Career Resources

See our main undergraduate page for some initial information regarding what career opportunities exist within the major. 

Career Planning + Research Resources

Searching for a job, an internship, a whole career path, and everything in between can be stressful, and it will most often take longer than you think it will. If you’re just starting out, and especially if you don’t have a lot of experience in the working world yet, know that it will feel like a very weird time likely marked by self-doubt. If you’re a current student, you can start laying the groundwork for discovering your interests, skill areas, and career preferences now so that you’re in a good place to start searching later.

One big thing to keep in mind:

Your first job search out of college is likely to be one of many job searches you perform in the future, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself this round to land the “perfect” job. Start in a job that works well enough for you (enough $$ to live, a good learning environment, a place to make connections) and if you love it, great! If not, use it as the stepping-stone to your next job (and your next job after that, and so on).

Photography by Terry Wimmer.

Getting Started

  • UCSB Career Services offers 1-on-1 advising, assessments to see what career fields might be a good fit for further exploration, resources to help strengthen your cover letter/resume/interviewing skills, grad school application help, and more!

    • They won't necessarily connect you with a job, but they can point you in the right direction in your searching and give a little more shape to your job or internship search

    • Some resources related to connecting your major to potential career paths (including the idea that your major doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think when it comes to planning for a career.)

      • We have particularly enjoyed exploring the Global Studies section of the "What Can I Do With this Major?" tool on this page (it will prompt you to sign in to your Handshake account, or to create one if you don't already have one.

  • Here’s a sheet that a previous Global Studies advisor used to have available for students - lots of books and articles to get in the right mindset for discovering what to do with the major, etc.

  • Take a peek at what UCSB alumni have been up to!

    • UCSB has a LinkedIn page where you can explore what alumni have done in their time since graduating from UCSB. You can search for people who completed specific majors, or just browse to see where Gaucho alumni now work (and see what their major was - it might surprise you!)

    • Play with the filters on this page to see what the median incomes and further education trends have been for students in different majors across the UC system

  • Visit this document for a list of our official department program learning outcomes - these are lists of the skills that students in each major should have upon graduating. Maybe you can consider using these phrases in a future cover letter or job interview?

  • Visit O*Net to explore jobs and career fields, whether you are familiar with them already or if they are new to you - you can search for specific job titles and the system will give you descriptions of that job, plus the education you need to complete to qualify for it, the skill sets it requires, etc. They also have some inventories you can take to figure out what skills you have that might be a good fit for particular job fields.

  • Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook - this page tracks trends in employment over time (which industries or jobs will grow the most in the coming years, etc)

  • Before you even need to get serious about applying for jobs, spend some time studying job postings on Indeed, LinkedIn, and (for student jobs, posted at UCSB) Handshake (upper right corner of the UCSB Career Services Center page). Even if you're not actively applying, you'll get to learn a lot about job descriptions and the education or experience levels they require, and you can get a sense of what companies or fields are hiring right now.

  • Scan through the Global Studies department undergraduate opportunities email list (you are added to this when you join the major) to search for recently-posted experiences (including internships, jobs, clubs, and other events) that might point you in the direction of your next career move

  • What Color is Your Parachute is the classic book for just helping you discover types of jobs and job environments that might be a good fit for who you are as a person - again, it won't magically bring a job or internship to you, but it will help you narrow your search down to positions that are good fits for you so that your searches will narrow down and, if you’re applying, your resume and cover letter have a better chance of landing you an interview.

What about law school? Graduate school?

  • Law school is a popular path with a lot of our majors - we recommend that you check out UCSB's Pre-Law advising program so that you can get a sense of whether it's the right path for your goals, along with help with your application materials.
  • Some thoughts on graduate school...
    • Visit Grad School 101 on the UCSB Career Services Center website for some initial exploration (things like - why go to graduate school? Is it a required next step after undergrad? what are good and less-good reasons to go? what are the different degree types and programs that are out there?)
    • In most cases, students considering graduate programs are either looking at academic graduate programs (PhD and some Masters programs) or professional graduate programs (some Masters programs and MBA programs). Also, students with a Global Studies BA degree are not limited to graduate programs labeled as "Global Studies" - you could look at any program that is in a related field (international relations, education, political science, sociology, history, etc.) 
      • Academic graduate programs are built on students doing a lot of research, so students considering this path should already be engaging in research with faculty members as undergraduates. (How to get involved? Start going to office hours for professors you click with, ask them if they are working on anything interesting and whether they are looking for student research assistants, look at the FRAP program listings, etc.)
      • Professional programs are designed to prepare you for a specific job field, and it can be a good idea to build your undergrad resume with things that align with this job field (internships, etc).
      • Make sure to read grad program details carefully so you can get a sense of which type of program meets the goals you are trying to reach!
      • Visit the APSIA graduate school program matcher to get some ideas of what career fields and graduate degrees and specific graduate programs might be a good fit for your goals.
    • Letters of recommendation are a key part of many graduate school applications, and they can be really intimidating to request. Some tips:
      • The type of program you're applying for, along with a careful read of the application instructions, can often give you clues as to who might be a good source of a recommendation for you.
        • For academic programs (PhDs and many Masters programs), you'll want academic references (so, professors that directly oversaw your work in class and with whom you've had a strong number of positive interactions.) Sometimes TAs can be a good fit for this, too, especially if you connected with them well.
          • Having trouble identifying professors that can write you a letter? If your application is due in the next couple of weeks and you have nobody in mind that you've connected with, you may not be a strong fit for the program you're applying to just yet and may want to hold off for a year so that you can lay the groundwork (attend office hours, take more courses with the professor(s) you respect or who work in the area(s) you want to study, etc.)
        • For more professional programs, do you have a work supervisor in that field that would be able to speak well and specifically about your skills and qualifications? In these cases, a professor who doesn't know you well may not be as strong a recommender as someone who oversaw you in an internship or on-campus job.
      • Ask for recommendations as far out as you possibly can - professors are very busy people who may turn you down simply because they don't have enough lead time on the request. 
      • For more really useful tips from the UCSB Reddit page, take a look here!

Career Advice from Ask a Manager

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Career and major advice geared towards formerly-incarcerated students

Interested in more information about career resources?

See highlights from the Global Studies Career Panel in May 2021.