How to Explore Unfamiliar Career Paths as an Asian American Student  

Have you ever felt the pressure of pursuing a career field you are not interested in? As an Asian American student, you may not be aware of a range of career paths that are available to you. Many Asian American students have chosen their careers due to pressure from family and parents, most of which are in a STEM-related field (Poon). Asian and Asian American professionals are overrepresented in computer and math-related fields, making up 23.3%, while being underrepresented in fields such as arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (USAFacts). However, do not feel intimidated if you want to pursue a different career! It may seem like a challenge to enter a path you do not know much about, but there are many resources available to guide you.  

Meet Professionals and Network! 

The term “networking” has been used very often, but there really is power in making connections and networking. This is one of the best ways to gain direct insight into a specific field, position, or company and learn from others. It does not have to be an intimidating interaction; you can just start off by connecting with people on a very introductory level. Learn how to develop your elevator pitch here and practice it in a way that is more natural and conversational as it is a terrific way for others to learn a lot about you. Think about what you want from the conversation and adapt your elevator pitch to address those inquiries. If you want a more private conversation with the professional, consider requesting an informational interview with them. Utilize these resources to prepare for the interview and to ask them specific questions about their own career paths, and they could also give you advice on what they have encountered. It may seem intimidating to approach people you do not know, but the knowledge and advice you will gain will be beneficial as you begin your career journey. People are often very open to sharing their career path. 


You might be wondering how you can meet other professionals in your desired career path. Well, LinkedIn is a wonderful place to start! With over one billion users around the world, this is the key to connecting with others virtually. It may seem difficult to use at first, but we are here to help you navigate it. Watch our Husky to Hire on-demand webinar and read the handout to learn how to begin your LinkedIn profile and presence, and you can make an appointment with our career coaches if you want more in-depth information.  

The Alumni Search Tool on LinkedIn is an excellent feature that is available through the University of Connecticut’s page. As a student at the University of Connecticut, there are over 160,000 alumni you could connect with on UConn’s LinkedIn page in the “Alumni” section. If there is a specific company, position, or location, that you are interested in, you can filter based on your preferences and find someone who aligns with your interests. With both you and the professional being associated with UConn, it makes it easier for you to reach out, connect, and even request a meeting with them! 


There are many clubs and organizations on campus that are focused on specific industries and career fields. They are usually not limited to your major, so feel free to attend some meetings to talk to other students in the field as well as interact with alumni and participate in the activities. It might seem intimidating to attend the club not knowing anything about it, but they are all here to help you! You can also take advantage of the executive board positions to gain insight into certain roles. For example, if you are interested in the media or public relations field, you could assist the club in their social media accounts or see if they have a “social chair” position available. This can help you understand the field first on a student-level and allow you to gain the skills necessary to succeed in your career! 

Professional Organizations and Associations 

There are plenty of professional organizations and associations, especially for specific career fields, available for you to explore. Career Exploration has a wide range of resources for Asian and Asian American professionals to network and explore different opportunities. Here are a few organizations that you could explore.  

  • Asian American Arts Alliance 
    • The Asian American Arts Alliance, based in New York, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. There are many programs and events to build community and help further the careers of Asian Americans in the arts, such as town halls, discussions, professional development workshops, fellowships, etc. 
  • Ascend  
    • Ascend is the largest global network for Pan-Asian professionals that is membership based. Consider joining Ascend here at UConn to gain access to its events, forums, and its initiatives to further your business interests.  
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) 
    • This non-profit organization provides a wide range of professional development programs such as panels, workshops, seminars, etc. and more to empower Asians and Pacific Islanders in becoming great leaders. With over 30 chapters across the United States, Canada, and China, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and cultivate professional networking. 
  • Committee of 100  
    • “The leading organization for Chinese Americans on civic engagement, public policy, arts, culture and philanthropy.” Their Asian American Career Ceilings initiative features monthly webinars to examine the challenges Asian American professionals face in tackling the “bamboo ceiling.” It profiles diverse professions such as the fashion industry, journalism, politics, architecture and many more so consider attending an upcoming event or viewing past events to hear from key Asian/Asian American professionals.  

These are just a few of the numerous professional organizations available for you to get involved with. Use your networking skills and attend events to learn more about a profession you are interested in. Everyone has different career ambitions and there is no typical career path, so do not feel pressured into pursuing a career you are not interested in. All these resources are here to help you become more comfortable as you enter the workforce and ease any pressure you may encounter.  

By Michelle Wong
Michelle Wong