Major Exploration Using Social Media and Streaming Services

Article written by Kadina Koonce – Academic Advisor in the Explore Center

Have you ever found yourself wanting to explore a specific career or major but haven’t been ready to personally reach out to someone? Well, I’m here to tell you that while an informational interview or shadowing is a recommended step, it doesn’t have to be your first step in exploring. Living in a digital world, there are lots of ways to see and take a deep dive into people’s work lives and experiences.

Watch a “day in the life” video on YouTube. Learn about the pros and cons of a career through a podcast. Get advice from current students and professionals on social media. Visualize yourself in that work environment while streaming your favorite show or docu-series! Major exploration goes beyond phone interviews and online articles; let’s consider the many options to explore with the tips below.

  • What to search (fill in the blanks with careers you are interested in):
    • Day in the life of _____
    • What is _____ school like
    • What I wish I knew before becoming a _____
    • _____ v. ____
    • Google: ________ YouTube channels
    • Google: ________ YouTube influencers
  • Example search: “videographer vs photographer”
  • What to consider using YouTube to explore majors and careers:
    • Watching more than one or two videos for a variety of perspectives
    • Consider who is posting the video (a school, a student who was previously rejected, a practicing professional, etc.)
    • Is this sponsored content?
    • How old is the video?

  • What to search (fill in blanks with major or career of interest):
  • Search example: “Careers in Finance” or “Dental Student”
  • What to consider when using TED Talks or Podcasts for research:
    • What do/would you enjoy learning about?
    • What topics would keep your interest or attention for 30-60 minutes?
    • Try multiple podcasts/TED Talks, because some are more energetic or organized than others
    • Listening to podcasts/TED Talks about decision making and self-exploration might be more helpful than specific careers, especially if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed

  • What to search (insert major or career of interest in the blanks):
    • Google: _____ influencers to follow on _____ (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter)
    • Research national associations and organizations for different careers/industries and follow their social media
    • University department and student club Instagram pages
    • Hashtags & keywords (Example: #blackengineers or #sustainablefashion)
      • Note – (@) Pages are generally more helpful than searching by hashtag/post
      • ______ jobs
      • ______ student
      • ______ major
  • Search example: “UNL Global Studies major” or “@disneyparksjobs”
  • What to consider when using social media to explore majors or careers:
    • What career/interest related topics do you want showing up on your feed?
    • What do you like learning/getting from that content?
    • What do they promote and what opportunities are available?
    • Is it a verified page? How recent is their last post?
    • Ask yourself how you can do what they do or what major/experiences would help you get there
    • Look for people with similar identities as you in that field (race, sexuality, gender, etc.)
    • Reach out/DM someone and ask questions!

  • What to search (insert career or major of interest in the blanks):
    • Look at your watch history & list
    • Docus-series and Documentaries
    • On Netflix search “Explained” or similar shows to this and look through topics that stand out to you, and that you’d like to learn more about
    • Keywords (examples: business, mind, jail, health, media, justice, psychology, babies)
  • Search example: “documentary about education”
  • What to consider:
    • If you had to watch a 2 hour documentary or docu-series about something what would be your go-to?
    • What topics do you watch most and what do you like about watching that content?
    • For entertainment type shows, do any characters have cool jobs/hobbies?
      • What’s their job/work environment in the show?
      • What do you like and/or dislike about what they do at that job? Do further research to check the fictional depiction of the show with other credible sources of information

If you need help coming up with a direction or keywords, please start with the UNL Catalog, the Career Interest Communities & Pathways Resource, or job titles from “What Can I Do With This Major?“. It can be helpful to take notes while researching majors and careers and the Major and Career Profilers are great options to organize your thoughts.

By Kelsey Yadon
Kelsey Yadon Career Advisor