Figure out a career? In high school?
Well, yes! Or at least start the process so the steps you take now will support and guide your decision-making.
At Career Puppy, we know it can seem overwhelming. There are so many choices. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor identifies more than a thousand careers. A thousand!
We hear from students all the time how confusing the career exploration process can be. So, we’ve broken it down into three simple steps. And we know these steps work because we’ve helped thousands of students just like you.
THE THREE STEP PROCESS
At Career Puppy we encourage you to:
It’s not complicated. And it will help you better understand what career direction you want to go in. So let’s get started.
STEP 1: ASSESS
Sure you have things that you like to do. Gaming. Irish dance. Theater. Playing the guitar. Cooking. But how do you make those things into a career or at least the beginnings of a career direction? How do you translate what you like to do into something you can do for the rest of your life -- something that not only pays the bills but also makes you happy?
It is possible. It is completely possible to discover a career that is actually fun for you.
So the first step is to “assess” your interests. Because you are far more likely to be good at something that you like to do. And, really, who doesn’t want to be good at the career they choose? That just makes sense.
The best and easiest way to identify your interests is to take an assessment. This is similar to an aptitude test but instead it measures what you enjoy doing and not what you know. There’s an important difference between the two.
Career Puppy uses The Strong Interest Inventory. It’s part of our Career Exploration program and it’s the fastest and easiest way to identify your interests and point you in the general direction of where you’ll find career happiness.
As a way to get started, The Strong Interest Inventory will identify
your top two to three “themes”. Those themes, for example, may be Artistic and Social or Enterprising and Conventional. There are six themes all together. They describe your work personality and the kind of work environments you might find satisfying.
In addition to your top themes, The Strong Interest Inventory will also give you your Top 5 Specific Interests (of 30 possible Interests).
Here’s an example of the top 5 interests for one of our recent program participants:
- Writing and Mass Communication
- Performing arts
- Marketing and Advertising
These are only the top 5 interests for that person.
A simple assessment can be very informative. An assessment is an important step to identify a potential career path. But there’s more.
STEP 2: EXPLORE
Once you’ve identified your interests, it’s time to explore.
With the results of The Strong Interest Inventory as your roadmap you can take a look at all the careers that fall under your interest areas.
For example, under marketing and advertising:
Advertising Sales Agent
There are literally dozens of careers, and Career Puppy has descriptions and videos to help you understand those careers and the type of work they entail.
The goal in this step is for you to identify careers that you might like – and to learn more about them.
The exploration process can last for as long as you like or need. It can include note taking, video watching, conversations with people in the careers you’ve identified and job shadowing (following a person as they go about their work.)
This step is really where you’ll have the ah-ha moments and start to glimpse your future. You may confirm a career that you’d always dreamed of or learn about an exciting career that you’d never heard about. This step will give you confidence and can be very exciting.
The truth is everyone has things they love to do. This step shows you how to make a career out of doing those things.
STEP 3: PLAN
Finally, based upon the career exploration work you’ve done and the jobs you’ve identified, you can begin to plan your future.
Armed with all the information you’ve collected, you start to connect your career goals with the required education.
There are lots of options – a university or community college, a technical institute, the military – and it’s important to understand which of these choices is right for you and the career or careers you are considering.
This step may seem scary. Deciding what to do after high school is major. If it’s college that is a big undertaking and selecting a college seems so final. Joining the military is a serious commitment, too. Taking a gap year? Going to community college? Also big decisions. But as with the rest of this process if you take your time, do your research and make calm and educated choices you will be just fine. Trust us.
THERE’S PLENTY OF TIME
And know that you have plenty of time and room to make adjustments along the way. As we said in the beginning, no path is final. You can change your mind. (It’s not only okay - it’s kind of expected.) And know that following a process will make things easier, less stressful and will increase the likelihood that you’ll find what you want to do more quickly.
Facing your future doesn’t have to be confusing or stressful. Following a plan can help you stay in control as you figure out what you really love to do and explore what a future in that career might look like.
Assess. Explore. Plan. Making career choices can be freeing and exciting. You can actually point yourself toward a future filled with – can we actually say it?? – fun! When you like what you do, your “work” won’t seem like “work”. So get your future on track. Take three steps toward a future you will love.
For more information about Career Puppy Career Exploration click here.