Planning Your Career
Career Planning Process
Take a Career Quiz
Planning Your Career in Three Easy Steps
Planning your career after college can make you anxious and maybe even afraid, but it can also be one of the most exciting and enriching times of your life. When done the right way, career planning is a process that helps you learn more about who you are and who you are becoming. This self-knowledge, combined with a better understanding of the world of work, helps you make informed decisions and take action.
The career planning process has three basic steps:
Self-assessment is when you examine your personal experiences, interests, values, skills and personality style.
2. Exploring the World of Work
When you explore the world of work, you identify market trends that affect your career planning and familiarize yourself with sources of such information. You can use this information to further clarify your career choices, as well as to gather information about specific occupations and career opportunities.
3. Decision-Making and Setting Goals
This stage of career planning involves integrating your knowledge of yourself and the world of work in order to make decisions and set goals. An important thing to remember about this process is that you have a large degree of control over its outcome. Informed people can shape their own destiny and take charge of their careers.
Although this process seems clear cut and simple, gaining an understanding of yourself and the world of work and then using that information to make successful career decisions can often be difficult and sometimes a bit overwhelming. That's why the Career Counseling Center can be a valuable resource to you. Don't hesitate to make an appointment with one of our counselors to discuss any of your career concerns.
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Career Quiz: A Look Into Your Future
Put Your Personality to Work for You!
Very often, the key to a successful career is "doing what comes naturally." Are you a born scientist, salespeson or teacher? To find out more about your "type" and learn how you can apply it to choosing the right career for you, read the following descriptions and think about which group(s) you fall into:
- Group A –
Robust, rugged, physically strong, practical, good motor coordination, mechanical, like the outdoors, like to work with machines or tools, uncomfortable in a social setting.
- Group B –
Task-oriented, get all wrapped up in their work, like to learn, investigate, analyze, solve problems, like to work independently, dislike repetitive activities, introspective and not social, don't think of themselves as leaders.
- Group C –
Creative, imaginative, impulsive, intuitive, original, dislike rules, deal with problems through self-expression in the arts (painting, writing, dancing, etc.), not assertive, sensitive and emotional.
- Group D – Social Type
Sociable, responsible, humanistic, like to work in groups, have verbal and interpersonal skills, like to cure, train, develop, or enlighten others, people-oriented.
- Group E – Enterprising Type
Strong leaders, like power, status, leadership, enjoy making things happen, like to influence or persuade others, aggressive, popular, self-confident, value money and material possessions.
- Group F –
Like clear-cut, definite situations, conscientious, efficient, practical, like to work with data, have clerical or numerical ability, orderly, calm, dependable, like carrying things out in detail or following through on others' instructions.
These basic types represent a broad overview of the six basic occupational types. Most people have characteristics and interests that fall into several categories.
For example, an investigative and artistic type has interests in scientific and artistic or creative areas and might enjoy being a medical illustrator, an inventor or a language interpreter. A person with social and enterprising interests might enjoy a career in in the areas of public relations, sales, personnel or politics. The combinations are numerous and the possibilities abound!
The Final Answer
Obviously, there's much more to knowing about your style and type when choosing a career. The short quiz above is just a peek into the process, one that offers some general suggestions. If you'd like to know more about your career type, drop by the Career Counseling Center in Room 14 of Nassau Hall (Building M) for a free booklet called Understanding Yourself and Your Career. You may also want to make an appointment to see a career counselor.
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CAREER PLANNING IN THREE EASY STEPS
Step One: Know Yourself and Engage in Self-Assessment
To know yourself in a professional sense, you need to identify your interests, strengths, work values and personality style.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I like to spend my time? What are my hobbies?
- What activities do I find fun and satisfying?
- What are my favorite subjects? In what subjects do I excel?
- What do I do well? What are my talents and skills?
- What is really important to me in a career (for example: working with people, leadership, independence, etc.)?
- In what kind of work environment would I feel most comfortable?
- What adjectives would I use to describe myself (for example: outgoing, quiet, artistic, competitive, organized, helpful, practical, curious, expressive, energetic, etc.)?
Need Help? Make an appointment to see a career counselor, take a vocational interest inventory (available at the Career Counseling office) or spend time working on Focus2, a career planning software program available at the Center in Nassau Hall (Building M), Room 14 and online. To access Focus2 online, just go back to the Career Counseling Center web site's main menu and select Focus2. You may also want to consider taking SPS 102, a three credit elective course in career exploration.
Step Two: Explore the World of Work & Research Careers and Majors that Interest You
Take coursework that interests you or that's related to a career field you'd like to explore.
Visit the Career Center for more information and read up on those fields.
There's lots of helpful resources at the Center, including:
- The Occupational Outlook Handbook
- The Guide to Occupational Exploration
- ONet Dictionary of Occupational Titles
- College Majors and Careers
- Focus2, an interactive career planning software program
- Other career-specific books about a variety of fields
- Career-related videos
- Career videos (here's a complete list of available resources)
When reading and researching, look for the following information:
- What are the tasks, duties and responsibilities related to the work?
- What are the working conditions and work environment like?
- What kinds of employers hire people in this field?
- What kind of coursework, training skills, licenses or certifications are required are required to do this work?
- What are the typical starting salaries? Are there opportunities for advancement?
- What is the job outlook?
- What other careers are related to this work?
Can't get to our office?
The Career Center web pages contain links to a variety of websites that can help you gather information about many career fields.
Other career-related information is available at the NCC library, as well as at your local library. Talk to a reference librarian who can help you locate trade journals, magazines and professional associations about your fields of interest.
Step Three: Take Action
- Schedule an appointment with a career counselor at the NCC Career Center in Room 14 of Nassau Hall (Building M) to discuss your options and develop a plan.
- Use course electives to explore different careers and test your skills.
- Get involved in campus activities and organizations related to your interests that will help you develop skills appropriate to your field of interest.
- Seek part-time work, internships or volunteer experiences that will provide you with an opportunity to learn about a profession in which you're interested and develop skills necessary for that field.
- Develop your communication, self-management and technology skills. Employers look to hire people who can think, express themselves well orally and in writing and get along well with others. Basic computer skills are a must. Employers want employees who are dependable, reliable and organized. Potential employees must also manage their time well. Work on developing a professional image, which exudes confidence and a positive attitude. Take courses, attend workshops and get involved in activities that will help you to develop these skills.
- Build your network: interview faculty, family, community members and professionals in fields that interest you.
Visit the NCC Career Center to obtain contacts through our Career Resource Network.
Stop by the Career Counseling Office (Nassau Hall, Building M, Room 14) to pick up a brochure, learn about how the network works and find out about what to consider when doing an information interview.
Attend career related workshops, programs and special events. Check out the Career Counseling Center brochure and these pages for upcoming events.
Be patient: Choosing a career doesn't happen magically. It's a process that occurs over time. As you learn more about yourself and the world of work, it will become easier for you to identify possible career options that are meaningful and satisfying to you.
With information, the right skills, and a bit of good luck, you can begin your career journey!
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