Mapping Out the Road to Discovery

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Original Post written by Carla Stewart, Academic and Career Advisor

Oftentimes when reaching milestones, such as the beginning of a new year, people are taken to reflecting on their lives: tallying their successes, their regrets and their aspirations. If such thoughts have lead you to question making a career change, the what, where, when and how of such a move can be daunting. As with any journey, the road to a new and fulfilling career requires a map; one that will assist you in assessing who you are, what it is you would like to do, and how you plan to arrive at your destination.

Who Are You?

Self-awareness is a key step in evaluating whether your dreams and life plans are in your best interests. Assessment tools such as Focus, Holland Code, Strong Interest Inventory, and Myers-Briggs-Type Indicator, may offer insight into your interests, skills, values and personality traits; information that can be helpful in determining a career trajectory.

Go Exploring

With a diverse society comes a diverse range of occupations: take some time to explore the myriad of career possibilities! Career guides such as O*Net (Occupational Information Network) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook not only provide descriptions of hundreds of occupations, but also detail the required education, salary ranges and employment outlook within each field. If you would prefer a more immersive experience, seek out opportunities to explore within a workplace: informational interviews, volunteer work, job shadowing and internships offer great opportunities to get a glimpse into a particular occupation.

Set a Goal

Once you have a clear idea about who you are and what career is best suited to your needs, you are ready to begin planning your trajectory. Set goals for yourself that are both precise and realistic; with long-term or wide-ranging goals broken down into smaller tasks. As you work toward attaining your end goal, assign measures that will help chart your progress and keep you motivated. With your priorities in check, and a positive attitude, you are on the road toward your ideal career.