I’m throwing this one out to the readers for suggestions. A reader writes:
My cousin is graduating from college in May, and I was just talking to her about what she is going to do afterwards. I was able to give her some job searching/applying advice, but she does have a problem that stumped me a bit, and I think this is pretty common among young people: She doesn’t know what she wants to do. She is majoring in psychology and business, which gives her a pretty wide range of options, but I think she is overwhelmed and having trouble narrowing things down.
Do you have any advice or resources for people to help them figure out a career path? Obviously your first job out of college doesn’t have to be a “dream job” or the “perfect fit,” but I think it’s hard for young people to even figure out what direction to start in.
I’m curious to hear other people’s thoughts on this, but my main piece of advice is that it’s okay not to know right away what you want to do. Lots of us who now love our jobs stumbled around in the beginning, trying different things and figuring out what we were good at — and eventually ended up in something we wouldn’t have predicted at the start.
This is really common for liberal arts graduates, who aren’t pointed at one specific career path. Lots of people just sort of take what they can get and do that for a while, while they figure out what they like, what they dislike, what they’re great at, and what they’re not so great at. There’s absolutely no shame in that path — it’s most people’s path, in fact — but it’s not something most grads are prepared for when they come out of school.
That’s just the theoretical advice though. What more specific advice do people have for figuring out what you want to do when you have no idea?