St. Paul University Surigao July 8, 2008 4:30-6:00 PM Career Orientation
How to Make a Career Choice When You Have No Idea What You Want to Do
What is Career Planning?
Career planning is a lifelong process, which includes choosing an occupation, getting a job, growing in our job, possibly changing careers, and eventually retiring.
There are hundreds of career options out there. How do you make a career choice when you don't really know what you want to do?
Does it seem like an insurmountable task?
It's not. Yes, you will have to put some time and energy into making your decision, but your effort will be well worth it in the end.
Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path
The first stop
T he first step in choosing a career path is to learn a little more about yourself.
What do you like?
What is important to you? What are you good at? Before you can find a career that is right for you, you have to know who you are.
Gather information about yourself ( self assessment )
Figure out where your career interests are by asking yourself:
Where do my interests lie?
What do I do well and enjoy?
What kind of personality do I have?
What's really important to me?
What are my values?
Before you can make a career choice you have to learn about yourself. Your values, interests, and skills, in combination with certain personality traits, will make some careers especially suitable for you and some particularly inappropriate.
The second stop
Is an examination of your abilities
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
What kind of skills do you have?
You can begin this self-examination by looking at the courses you took in high school.
What were your best subjects? Is there a pattern there?
What kinds of extracurricular activities did you participate in while in high school?
The third stop
It involves examining what you value in work.
Examples of values include: helping society, working under pressure, group affiliation, stability, security, status, pacing, working alone or with groups, having a positive impact on others, and many others.
What's Important to You?
E veryone has values . Values are our beliefs and principles about what is really important or worthwhile, and they guide our behaviors and the choices we make throughout life. Our values are influenced by a number of things, such as upbringing, family, home life, culture and education.
The fourth stop
Is career exploration. Which allows you to explore a general list of occupations or search for a specific occupation and provides links to resources that give you lots of information about the occupation(s) you choose.
There are many schools that offer similar "what can I do with a major in…?" fact sheets or Websites. You can also learn more about various occupations, including future trends from the Department of Labor and Employment.
The fifth stop
You need to honestly evaluate your options.
Do you really value physicians and have an interest in being a doctor, but have little skills in science?
Does your occupation require an advanced degree, but your future commitments preclude graduate study?
Do you have a strong interest in the arts, but your family is convinced you will become a CPA like your father?
There are often ways to get around some of the obstacles during the reality check, but it is still important to face these obstacles and be realistic about whether you can get around them.
The sixth and final stop
Is the task of narrowing your choices and focusing on choosing a major. Based on all your research and self-assessment of the first five stops on your journey, you should now have a better idea of the careers/majors you are not interested in pursuing as well as a handful of potential careers/majors that do interest you. What are the typical majors found at a comprehensive university?
What Turns You On?
I t only makes sense that your career will provide more enjoyment and a greater sense of fulfillment if you find the work you do interesting. So it's a good idea to begin your self-exploration by finding out where your interests lie. "What turns you on" is a great start to discovering what is going to make you happy.
What are some other resources for helping you get more information about a major and/or a career?
Your professors , including your academic adviser -– talk with your professors, whether you have taken a class with them or not…many of them have worked in the field in which they teach and all are experts about careers and career opportunities.
Your classmates , especially upperclassmen -– these are the folk who are deep into their major, perhaps already having had an internship or gone through job interviews...use them as a resource to gather more information.
Your college's alumni -– unless your college was just founded, your school probably has a deep and varied group of alums, many of whom like to talk with current students…so use them as a resource to gather more information about careers.
Your family and friends -– there's a wealth of information right at your fingertips. Next time you go home or call home, ask your family about majors and careers.
Your Guidance and Counseling center -– almost always under-appreciated, these folk have such a wealth of information at their fingertips that it is a shame more students don't take advantage of them…and not just in your senior year –- start visiting in your first year because most have resources for choosing a major and a career and assessment of Self
7. Celebrate your successes! 6. Take Action! 5. Believe in yourself! 4. Create a VISION 3. What do you Want? 2. What do you have to offer? 1.Who are you?
Ten Myths About Choosing a Career By Dawn Rosenberg McKay
Do you think you know everything about choosing a career? Many people think they know the right way to go about picking an occupation, but they often wind up choosing a career that is unsatisfying. Here are ten myths of choosing a career along with resources that can help you make an informed decision.
1. Choosing a career is simple
Actually, choosing a career is an involved process and you should give it the time it deserves. Career planning is a multi-step process that involves learning enough about yourself and the occupations which you are considering in order to make an informed decision.
2. A career counselor can tell me what occupation to pick
A career counselor, or any other career development professional, can't tell you what career is best for you. He or she can provide you with guidance in choosing a career and can help facilitate your decision.
3. I can't make a living from my hobby
Says who? When choosing a career, it makes perfect sense to choose one that is related to what you enjoy doing in your spare time, if you so desire. In addition people tend to become very skilled in their hobbies, even though most of the skill is gained informally.
4. I should choose a career from a "Best Careers" list
Every year, especially during milestone years, i.e. the beginning of a new decade, there are numerous articles and books that list what "the experts" predict will be "hot jobs." It can't hurt to look at those lists to see if any of the careers on it appeal to you, but you shouldn't use the list to dictate your choice. While the predictions are often based on valid data, sometimes things change. Way too often what is hot this year won't be hot a few years from now. In addition, you need to take into account your interests, values, and skills when choosing a career. Just because the outlook for an occupation is good, it doesn't mean that occupation is right for you.
5. Making a lot of money will make me happy
While salary is important, it isn't the only factor you should look at when choosing a career. Countless surveys have shown that money doesn't necessarily lead to job satisfaction. For many people enjoying what they do at work is much more important. However, you should consider earnings, among other things, when evaluating an occupation.
6. Once I choose a career I'll be stuck in it forever
Not true. If you are unsatisfied in your career for any reason, you can always change it. You'll be in good company. Many people change careers several times over the course of their lifetimes.
7. If I change careers my skills will go to waste
Your skills are yours to keep. You can take them from one job to another. You may not use them in the exact same way, but they won't go to waste.
8. If my best friend (or sister, uncle, or neighbor) is happy in a particular field, I will be too
Everyone is different and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another, even if that other person is someone with whom you have a lot in common. If someone you know has a career that interests you, look into it, but be aware of the fact that it may not necessarily be a good fit for you.
9. All I have to do is pick an occupation... Things will fall into place after that
Choosing an career is a great start, but there's a lot more to do after that. A Career Action Plan is a road map that takes you from choosing a career to becoming employed in that occupation to reaching your long-term career goals.
10. There's very little I can do to learn about an occupation without actually working in it
While first hand experience is great, there are other ways to explore an occupation. You can read about it either in print resources or online. You can also interview those working in that field.