Exploring Careers

You might be qualified for more careers than you think...

How many career options for your major can you name? When you picked your major, did you have a specific career goal in mind? What if we told you that your major doesn't have to determine your career path? Did you know that you can be an English major and still go to medical school?

Let's explore career options and possibilities.

Learn About Career Fields and Industries

While some majors link directly to specific career fields, most career fields are open to a variety of majors. Utilize the database resources below, from the UIUC Libraries, to learn about industries that interest you and the job titles associated with them.

Talk to professionals

One of the best ways to learn more about a career is to talk to someone who does it. You can do this through an informational interview, by requesting to shadow someone at their workplace for a day, or by attending a professional conference or networking event in that industry.

Many professional associations offer student memberships at highly discounted rates. This can be a helpful way to meet people in a career path of interest and explore multiple job titles within an industry. You can also join the IlliniLink Student-Alumni network and LinkedIn University of Illinois groups to search for a mentor who can help you.


a woman in a blazer sits and talks with a small group of three students at a table

Experience the Careers

It can be difficult to tell whether you'll enjoy some careers unless you try them for yourself. This can be through job shadowing, an internship or apprenticeship, or seeking out a part-time job, research assistantship, or volunteer opportunity in a similar environment. While you might not have the qualifications yet to do the exact job you want to do after graduation (it might even require graduate school), immersing yourself in a similar workplace with similar duties will help you see whether it could be the right fit for you. For example, if you are thinking about becoming a social worker or psychologist, volunteering to answer phones for a crisis hotline would be a good experience to try.

a police officer faces a student wearing an Illinois Tshirt which reads "student patrol", with a police car off to the side
Sign reading Illini Career & Internship Fair with arrow pointing to the right. Illini Union building and fountain in the background.

Thinking about a medical career?

The Career Center specializes in pre-health career advising!

There are lots of health-related professions; becoming a doctor is one of many possible career paths. Healthcare is a high-growth industry and medical jobs are in high demand nationwide. Visit our page on Exploring Health Careers, or make an appointment with a Health Professions Advisor to get help deciding which one is right for you.

There's also a great resource called ExploreHealthCareers.org that covers the conventional medical careers, as well as many unique career options in the health industry, including healthcare administrator, medical librarian, nutritionist, art therapist, and other health-related choices that you may not have considered before. Check it out! You might be surprised how many medically-related careers don't involve diagnosing diseases or performing surgery.

Black female medical student or doctor in white doctor coat with Orange Illinois I on the sleeve
optometrist's phoropter