If you’ve ever attended college or vocational school, chances are, you had the opportunity to visit with a career or guidance counselor to help you choose the career path that fits your interests, skills, personality and ambition.
In this process, you discover that there are more career paths, opportunities and directions you can go than you’d ever imagined. Career advisers will tell you to look at your hobbies and interests for clues into what you should pursue as a career track. For example, maybe you like to write – you could be a teacher, a journalist, a public relations specialist. Within that career track, you can drill down further to specific jobs like a graduate professor in medieval literature, investigative reporter for an international news agency or a non-profit fundraising manager.
There are a lot of options out there, making it tricky to find the career path that’s right for you. Here are two tools you can use to explore your career options on your own.
1. Research online.
Whether or not you’ve had the opportunity for career counseling, websites like MyPlan.com are a great way to find information on different careers. Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career, recommends this one as a great resource.
There, you can sign up for a free account and search over 900 job descriptions. You can also sign up to take a free career values assessment or purchase a full career assessment package. The site also offers salary data and descriptions of college majors along with related careers. They have resources for everyone from middle schoolers to adults looking for a career change.
2. Talk to an expert.
Another great idea when you want information about career options is to talk to someone you know who works in the area you are interested in. If you don’t know anyone, ask around. Chances are, your friends, parents, co-workers or classmates will know someone who works in your desired field. Make an appointment to visit them on the job, or meet someplace for lunch to chat with them openly about what they do, the pros and cons of the career, and what they would recommend for someone wanting to start out in that field. Not only will this give you insightful information, it will help you begin to build your network in the field.
When you’re considering your career options, you’ll make the best choices if you’re informed about all the possibilities. You’ll also increase your chance of finding a job you love by considering all your options.
What have you done to learn about different career options? Have you ever had anyone help you decide for or against a career path?