.

You are responsible for planning your course of study and major with the assistance and consultation of your academic adviser. You should meet with your adviser each semester before registering for classes, and regularly check your degree progress through the Student Information System. Many majors also have specific areas of emphasis within the program. Be sure to consult the college catalog and the academic department to get specific information about program requirements, areas of emphasis, and course offerings.

Resources Available from Career Services
If you would like to learn more about major and career options, there are numerous resources available on the Career Services web site and in the resource library in Career Services office (SS 1600). For more information, or for assistance with choosing your major, you may make an appointment to meet with one of the professional staff members by calling the office, 920-465-2163.