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Mar 13 2017
by Meghan Field

9 Things to Do After You Declare Your Major

By Meghan Field - Mar 13 2017

With more and more students attending college and the job market remaining pretty steady throughout the years, it will be harder to get a job in the future. As of January 2017, there was an estimated 227,000 new jobs added and unemployment only increased by 1/10 of a percent, from 4.7% to 4.8%. Retail trade jobs added 46,000 jobs, construction jobs increased by 36,000 jobs and financial activity jobs saw an increase of 33,000. Professional and technical service jobs had an increase of 23,000 jobs, temporary service jobs increased by 15,000 jobs and jobs relating to the health care increased by 32,000. On the downside, 10,000 jobs related to the government were lost this year. With many jobs now either favoring or requiring candidates with more experience, a master's degree or additional schooling, it is important to plan your near future in order to be successful.

Here are important next steps to consider once you have officially declared your major. These steps are your stepping stones to becoming successful in the workforce!

1. Take classes relevant to your major.

Even though you may be taking a major that has a lot of room for electives, future employers would rather see that you took the initiative to take various classes that relate to the skills and knowledge needed for your job.

2. Figure out what career path you are going to take.

It is a lot easier to figure out what classes to take once you have put some thought into what career you want to pursue. Even if you have a few ideas in mind, that makes it easier to ultimately take specific classes.

3. Make time for an internship.

Whether you try to get an internship during the year or over the summer, it definitely looks impressive on a resume. You will also gain real life skills and get a taste of what having a real job is like.

4. Join clubs related to your major.

There is no better way to learn about what your major has to offer than by joining clubs that pertain to what you are studying. You will learn so many tidbits of information that you may or may not have learned about otherwise. Plus, you get to meet people who share the same passion as you do!

5. Start thinking about graduate school.

Unfortunately, more and more jobs are going to hire people that have a masters degree in a particular subject. Even fields like psychology are requiring at least a master’s degree in order to be considered for most jobs. While you may not want to spend another two or so years in school, it will definitely be worth it.

6. Talk to others in your major about their career plans.

While you might have your mind set on one particular type of career, it would be interesting to see what others plan to do with their degrees. You might hear about a type of job that might spark your interests that you had no idea you could do with your major.

7. Become close with your professors.

Whether you are thinking of graduate school or you are going right into the workforce, it is important to have strong letters of recommendation. Graduate schools and future employers are now looking at the whole package of a person as opposed to GPA alone, so a strong letter of recommendation, or two or three, will most certainly work in your favor.

8. Perfect your resume.

At times, there are certain jobs that you are not guaranteed an interview for. Therefore, it is imperative that you have an amazing resume because that is all that employers and graduate schools have to look at before getting to know you personally in an interview.

9. Make lifelong connections.

Your four years of college will go by faster than you could ever imagine, so it is important to make some friends that you can trust and rely on not only during your college years but for the rest of your life!

Declaring a major is a huge step into what is coming next in your life, so it is important that you make the most of what is to come after you have decided on the major that you feel will be the most significant in your life. For myself I decided that Biobehavioral Health is the correct major for me, but there are endless possibilities!

Lead Image Credit: Juliette Leufke via Unsplash

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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