I feel like I “should” be applying for summer 2022 opportunities.

It’s the time of year when some students start getting job and internship offers for summer 2022, especially in fields where the big companies recruit in the fall, like consulting, finance and tech. That can cause other students to feel like they “should” be applying for things, even though they’re not sure what they want to do or how to get started.

First, it’s OK if you’re not ready. You may be just getting settled at Brown, focused on your academics or campus activities, or have dozens of other good reasons why you’re not interested or not able to explore opportunities right now. The fall employer recruiting season can make it feel like if you don’t start looking now, there will be no opportunities left later. 

That’s not true.

If you are ready, a conversation with a Career Counselor is a great way to start. 

Each of these conversations is different, but we might ask you about your academic interests, volunteer experiences, aspirations, stories you follow in the news, or hobbies. We could talk about your values and needs like salary, living near your family, or organizational integrity. Or we’ll chat about skills you already have or would like to learn, like coding, teaching, problem-solving or painting.

We might even suggest you take an assessment, like the Myers-Briggs, Strong Interest Inventory or CliftonStrengths. 

Regardless of how the conversation goes, we’ll suggest a few steps you can take to begin exploring fields that interest you and maybe even identify some internships or research opportunities you can consider pursuing. 

Ready to get started? Consider making a one-on-one appointment with a career counselor to talk things over and make a plan.

What If I’m not interested in consulting, finance, or tech?

Most graduating seniors don’t choose first jobs in consulting, finance, or tech! It only feels that way when you’re at Brown (or another Ivy).

A quick look at the 2020 data collected by the CareerLAB shows that most graduating seniors pursued paths outside of consulting, finance, and tech. In 2020, 70% of students chose employment as their first post-graduate endeavor (with most of the remaining 30% choosing graduate school or fellowships). Of those that chose jobs, 53% chose fields other than consulting, finance, or tech.

If you’re interested in considering some of those other fields or endeavours, consider making a one-on-one appointment with a career counselor. We’ll ask you about your interests, strengths, needs, and values and help you make a plan for identifying and pursuing internship and job opportunities.

That plan could include applying for a few things this fall. A quick check of Handshake shows that there are internship and job postings in non-profit, government, education, marketing. More than 20 of the employers attending Brown’s BIG Virtual Fall Career Fair on Sept. 22 are representing industries outside of consulting, finance, and tech. And, even if you’re not targeting consulting, finance, and tech, you might find marketing, sustainability, project management, or other roles within those industries that interest you.

Don’t worry if you don’t find things that interest you in Handshake, at the Career Fair or even at consortium events like Launch, D.C. ImpactLINK, and the All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair. Because Brown students have a wide range of interests outside of tech, finance, and consulting and because they are competitive applicants for jobs all over the world, most Brown students will find their opportunities with employers who don’t use Handshake and who don’t have the model, resources, or interest in recruiting on a college campus.

You can hear the story of one alum who did just that in the “All in the Timing” episode of the CareerLAB podcast.

Consider making an appointment with a CareerLAB counselor who can help you get started on the search for those employers now. You can work with us to identify fields that interest you, cities and countries where you’d like to work, and specific organizations you’d like to target. We can also help you identify Brown alum and others who do the kind of work that interests you. Partnering with us can help increase your confidence in navigating a successful internship and job search.

Your curiosity can guide your internship, job, and career search

One of the most common pieces of advice students will hear is that they should “follow their passion” when considering what college to attend, what subjects to study, what clubs and activities to participate in, and what internships, jobs, and careers to pursue.

But what if—like the vast majority of students and adults in the world—you don’t have a passion? Or what if the passion you have doesn’t lead to a first job or career that meets your financial needs? Assuming you need a passion to make a decision about what to study and where to work, assumes there is only one path you can follow that will make you happy and fulfilled. That’s not true for most people.

Instead of limiting yourself to one possible passion, consider reframing your academic and career exploration by “following your curiosity.”

Take advantage of the open curriculum to take classes in history, statistics, behavioral decision-making, philosophy, and coding that catch your attention that are outside of your comfort zone. Join campus clubs that can help you explore public policy, civil rights, consulting, and more. Pursue summer research in biotech or internships in the arts that let you get a feeling for what it might be like to work in those fields. 

Anxious about spending a whole semester or summer to explore something that might not lead anywhere? Most alumni we talk to would argue that taking part of a semester or a summer to figure out what you DON’T want to do is well worth your time. But you can also get a quicker glimpse of different jobs and careers by doing informational interviews with faculty, family, friends, past professional connections and Brown alumni that you can find on BrownConnect and LinkedIn’s page for Brown Alumni.

In short, doing things and talking to people are two powerful ways to figure out how you want to spend your time right after graduation and maybe even in the years beyond. And they might even lead to you finding a cause or career that becomes your life’s passion.

Need some help making a list of things that you’re curious about and ways to explore that fit with your own needs, interests, strengths, and values? Consider making a one-on-one appointment with a career counselor to talk things over and make a plan.