No one knows you as well as you know yourself, so taking the time to actively reflect on your interests, values, abilities and personality is very important. What do you consider important in life? What do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies? What are you good at? It is also imperative to reflect on your likes and dislikes in a job situation. By identifying what you do not want out of a career, you will in turn get more clarity about what you really do want. This can be very helpful in narrowing your search for that elusive career path.
Answering some of these questions can really serve to spark your thinking about your options. If you love history, why not look at careers for history buffs? If you hate the shift work in your current part-time job, then perhaps you can rule out careers that involve shift work. Knowing yourself is a critical first step in the career planning process. The more effort you put in at the start of this process, the happier you will be with the outcome.
So how do you discover what you like and don’t like? What you are good at and not-so-good at? Where your personality and values fit? Much of this self-discovery comes from real-world experience. All those summer or part-time jobs and volunteer positions can provide you with valuable insights into yourself. Teaching may have been on your radar as a potential career, but after the summer you just spent working at a children’s camp, you may feel differently about being surrounded by 20 to 30 eager little faces every day. Considering a certain career is one thing, but actually being immersed in that field is quite another, offering the kind of insight that only comes from hands-on experience. Reflecting later on what parts you did and didn’t enjoy about these experiences can be powerful indicators of your future career.
There may not be a “magic” career test, but there are a number of useful career assessments available. Career tests are interesting, but they are just one of many options available to you on your exploration. Your campus career centre or counselling centre will have a variety of tools and resources that you can use. Try taking more than one career assessment to see if the results are similar; if they are, this may indicate that you’re on the right path. Schedule an appointment with a career counsellor to discuss your results and where you are in the career planning process, as oftentimes talking it out can help clarify your thoughts. The career counsellor will also be able to suggest additional resources. It may also be beneficial to connect with people who are working in professions that interest you, as this will provide practical insight about this type of work. In addition, taking initiative to work part-time or volunteering in a field of interest will provide you with a valuable career exploration opportunity.
When exploring your career options, consider how they
Interests: Things you enjoy doing and are passionate about can provide important clues about work or career interests.
Values: The motivation or personal incentives needed for job satisfaction are unique to each person. By examining your work values, you can then determine what is important to you and prioritize what role work will play in your life.
Abilities: Talents and natural abilities often indicate potential in a particular area. People often take for granted the skills that come easily to them, yet those are precisely the areas that you should explore. With training, natural aptitudes can turn into career options.
Personality: Your unique combination of emotional and behavioural characteristics constitutes your personality. Different careers align with different personality types. Knowing your personality can enable you to enhance your career choices and ultimately your career success.
As you grow and develop personally and professionally, your needs and interests may change over time, so take the time to reflect on your interests and values on an ongoing basis. Staying in touch with yourself will ensure you are taking a proactive approach to your career planning.Source
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