How do I start planning a Career?
I don’t know what I want to do! How do I know what career is right for me? These are just a few of the thoughts that might be going though your head. Whether you are a freshman or senior, being uncertain about your major or career direction is normal. Most college students have difficulty with career/major questions because they either don’t know enough about the available choices or they don’t know what they want from a job.
The first step to clarifying what you want from a job is to think about who you are, and what you want from work.
What do you like to do?
What are you good at?
What type of people do you enjoy being around?
What is important to you in a career and your private life?
What are your income goals?
While these may seem like basic questions, you will find that it takes some time and thought to fully answer them. You are looking for what is in your heart, not what you assumed you would do, not what your family/friends think you should do, but what you truly want for yourself. This is not easy, but those who take the time to do this process, are often more focused, certain about their choices and more successful in their jobs.
The second step is identifying your interests, needs, skills and values. This will help you determine what kind of work environment, company size and career path you would like to take.
To help you explore your career interests and needs, we have developed a series of worksheets. Each worksheet is listed below, with a description of its purpose. For each one, print the sheet, complete the exercise and then record your reflections in a career exploration/planning notebook.
Interests: One way to help develop your career goals is to discover your interests. A great way to do this is to ask yourself questions about your activities. These questions may trigger you to think about something you haven’t thought about in a long time or that you had forgotten about.
Skills: If your job utilizes skills that you are good at and you enjoy, chances are high that you will like your job. On the flip side, if your job involves a lot of skills that you dislike, you are most likely not going to enjoy your job. In addition, employers expect you to be able to list your skills and how they relate to the job. They are looking to see if your skills match the job for which you are applying.
Traits: Personal traits are the tendencies, behaviors, attitudes and characteristics that make you unique. A large component involved in selecting a career in which you will be satisfied, is to find one that complements your personality.
Values: What motivates you? What is important to you? Money? Prestige? Helping people? Living in a rural area? If your career choice is not compatible with your values, chances are likely that you will not feel satisfied with your job.
Working Conditions: Sometimes what is as important in our job is not what we are doing, but where we are doing it and what environment we are doing it in. We cannot always get everything we want in a job, but it is helpful to determine our priorities.
Career Ideas: There are hundreds of different occupations. While you may not have heard about all of them, you do know about more than you might think. Brainstorming will help you to think of them.
The third step to clarifying what you want from a job is to complete the Profile Summary to summarize what you determined from your interests, skills and values worksheets.
Once you have completed your career exploration worksheets, you can complete a Profile Summary
The profile summary helps you compile your determined interests, skills, traits, values, and working conditions. It allows you to look at the whole picture and begin determining what career fields may be a good match for you. Review each of your worksheets and reflections and record your top answers for each category.
Once the summary is complete, you should have an idea of what you want and are probably able to begin exploring your career interests.
If you would like additional or individualized assistance to clarify what you want from a job, please schedule an appointment to meet with a career counselor. Hours are 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday.