When deciding upon your career direction—whether you are a college student declaring a major or a seasoned professional transitioning to a different field—it is vital to take an inventory of your skills, interests, and values.
People spend considerable hours at their jobs, so it is important to find a position that meets your needs beyond the obvious need for a paycheck. Being energized by your work is a huge advantage when it comes to getting and retaining a position.
- Skills Assessment: These tests, consisting of a series of questions which can be answered in 30-45 minutes, will help you understand how your strengths and challenges relate to a variety of career options. There are many skills assessment tests available. Check out the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey, Jackson Vocational Interest Survey (for college students), and Strengths Finder 2.0, which is a combination book and online assessment. And coming soon, Career Transitions will include a skills assessment tool.
- Interests: Working in a job that uses your skills is gratifying, but if the subject matter is not of interest, the job can quickly become routine. To figure out what excites you, consider the types of work you enjoy, the leisure activities you pursue, etc. Then, make time to take the Career Transitions interest assessment, review your results, and explore some of the careers that match up.
- Values: For long-term satisfaction, consider your values before taking any position. Do so without judgment; the exercise is to understand what you need from your job, not to revamp your value system. For example, consider your views on work-life balance, the weight you place on salary, the significance of career advancement opportunities, and how important it is to you to make a contribution to society.