Career “fit” is important for achieving career satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. How will you know that a career will fit? There are five major steps to selecting a career or major:
- Know yourself
- Explore and investigate career fields
- Test drive careers
- Evaluate your choice
- Make a decision
It is critical to start at the foundation, the bottom step, and build upon what you learn as you go. You may find that you need to return to a previous step if you gain insight or learn information in a later step that does not fit for you. Thus, the steps are like a stairway, you may move up and down the stairs as needed to gain clarity and more information. You may also reposition yourself on the stairway when changes occur in your life and you need to re-evaluate your choices.
Others may try to make career and major decisions for you, but only you can determine what options fit for you. In order to determine fit, it is important you get to know yourself and identify the four cornerstones of your Career Foundation:
- Personal style
The cornerstones cannot be determined by anyone other than yourself. In reality, only YOU can make the decision.
To find a career that will be a good fit for you, you must understand your personality and work style. For example, if you are introverted, or work best independently, working in a team-based environment with constant social interaction might not be as fulfilling. Consider your past work or volunteer experiences and what aspects you liked and disliked about the work environment.
Interests are another component that plays into your career choice. Think about what fields interest you and what common themes tie together your interests. Even if you have diverse interests, you can find ways to incorporate those into your careers. You may also decide that some interests are met through other means such as hobbies or volunteering.
Values also impact career choice. What is most important to you in a career? Job security, high salary, autonomy, life/work balance? Decide which of these or other values are your highest priority.
Having the right skills is an essential part of any career. Consider what skills you already possess and how could you further enhance those. What skills do you enjoy using or learning? You may have certain skill sets that you don’t find engaging enough to want to use every day in your career. What skills are needed to succeed in your desired profession? What are ways to gain those skills?
Without these pieces of the puzzle, a career decision is not grounded or based on criteria that matters to you. Begin with a solid foundation, know yourself, and work your way toward a solid career choice with the assistance of a School of Education Career Center Consultant.
Career and Major Exploration Resources
Career and Major Exploration Resources
The Occupational Outlook Handbook provides detailed information about occupations as well as labor market information such as projected job outlook and salary data.
O*Net offers information about specific occupations with a variety of search features to help you easily explore different careers.
My Next Move offers an O*Net Interest Profiler to assist you in discovering your interests and seeing how those interests connect to different careers.
Career One Stop is a website created by the U.S. Department of Labor that features information about identifying your skills, values, and interests in addition to information about different occupations.
CareerLocker is a career planning tool with assessments and information about job searching and careers. It can be accessed by (1) logging into MyUW, (2) searching for CareerLocker, and (3) choosing the CareerLocker button.
What Can I Do With This Major? is a resource about the different potential occupations and employers for each major. It also offers specific strategies for how to get further involved in that field and includes other resources for further research on those fields.
What Can I Do With A Major In… developed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, includes information and resources for a variety of majors.