Many people spend more time deciding which kind of car to buy than which kind of career to pursue.
What are some of the consequences of making a bad career decision?
Choosing a career and college major are major life decisions that are best made using a multi-step process of self-evaluation and awareness, occupational and career research, decision making, planning a course of action, and ongoing evaluation:
Follow the steps below to help discover the right career for you!
Before doing anything else, it is necessary to clarify the kinds of interests, values, personality characteristics and skills that you have, especially as they relate to the world of work. This kind of self-evaluation is best done through the use of career assessments.
The following are ones that we will use:
What are your interests as they pertain to the world of work? Do you like working with people, with tools and technology, with ideas? Are you interested in expressive and creative activities? Do you like working outdoors or in nature?
What conditions are important to you in a job? Do you value job security, independence, working collaboratively with others, prestige? How important is salary?
What are some skills that you already have? What are some skills that you would like to acquire? How do these skills relate to particular occupations?
Now that you have evaluated your interests, values, personality, and skills, you are able to connect this information to potentially satisfying occupations.
Your goal is learn as much about those occupations as possible to help you make an informed career decision.
California Career Zone, Eureka, and O*NET all have extensive occupational information, including: descriptions of tasks and duties, required educational background, salary, future demand and more. You are also able to sort occupations based on how much education is required (i.e., look at jobs that require an Associates, jobs that require a Bachelors, jobs that require a Master’s, and so on).
California Career Zone: Once you have completed the three assessments on this website, go to the homepage and click on Grow. Then click on Portfolio Summary Report. You will see a summary of each of the evaluations you took. Read this information carefully. Below the score summaries, you will see occupational matches. Each match is a link to a page with descriptive information about that occupation.
Eureka: Once you have completed the assessments on Eureka, go to My Planner and click on Combined Microskills, True Colors, and Occ-u-sort Results. This will allow you to see occupational matches based on these assessments. Click on links to see career information (note: Eureka doesn’t relate the values assessment to specific occupations or careers). You are also able to see occupational matches based on the Inner Heroes assessment: go to dashboard, click on Inner Heroes, and click on the save and go to results tab. Click on Occupations.
O*NET: From the ONET Interest Profiler, you will automatically, upon completing the Profiler, be able to see occupation descriptions both in a shorter or summary format (MyNextMove) and in highly detailed form (ONET).
Career Coach: Career Coach allows you to look at the local (within a fifty mile radius of the college) labor market and employment situation. It shows how many positions there are in total in our geographic area for specific occupations, how much each occupation is predicted to grow over 5 or 10 years, and what the salary range is like. It also links to current job openings in our area so that you can see what employers are asking for in regard to qualifications.
Informational Interviews: Informational Interviews are a type of interview in which you are not actually applying for a position, but instead interviewing an employer to gather information about an occupation or field, build interviewing skills and make contacts/network. Please read the tutorial at the Quintessential Careers about the process of informational interviewing: http://www.quintcareers.com/informational_interviewing.html
Job Shadowing: The opportunity to be able to observe first-hand a professional in the act of doing his or her job is an extremely valuable one. You also get to experience the work environment. This can be very helpful for those interested in occupations where you may work in more than one setting (e.g., lawyers or nurses). Please read the tutorial at the Quintessential Careers site about job shadowing: http://www.quintcareers.com/job_shadowing.html
Now that you have done some self-assessment and career research, you will have begun to narrow down your search. In a sense, all the work that you have been doing in your assessment and research is part of the decision making process. However, at some point you will need to make a decision about which of possibly several suitable careers to pursue. Some people have strong gut instincts that steer them towards one occupation or field. For others, they may have strong instincts about more than one. The basic decision making process involves the following steps:
Review the following tutorials on decision making:
After self-assessment, career research, and decision making you are now ready to make a concrete plan on how to achieve your career goals. You will make a student educational plan, listing all the required courses for your degree here, and, if necessary, look at where you will go from here to complete your education/training. You will also look at any internships or practical experience you need to acquire. This step is accomplished in consultation with a counselor or advisor, and/or by taking one of the following educational planning courses:
Interests, values, and skills are not static. They can change or evolve based on life experiences or as a part of our development. Self-awareness and career/occupational exploration will be an ongoing process.