Watch the presentation

(Ball State access only)

Question: How do you search for a job if you don’t know it exists?

Answer: Do some self-assessment, and then some strategic research.

Takeaway Resources

March 16, 2022 

Cathy Day, Director of the Humanities Compass Advantage, 

Emily Karas, Career Coach for Humanities and Social Sciences majors,  

Link to PDF of the presentation slides


Step 1: Self-Assessments  



  • Leads you to “Job Families” popular among those studying humanities and social sciences


Your goal for Step 1: A better sense of your values, interests, skills, personality, and your “deal breakers.”


Step 2: Research W i d e

Compass “Career Pathways” 

  • Interviews with Ball State graduates who majored in the “discipline majors,” not “vocation majors.” 
  • Ball State Alumni who would probably be happy to talk to you.  
  • You’re not limited to only talking to graduates from the same major.

Imagine PhD “Job Families”

  • Career paths of particular interest to humanities and social sciences PhD candidates. 
  • You may not be a PhD student, but like them, your educational experience has been focused on an academic discipline, not an applied discipline. 
  • Your major didn’t expose you to the world of work. Unless you grow up around lots of professionals, you may not even know what’s possible for you. But that changes now! 
  • Each Job Family on this site contains a description of the types of careers and job titles associated with it, as well as resources for career exploration, building skills, networking, and applying.  

Industries vs. “Job Functions”

What’s the difference? Glad you asked! 

There are 147 “industry categories” on LinkedIn, and pretty much every single one of them needs people who can write well.

Which is great! But how do you find them? 

a very long list of 147 industries

That’s why it’s easier to focus on job function.  

There are 26 “job functions” on LinkedIn, and you can do most of these (although a few like Legal or Real Estate might require more education or training).  

Pick a few job functions and do some internet searching:  

  • “English major human resources job function”  
  • “history major project management ” 
  • “job function media and communication”

Candid Careers Videos 

Tired of Googling and reading? Try watching some Candid Careers videos. 

  • Sign into Cardinal Career Link 
  • Left side panel, click on “Resources” 
  • Scroll to “Get Resources” 
  • Click on Candid Careers 
  • Hover over “Explore Careers” and you’ll see that you can search by  
    • Industries 
    • Career Titles 
    • College Majors 
    • Click “More” and check out “Miscellaneous” groupings such as “Liberal Arts Majors,” “Green Jobs,” or “Life after Military.”  

Candid Careers is a great way to get a quick feel for:

“what is public relations?”

“what does a technical writer do?”

“what kind of jobs exist at nonprofits and philanthropies?”

“what does a ASL interpreter do?” 

Your goal for Step 2: A list of about five jobs that interest you. 

Programs Office Alumni Slideshow

  • Some of these folks have already been interviewed for Cardinal Directions, some have not.
  • If they aren’t listed on the Career Pathways page and you’d like to connect with them, talk to Dr. Debbie Mix at

Step 3: Research Drill Down 

Say to yourself, “For the next hour, I’m going to find anything I can about [blank].” Set a timer to keep you from wandering off. Fill out one fact sheet for each of the five possibilities. Cut and paste text into a document or just the hyperlink.

  • What job type I’m researching
  • Sample job description/duties 
  • Most interesting job titles
  • Typical entry-level position
  • Potential for job growth
  • Typical salaries in the field
  • Stress level of this career field
  • Job satisfaction rates reported by those in the field
  • General culture of the setting
  • Personality traits needed to succeed
  • Geographic locations with most opportunities and cost of living information

Your goal for Step 3: Two jobs that interest you. 


Next Week! 

  • Bring those two choices next week so you can start connecting with people in those fields!
  • “Networking for Introverts” by Prof. Cathy Day, Wednesday, March 23 at 5 PM. Register at