James Madison graduates pursue a wide range of interesting career opportunities. Some focus on a direct application of their degree—including earning advanced degrees through graduate study or law school—while others opt for a more indirect application of their discipline, interwoven with other skills and interests.
Regardless of the final destination, JMC students pave their career paths both inside and outside the classroom; their experiences and involvements are just as important to dictating their route as the major they choose. This is important, because regardless of the professional routes students choose, employers expect experience. In a recent study, candidates whose résumés could point to pre-graduation work experience or involvements in the industry they were applying for were 14% more likely to get an interview.
Below are some resources to help current students begin the process of exploring the potential career paths a JMC degree prepares you for.
Career Exposure Series
Ever wonder how you’re supposed to make a decision about what sort of career you want to pursue without knowing at least some of the options available to you? MSU’s Career Exposure Series offers students the chance to connect with alumni working in a variety of fields to help narrow potential career paths. Check out the current Career Exposure Series schedule here.
Administered annually by the MSU Career Services Network, the Destination Survey documents the post-graduate outcomes of MSU students who receive bachelor’s degrees, offering a snapshot of their professional activity during the initial transition out of college. Interested in learning about what JMC graduates are doing with their degrees? Check out previous Destination Survey reports here.
Informational Interviewing and Job Shadowing
MSU’s Career Services Network has a number of tips on preparing for and conducting informational interviews and job shadowing—both useful ways to explore potential career paths and connect with professionals in the field. Review tips on how the process works here, and check out some tips for scoring an informational interview here, and take a look at some sample informational interview questions here. Need more context? Check out this piece for an overview on the whys, hows, and whats on this career-networking tactic.
MSU's Career Tools Page
The Career Services Network’s Career Tools site is a one-stop-shop for a variety of career-related resources—all tailored to you! Click the ‘Explore’ tab to pull up resources related to exploring career paths, interests, majors, and more.
The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook lets users browse careers by median pay, education requirements, on-the-job training opportunities, growth rate, and more. Take a look to see if the career paths you’re considering align with your expectations.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration, O*NET is billed as the nation’s primary source of occupational information, containing data on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from a variety of occupations.
Vault provides in-depth intelligence on what it’s really like to work in an industry, company, or profession. Company rankings, ratings, and reviews are sourced and verified through ongoing surveys of employees and students.
Interested in exploring a specific career path by engaging in some field-relevant research? MSU’s Venture is a database of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative opportunities available on campus to current MSU undergraduate students. Working closely with faculty and learning more about different fields of study provide excellent opportunities for important real-world experiences that can help prepare you for career paths and/or graduate school.
Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door for an internship or employment opportunity. You can find a variety of local volunteer options through MSU’s Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement website or by checking out Volunteer Match—a site that connects you with causes that matter to you.