Assessing Yourself and Exploring Career and Educational Options
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The first stage in developing your career plan is to assess yourself: your interests, skills, abilities, strengths, personality and values. The following are suggestions to help you with the self-assessment process.
1. Make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your interests, plans and/or concerns.
2. Take career assessments in Career and Internship Services.
3. Take free assessments on the Career and Internship Services website.
4. Identify your skills. There are three types of skills: transferable, self-management and special knowledge. Transferable skills are skills you may use in many occupations, regardless of the type of work and thus can transfer from one type of work to another. Self-management skills refer to those behaviors you develop to cope with the people and conditions in your environment. Special knowledge skills are those skills you develop to master a specific body of knowledge related to a particular activity.
The Transferable Skills activity can be used to help you identify some of your transferable and self-management skills.
To identify additional skills, make a list of the following: your work and volunteer experiences, activities you enjoy and your educational experiences. Once you have identified the activities, list the skills you used for each and identify the ones you most enjoyed using.
5. Identify your academic strengths and list courses in which you have done well. In what tasks do you believe you are competent or do very well (e.g., writing papers, taking essay tests, summarizing written materials, working with numerical figures, participating in or leading group discussions)?
6. Read the following list of career values. Rank order the list from 1-16. Use "1" as the most important.
___ Job security
___ Intellectual tasks or problem solving
___ Receiving sufficient training and supervision
___ Working with your hands
___ High salary
___ High sense of achievement
___ Working with people
___ Routine activity
___ Working in a friendly environment
___ Physical activity
7. Enroll in a UMD career planning course: CnEd 2535 "Major and Career Exploration" or CnEd 3535 "Strategic Career Planning."
Exploring Career and Educational Options
Once you have completed your self-assessment, your next step is to explore occupations. You can then make decisions about which careers best fit your interests, values, skills, strengths and abilities. The following suggestions may assist you in your career exploration:
- Consult with a career counselor.
- Research careers related to your interests.
- Conduct informational interviews or career shadow professionals working in your field(s) of interest.
- Perform volunteer work in your field(s) of interest.
- Attend job fairs.
- Try out a career by obtaining a part-time and/or summer job consistent with your interests.