Choose Your Own Adventure
What Impact Do You Want To Make?
Too often, we connect career exploration with finding a job. There are good reasons for this, from well-meaning aunts and uncles asking “what do you want to be when you grow up” to guidance counselors’ aptitude tests. We imagine a career path from classes to majors to jobs to careers to employers.
The difficulty with this model, however, is that it fails to address your growth and development while also neglecting our rapidly changing world. If you build your career on jobs of your past, you may miss out on future opportunities. If your major dictates your job, you won’t be ready for jobs that don’t yet exist.
This linear approach may also take the purpose of professional life out of your control. If the impact of your work is determined by the classes you liked, you miss out on the opportunity to determine what your effort accomplishes. Career exploration is about embracing the opportunities that come your way, here on campus, as you leave St. Lawrence, and throughout your professional life.
Are you ready to explore?
Let’s start by asking a better question: What Impact Do You Want to Make?
Choose Your Challenge
The first step to making an impact is discovering the challenges you want to address. What problems do you see and how can you work to solve them? Sparkpath (app.mysparkpath.com) helps you find the challenges that drive you, from advancing health and increasing sustainable energy to reducing poverty and promoting equality. What problems do you want to solve? Use code "slucareers" when signing up (that's our Instagram handle)!
Another tool that can help you determine potential career paths is Focus2. Focus2 combines self-assessment, career and major exploration, decision-making and action planning in one comprehensive product; the self-assessment section is a great place to start your exploration. For more information on how to use Focus2, watch a video tutorial.
One way to explore is to start with the organizations combating the challenges you see. If you want to promote healthy living, you may think about hospitals and medical services, but also biotech firms and sports and recreation companies. Examine broadly to find organizations passionate about your interests.
- Use CareerShift to research companies by searching for keywords in your challenges.
- Browse company bios on LinkedIn to find organizations looking to make the same impact you are.
Starting with careers can give you an insight into potential roles you might consider in the challenges that are of highest importance to you. The SparkPath cards give you places to start, so if you’re interested in Increasing Sustainable Energy you should explore positions like solar fabricators, system engineers, project managers, consumer sales associates or wind farm capital developers. You can also take advantage of many resources available to St. Lawrence students:
- Dive into the Vault Guides to learn about the opportunities and realities of different careers.
- Explore micro-internships to get real-world experience and discover jobs that interest you.
- Apply for $500,000+ in internship fellowships to make no-pay and low-pay opportunities possible.
- Browse job descriptions on Handshake and bookmark the ones that spark interest to find the jobs that support your pursuits.
Connect with People
Examining organizations and investigating jobs will lead you to people who share your passions and want to see you succeed. St. Lawrence’s highly-ranked alumni network offers you myriad opportunities to connect with alumni and parents who can help along your journey. Build your personal and professional network!
- St. Lawrence has 25,000 alumni on LinkedIn; reach out to those who have chosen the same adventures as you.
- Laurentian Connection boasts 2,500 alumni and parents who want to help you navigate your career.
- The LINC Mentorship Program connects you with alumni and parents in one-on-one year-long mentorship opportunities.
- Visit cities across the country with SLU Connect to explore life and work by networking with Laurentians. In 2022-2023, students will go to Burlington, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Boston, with an additional SLU Connect LIVE virtual event focusing on the Business/Finance industries.
Pursue Your Passions and Keep Exploring
Your impact rests at the center of the organizations, careers, and people who support your passions. The more you explore, the more you’ll learn and the greater the connections you’ll form.
If you want to Promote Healthy Living, your exploration of organizations could lead you to the LinkedIn profile for Memorial Sloane Kettering. There, you’ll find job postings in research, patient care coordination, medical data analytics, fundraising, speech-writing, and project management, all ways you can make a difference. You’ll also be connected to the two dozen alumni who work at MSK, nurses, events coordinators, researchers, pharmacists, managers, and oncologists. It’s in the intersection of organizations, careers, and people that you’ll discover your path to making your impact.