Explore Your Options
This is the first step in the career development process and requires you to take some personal inventory:
- Who are you, what do you want to do, and what majors and career paths align with your interests?
- What skills do you want to develop? How do you assess what employers want?
- What majors are offered at SJSU? What skills and knowledge will you gain?
- How do you identify and explore career options?
While this can sound like a daunting process, it actually is not so overwhelming when you follow our career exploration plan [pdf] and work with one of our professional career counselors who can walk you through the process. Check out these resources to get started!
- Know Yourself
As you review the self-assessment resources below, keep in mind that the evaluation process requires guidance and feedback. There are no "tests" that can tell you what to do or which occupation is ideal. Self-assessment inventories are a way to start to identify themes and insights based on your interests, personality, values, strengths and skills.
Be sure to make an appointment with your career counselor to review the results of assessments (some require formal interpretation by a professional career counselor) and develop a career plan the meets your unique goals and aspirations.
Evaluate Your Interests
Interests are activities you pursue for pure enjoyment that include elective courses, hobbies, extra-curricular activities, or any way you use your free time. Your interests are clues to the type of tasks and projects you'd enjoy and feel excited to pursue. You will experience greater job satisfaction when you are doing what you like to do.
Tools to help you identify your interests:
Focus2 [pdf]: Focus2 is an online, self-guided assessment and career planning system designed to help you explore majors and careers. Assessments are short (10-15 minutes each) and offer immediate results which are tailored to SJSU majors and can be shared with academic advisors, career counselors, or campus mentors.
Truity Holland Code Career Assessment - Take a free 20-minute assessment identify your strongest career interest among six occupational themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (a.k.a. RIASEC). These interest themes can be used to narrow down and research career possibilities via O*NET (search by interest code)
Strong Interest Inventory: College Edition - The Strong Interest Inventory is an in-depth assessment provided by the Career Center. It can help you identify your interests as it relates to academic, leisure, and career areas to help you explore potential college majors and career paths. The report costs $15 to process and requires a meeting with a Career Counselor to explain how the assessment works and how to register to access this inventory. You must make an appointment through SJSU Handshake.
Understand Your Personality and Natural Strengths
Identifying and understanding your natural preferences; how you like to communicate, work with others and exist in the world will help you choose your preferred work environment. Knowing your personality type will help you determine how to best use your strengths and overcome challenges in the workplace.
Tools to help you identify your personality:
Truity MBTI Typefinder Assessment - Take a free 15-minute Myers Briggs 16 personality type assessment that includes possible careers, your core values, and motivations.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is an in-depth assessment that is provided by the Career Center. The report costs $15 to process and requires a meeting with a Career Counselor to explain how the assessment works and how to register to access this inventory. You must make an appointment through the scheduler on SJSU Handshake.
Assess Your Values
Values are the core principles that determine what you do, who you spend your time with, and how you think about the world. Values help you gage what is most important to you in your personal and professional life. Knowing your values is crucial for making wise major/career choices.
Tools to help you identify your values:
Identify Your Skills
Skills can be developed and learned as needed to solve diverse problems or complete specific tasks. You can further develop your natural strengths and skills in the classroom, but also in activities outside of the classroom such as part-time jobs, internships, clubs, organizations, and volunteering. Skills are ever evolving and you can prioritize the skills needed for your field of interest by comparing your current skill set with that required by the workplace. Check out our Build Experience page to learn more on the next step of the career roadmap.
Tools to help you identify your strengths and skills:
Skills you develop at San José State University (ULG pdf)
Tools to help you identify skills needed in the workplace:
Focus2: Are You Career Ready?
- Major Exploration
What majors align with my interests?
- Take the Focus2 Interest Assessment to view majors and career paths that align with your interest areas.
- Complete this Focus2 Results Worksheet [pdf] and share it with your academic advisor and career counselor [pdf] to help with selecting a major.
How do I declare a major and explore career options?
- Use this Major & Career Exploration Checklist [pdf]to complete all the steps necessary to declare a major, meet with an academic and/or major advisor.
- Review the Career Pathways page for to see job/internship feeds by industry pathway, contact information career counselors specializing in career pathways, and top employers who hire SJSU students within that pathway:
Arts, Communication, and Entertainment
Business, Financial Services, and Logistics
Education and Public & Human Services
Health, Fitness, and Nutrition
Technology and Engineering
What majors are offered at SJSU?
- Career Exploration
Once you've identified your key interests, personality preferences, values, strengths and skills, it's time to explore career options.
- Keep track of your career exploration journey with the Career Plan Checklist [pdf]. Share this with your career counselor, academic advisor, mentors and parents as you make some decisions and seek support.
- Explore career pathways related to SJSU majors. You can review job/internship positions, employers that have hired SJSU students, and professional organizations by these pathways as well as connect with a career counselor who specializes in each pathway.
- Identify and research career professionals in your fields of interest using SJSU² Mentoring & Meetup platform and LinkedIn Alumni Search.
- Connect with professionals in your field of interest for Informational Interviews (video), which are short 20-30 minute career conversations that can provide insight on whether a career path is a good match for you. Review Conducting Informational Interviews (PDF) [pdf] for more tips and advice on informational interviewing.
- Attend career panels and employer events. Use SJSU Handshake to search career panels, information sessions, job fairs, and alumni events taking place on and off campus.
- Common Career Questions
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Many college students have stress and doubts when answering this question. Consider what factors are holding you back from making a decision. Do you find it difficult to decide on only one career path?
If so, you could be a multipotentialite or someone who has multiple career paths that are "right" for them. Watch this highly rated TED Talk by artist and writer Emilie Wapnick to find out more.
Learn from industry leaders:
These videos are offered through LinkedIn Learning. As a current student you have access to them by using your SJSUOne username and password after clicking on the links.
What to do when you don't know what to do?
Focus on who you want to be not what you want to do + Networking + Being Open to opportunities, Diane Von Furstenberg
What makes career success?
Passion + Competency + Understanding Markets, Tony Robbins
What's the best path to career success?
Passion + Foundational Skills (STEM & Economics) + Change Management, Bill Gates
How do you choose the right path?
Knowing yourself + Hard Work & Initiative + Openness to Learning, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner
How do I start doing what I love?
Just start + Don't be a jerk, Judd Apatow
How do I become a CEO?
How do you follow your passion?
What makes for a successful career?
Passion + focus on your strengths + hustle, Maria Bartiromo
How do you make your dreams reality?
Visualize the future you + Set goals, Daymond John
How to get real world experience?
Passion + Internships = Success, Mary Barra