Career Exploration: Online Tools to Guide You on Your Journey

The internet is filled with a variety of information for anyone looking to research a prospective career: wages, education requirements, statistics and job trends, and so much more. However, what is equally vital, and what students often omit throughout the course of their career exploration journey, is investigating their own interests and allowing them to be a part of the job search.

Many students are often afraid to consider a career that correlates with their interests, fearing implications such as not earning enough money or having to endure a lack of support from family and friends. 

  • The My Next Move Career Interest Profiler is an excellent resource for students looking to expand their career knowledge. It is an online career exploration tool that guides students through 60 career-related questions regarding various activities across numerous disciplines. Students are asked to rate each task on a scale ranging from Strongly Dislike, Dislike, and Unsure to Like and Strongly Like. Students are also advised to not think about if they have enough education or training to do the work or how much money they would make, and to simply think about whether or not they would actually enjoy the work itself. 

Students gauge their response based on what they would find rewarding, enjoyable, or intriguing. The Interest Profiler tool acts as a catalyst into this eye-opening experience. The questionnaire is composed of duties such as “Teach an individual an exercise routine”, “Help people with personal or emotional problems”, “Buy and sell stocks and bonds” and “Develop a spreadsheet using computer software”. After completing the questionnaire, students are given their “Interest Profiler Results” which classifies their interests into six distinct categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

Students are then encouraged to complete the My next move career matrix, which involves filling out a chart based on one’s ideal career, and researching salary, required knowledge, skills, or abilities, and required education or training. Students can then compare these answers to their results from the Interest Profiler tool.

This activity can be extremely illuminating, as it allows students to register the possibility of having a career that corresponds with their interests and is simultaneously financially inducing and rewarding. 

Ultimately, the career exploration process is dependent on discovering a balance between one’s professional and personal aspirations. Start with these steps:

  1. Self-Assessment: Develop a thorough understanding of your personal interests, skills, and aptitudes, and discover tools, tests, and resources that can help you understand how these interests, skills, aptitudes connect with your preference and personality. How do they influence your potential for success and satisfaction in various careers and occupations? 
  2. Identify Careers: Once you have taken the necessary steps to determine your own personal career goals, it is time to develop a list of potentially satisfying careers based on the self-assessment. Make an extensive list of all the occupations that fit your skills, interests, aptitudes, personality, preferences, as well as your personal and professional goals. Thoroughly investigate each career, reviewing education requirements, job duties, earnings, and employment outlook. Now narrow your list down to just a few options for further consideration. Students can take several steps in order to ensure maximum preparation, including job shadowing, temping, participating in career fairs and informational interviewing, and professional networking.
  • Develop A Strategy: Now it is time to devise a feasible, time-oriented and realistic approach to attaining your professional and occupational goals –  and finding a job. This strategy will include obtaining any training required to qualify for your desired position, networking with professionals, resume development, developing a personal brand, and finally engaging potential employers.

Remember, finding an ideal career can take years and does not occur immediately, but real career success is most often achieved through successful planning.

Find more information at College Forward 

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

By Kasia Paszek

By Alex Manna
Alex Manna Program Assistant | Pronouns: they/them/theirs