Your Professor as a Professional Resource

Despite the stereotypical image of academics as lofty intellectuals with minimal social abilities, many professors can be vital resources for discovering what is out in the professional world.

Yes, some professors may be immersed solely in their field studies; however, plenty of them have alternate experience and connections. At the very least, their take on their careers and academia could provide a new perspective.

Visiting your professor during office hours could turn into a good relationship. Better yet, you could gain a mentor who could write a reference or put you in touch with a contact. If you are pursuing an English degree, for example, there are alternate career routes to take after graduation. (You do not have to become a teacher, as everyone will likely suggest!) Asking about their job as a college professor is a positive starting point as it brings up a conversation about the actual subject and different angles of applying the degree. Options for an English major could include archival studies, publishing, editing, grant writing, fundraising, and, yes, teaching.

Other degrees, such as engineering or architecture, have straighter career paths. Although there are plenty of exceptions, most who earn a degree in engineering or architecture plan on becoming engineers or architects. It is also likely that an architecture professor would have a working history and alternate experience under their belts, so they could be a vital resource. A student could learn valuable tips about the professional architectural world and best practices in looking for a job (it could vary by firm).

Whatever your major, reaching out to a professor in your area of study is bound to be beneficial. Not only will you increase your chances of success in the classroom, but also gain some knowledge about professions you could pursue.

Also, check out other ways to learn about different occupations here.

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