Work, career, profession, or occupation; whatever you choose to call it, in today’s world we have an opportunity to become our best selves through career paths that match our interests, personality and values. But how do we set out to identify that “perfect” career when we aren’t even sure what constitutes a “best fit”?
Unless you were lucky enough to grow up knowing exactly what you wanted to do, it can be hard to find and follow the right career path. That’s why career counseling specialists suggest the best place to start is by learning more about yourself and what’s important to you.
Think of these five recommended questions as a start:
What inspires you or maintains your interest? This could be a skill or interest that has fascinated you since childhood, or a passion you follow regardless of time or monetary gain.
What do you consider your ideal work environment?
How do you see yourself – a people person, a builder, a social activist, a creative artist, a mechanical expert, or something entirely unique?
Are you an indoor or outdoor person?
What are you naturally good at and what do others say you do best?
Your next step is a career assessment, a valuable tool that can open windows to new opportunities by pairing your interests, skills and strengths to a well-matched job or career path. Even if you have a good idea about what you want to do, a career assessment can narrow the choices or identify occupations you may have never thought about.
At VirtualJobShadow.com we provide access to hundreds of career paths that help individuals get excited about their professional futures and discover their true passions in the work world. https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/ten-reasons/
Our career assessment tools can ignite that excitement and guide the way.
Why Career Assessments Are Important
According to a thirty-year longitudinal study of workers between the ages of 18 and 39 conducted by the U.S. Labor Department, the average person in this age group holds about ten different jobs throughout a two-decade span. That means from students to mature adults, many appear to need help in finding a good career fit before they settle into a chosen profession.
Other experts say lifelong careers are no longer the norm, and that two to three career changes are expected over a lifetime, so why not discover what you enjoy early on and how to pursue it?
VirtualJobShadow.com offers three different types of career assessments. All are easy-to-use and designed to match interests, strengths and work values with no “right” or “wrong” answers:
Careers Clusters Interest Survey (CCIS) – matches your interests to career fields based on the activities you like most. Using fun emojis, more than a hundred questions are answered quickly and easily in a most-to-least-liked ranking. Once results are tabulated, learn how compatible you are to a particular cluster and then follow the links to explore each one through our day-in-life job shadowing videos.
O*NET Interest Profiler™ (O*NET IP) – helps you determine your interests and how they relate to the work world through six broad areas. “Like,” “Dislike,” or “Neutral” boxes let you find your strongest work-related interests. Even if you’ve had one or more careers, the results can confirm that you chose the right career or lead to surprising new categories. Example: think your strongest interests are Artistic or Social? Results may show you lean toward the Investigative or Enterprising category instead. Once you know your strongest areas of interest, follow the link to our videos within that identified category to see which careers might suit you best.
O*NET Work Importance Locator™ (O*NET WIL) – did you know you have work as well as life values? This assessment helps you zero in on what’s important to you in a job using six major categories. It’s designed like a card game in which you drop and drag the questions onto five rows ranked in importance from most to least. You can then move the cards around as needed. For instance, Working Conditions might prove the most important work value to you, or it could be Achievement, Relationships or Independence. The higher the score, the higher level of importance you place on that value. Follow the links to Career Central to find occupations that match the areas in which you scored highest.
I’ve Identified My Best Career Paths: What’s Next?
At VirtualJobShadow.com we think success starts with a plan that’s inspired by a dream, and that career exploration is a process of discovery and research. Once you commit to learning more about yourself, identifying your strengths and passions, and finding the best matches through our career assessments, make an action plan to reach your long-term goals by:
- Ranking the careers you’ve explored from most to least interesting.
- Noting what you liked and disliked about any past jobs you’ve held.
- Trying out jobs that align with your long-term goals through internships or mentoring programs.
- Making a commitment not to settle for less than what you want.
Working in a career that’s both fulfilling and rewarding can increase your self-confidence, productivity and general happiness throughout life. To get there, utilize the career assessment tools we’ve shared, and remember to begin with three simple words: Know Thyself First.
VirtualJobShadow.com provides career exploration for K-12, post-secondary institutions and workforce development programs nationwide. It is used throughout the country for career readiness and planning in school districts, colleges, career centers and workforce agencies, offering an interactive, practical approach with multiple resources for work-based learning and career planning.
SAP Success Factors, www.successfactors.com, “Why is a Career Assessment Important?”;
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov);
Weekend Roundup, “Top 10 Ways to Find Your Career Path,” by M. Pinola, 08/30/14; Oprah.com, “The Job for You,” January 2010;
Forbes.com “Three Steps to Finding Your Perfect Job, Career, and Life,” by L. Efron, 11/14/14.