Charting your career path can feel daunting given the multitude of options and unknowns. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Leveraging available career planning resources and guidance provides structure and support for making informed decisions and pursuing meaningful work.
Self-assessments that reveal your interests, values, personality traits and skills are foundational for career planning. They provide insight on:
- Your ideal work environments
- Types of roles and industries you may enjoy
- Strengths to leverage in your career
Many free and paid Assessments are available online and through career counselors. Common assessments include:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Strong Interest Inventory
- Holland Code assessment
Take assessments early and revisit periodically as you evolve. The self-awareness gained guides your exploration.
Career Aptitude Tests
While self-assessments reveal preferences, aptitude tests evaluate your abilities. These indicate careers you may excel in based on your:
- Cognitive abilities
- Technical skills
- Soft skills
- Emotional intelligence
Aptitude testing helps you assess talents you may not be fully aware of. Tests like the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey and other validated assessments can be taken through career centers.
Speaking directly with professionals working in roles or industries of interest provides invaluable insights. Informational interviews offer a chance to:
- Learn day-to-day responsibilities
- Understand required skills and education
- Ask career development questions
- Make connections and expand your network
Come prepared with specific questions. Be respectful of their time. Informational interviews give you real-world perspectives.
Job shadowing goes beyond informational interviewing. Spending time observing someone actually working gives you an immersive experience and a chance to envision yourself in their shoes. This can solidify or rule out potential career directions.
Many companies allow job shadowing. Be professional and minimize disruptions when observing. It’s an unparalleled opportunity.
Working one-on-one with a career counselor provides customized guidance tailored to your specific needs. Typical career counseling includes:
- Administering and interpreting assessments
- Helping you process career possibilities
- Brainstorming actionable next steps
- Providing ongoing support and accountability
Qualified career counselors have training in coaching methodologies, labor market expertise and adult development. Their perspective is invaluable.
Career Exploration Courses
Self-directed or university career exploration courses allow you to systematically learn about career planning, fields of interest, and expand your thinking. Look for courses that provide:
- Activities to understand your values, interests and personality
- Exposure to various industries and occupations
- Job search and workplace skills
- Creation of an action plan
Check colleges, online learning platforms and professional associations for quality courses.
Labor Market Research
Exploring employment statistics, growth projections, and trends related to careers of interest allows you to make informed decisions. Helpful data to research includes:
- Projected industry/field growth rates
- Common career trajectories
- Geographic demand for certain roles
- Average salaries and compensation
- Required education and training
Government labor databases, trade publications, professional associations and occupational profiles offer rich data.
Attending industry meetups, conferences, seminars and networking events allows you to make connections while learning. These are great opportunities to gather insider advice and meet potential mentors.
Follow organizations related to your interests. Sign up for informational interviews while there. Events offer new perspectives.
Career Development Books/Blogs
Thought leaders in career development publish books and blogs full of wisdom. Reading these gives frameworks, case studies and best practices that spur reflection.
Look for well-researched, data-driven content from credible authors. Their distilled insights can profoundly shape your thinking.
Navigating career decisions requires self-understanding, broad exposure and support. Take advantage of the many resources available through self-assessments, counseling, exploration courses, informational interviews and ongoing learning.
At Futurelink, our team of advisors partners with you to personalize your career journey using proven guidance strategies. Discover your potential today.