Cal Parents - Choosing a Career

How to help your student with choosing a career.

Myth vs. Reality
Career Center Resources
Ways You Can Help

Myth vs. Reality

Myth: Most students know their career goals when they enter college.
Reality: Most students who come to Cal as freshmen do not know what career they want to pursue, and many do not make a definite choice before they graduate.
Myth: It’s best to choose a career that you can plan to stick with for life.
Reality: Although many students worry about choosing the "right" career before leaving Cal, it is very common for people to change careers several times over the course of a lifetime, as their interests shift, some occupations become obsolete and others emerge.
Myth: A career should be chosen based on career field market demand.
Reality: It is very risky to choose a career based on market demand because there are constant fluctuations in the market. A career that exists today may become obsolete tomorrow, and careers that do not exist today may be tomorrow's "hot jobs." Students should seriously take into account their interests, values, and preferred skills as well as industry and employment trends, and cultivate their ability to adapt to changes in the world around them.

Career Center Resources

At the Career Center we help students engage in making informed decisions and gain perspective about the career development process.

Making a good career choice generally depends on three things:

  1. Evaluating oneself - improving awareness and understanding of one's interests, skills, and motivations
  2. Researching the World of Work - learning what kinds of jobs, employers, and career fields fit with one’s interests, abilities and values
  3. Making decisions that take into account both of these sets of knowledge.

The Career Center offers:

Ways You Can Help

  • Listen to your son or daughter about the different career choices they are considering, and try to be receptive to hearing what makes them compelling.
  • Encourage them to come to the Career Center early on to take advantage of all that it has to offer, follow their interests and if need be, explore a variety of career fields.
  • Help them identify their strengths and career possibilities without letting your personal biases carry too much weight.
  • Share your own educational and work history. Talk openly and honestly about the pros and cons.
  • Help them develop a list of people in your network of friends and relatives to contact for informational interviews.


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