If you are a recent or soon to be high school or college graduate, you are probably scratching your head wondering what to do next. If you are a high school graduate, you may be interested in exploring different majors so that you can decide, which college, university, or vocational school is right for you. If you are a college graduate, you may be interested in exploring the many different types of jobs that are available to you now that you have earned your degree.
the right decision about your education or job choice is the first step
toward a rewarding career. You can save yourself years of unhappiness by
taking the time to research the different types of careers that are
available to you, the economic outlook for those careers, the salary
that you can expect to earn, and the advancement potential you can
With tens of millions of jobs to choose from,
planning your career can be a long and difficult road without the proper
tools to research your career and education options. As a high school
graduate, if you make the wrong choice about your major you could spend
years earning a degree only to discover it was not the right career path
for you. As a college graduate, if you make the wrong choice about your
career you could spend years feeling trapped in a job because it was
not the right career trajectory for you.
As an experienced
career coach and resume writer, I have clients of all ages and career
levels contact me to help them navigate their job search. Unbelievably,
approximately 50% of these clients do not have a clear-cut job target,
nor do they know that there are resources to assist them in making this
very important decision. As a result, I provide my clients with the
tools and resources they need to identify their career objective before
we begin mapping out a strategy to help them get there.
graduation time creeping around again, I wanted to share a few online
resources with you to help you find the career that might suit you best.
The Big Book of Jobs published by GM Career Books and the U.S.
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics says, "The key to a
successful career search is to balance what you can do and what you want
to do versus what employers expect in specific career fields. One way
that most of us reconcile this dilemma is by first conducting an
extensive self-assessment and then researching careers that match your
personal profile". I could not have said it better myself. Below are a
few of the free self-assessment resources that are available online.
The O*NET Computerized Interest Profiler is a vocational interest
assessment instrument administered online that fosters career awareness
and provides a window to the world of work via the 800+ occupations
within O*NET Online.
2. O*NET Work Importance Locator is a
self-assessment career exploration tool that allows people to identify
occupations that they may find satisfying based on the similarity
between their work values and the characteristics of the occupations.
The O*NET Ability Profiler is a career exploration tool that helps
clients plan their work lives. Individuals can use the results to
identify areas for which they might want to receive more training and
education as well as identify occupations that fit their strengths.
you have completed a comprehensive self-assessment, you can begin
researching careers that match your personal profile. Below are a few
career exploration tools that are available online.
Jobs is a free online resource dedicated to career exploration. There
are thousands of job descriptions to help people identify what they want
to do in their career. The job descriptions are fun to read and include
salary ranges and work environment information as well as information
on education and training needed to enter a specific job field. Users
can also explore common career trajectories for a variety of job fields.
The interactive media components of the website allow users to watch
informational videos with real people sharing their personal experience
about their career choice.
2. O*NET Online is an interactive
application for career exploration and job analysis. The O*NET database
contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific
descriptors, which is available to the public at no cost, and is
continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each
Even with the multitude of career exploration tools
available, you may still find it difficult to make a career decision.
As you peruse job descriptions that match your personal profile, make a
list of the likes and dislikes of the jobs you have eliminated as well
as a list of the likes and dislikes of the jobs that are still in
For the positions that are still in contention,
make notes about what makes these types of jobs attractive to you such
as skill sets, opportunity for advancement and salary ranges. Think
about other types of careers that share these same features and refine
your research efforts to focus solely on these career fields until you
reach a decision.
If you are still undecided about your career
choice, consider setting-up informational interviews with professionals
in your fields of interest to learn more about what the jobs entail and
what you might expect should you decide on a career in one of those