Final steps to setting your career goals.

Try Job Shadowing to Get an Insider Perspective

If a field still holds your interest after reading about it and speaking with professionals in that sector, try to schedule a job shadow to observe the work and sample the work environment.

Consider an Internship or Volunteering

If you are in a position to try out a field that is still of interest at this point, consider doing an internship or some related volunteer work.

Start the Decision Making Process

You should be prepared to make an informed decision at this point. List the pros and cons for each remaining option on a separate sheet of paper and weigh the choices. If you are still unsure, seek the assistance of a guidance counselor at your high school, a career counselor at your college, or a professional career counselor.

Read the other articles in the Career Goals Series

Do your research

Research Your Top Career Choices

Once you have a tentative idea of some careers worth investigating, then you will need to research them in detail to further assess their suitability. Begin by reading about each of the fields on your brainstorm list. Look for information on our online career information resources.

Try Googling each field like this: “Career Information Sales Accountant.” You will find that professional groups provide excellent sources of career information. Review the requirements for entering the field and make sure that you are prepared to complete any training, certificate programs or educational degrees which are required.

For your remaining options, the next step should be to conduct informational interviews with professionals in those fields. Reach out to college alumni, contacts in your personal and social networks, as well as local professionals to schedule in-person or telephone consultations. Here’s how to get started with career networking.

Keep notes regarding what you have learned during your research and match it up against the list of interests, skills, and values which you generated during your self-assessment phase. Make a list of options which are still worth considering.

As always consider having a conversation with the recruiter’s at CareerPaths NW, we are always available to chat with you about your career options.

Brainstorm

Brainstorm Career Options

The next step after self-assessment is brainstorming some options for consideration. Scanning resources that list a variety of career possibilities like the Occupational Outlook Handbook is one way to come up with a list of options worth investigating.

There are many free online personality and career quizzes you can take to get ideas on what career would be a good fit for someone with your interests and qualifications.

You can also review our page on Glassdoor that lists a variety of job titles in order to build a hit list of career possibilities. Once you have some general sectors in mind, you can review top jobs in those categories, or you can search online by keywords like “careers in health care,” for example, or whatever field you are interested in. Try to identify ten careers about which you are sufficiently curious to spend some time conducting further research.

Self-Assessment

Start With Self-Assessment

Taking stock of your interests, career values, skills, and personality traits can help you formulate your own criteria for a desirable career.

  • Consider a Coach. Meeting with a career advisor or counselor at your school, college, or in your community can help you reflect on your background and identify the cornerstones for your future career. You can always call us at Career Paths NW and we can help with coaching and mentoring.
  • Create a Career Profile. If you would rather proceed on your own, start by reviewing your academic and work history. Which courses, projects, jobs, internships, and volunteer roles were most satisfying and successful for you? Make a list of the activities that were most energizing, and where you had the greatest impact. Check our other resources for blog article and tips to help you build your profile.
  • Which are Your Top Skills? Ask yourself which skills enabled you to achieve that success. Then, consider which interests or values made the work meaningful or stimulating. Make a list of the strong skills that you also enjoyed using. Itemize any of your personality characteristics that made the activities feel natural for you.

Creating a comprehensive assessment like this is a solid foundation that you can use to hone in on what type of career fits your personal interests and professional strengths.

Read the rest of the Career Goals Articles

Have you set goals for your career?

Choosing your career is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, one with far-reaching implications for your happiness, health, and financial status. It can be easier to do when you set career goals and put a plan in place to grow your career.

Many people aren’t sure how to take charge of this process, letting chance factors such as a convenient job offer from a friend determine the focus of their career. As a result, the majority of workers are less than satisfied with their employment. Surveys indicate that as many as two-thirds of all employees are unhappy in their jobs.

Although there are no guarantees, taking a deliberate approach to the career planning process can expose you to more options and increase the probability that you will find sustainable, and enjoyable, employment.

At Career Paths NW we specialize in not just finding you a job but setting you up with a career that will set you up on a proven path to success. The process for setting career goals in a thoughtful manner can be broken down into the following steps.

  1. Begin with a Self Assessment
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Research
  4. Final Steps

List of free career aptitude tests

Free Career Aptitude Tests

The following tests are available for free online and can be a good start to identifying your next career.

123 Career TestThis popular aptitude test can help you gain insight into the careers that best fit your personality. It will help you learn what kind of work environments and occupations suit you best.

CareerOneStop Interest Assessment: Answer 30 quick questions online to get a list of careers that might be a good fit for your interests.

CareerOneStop Work Values Matcher: Answer questions about different aspects of a job or workplace to help you find your ideal work environment.

Color Career QuizDid you know color can be an indicator of what jobs are right for you? Color Career Quiz is a two-part quick and easy five-minute test that analyzes your personality based on the colors you select.

Test ColorSimilar to Color Career Quiz above, a team of psychologists and human resources experts lead you through a two-part color selection process to determine your personality and aptitude. While the initial results are free, you can pay extra for a more in-depth analysis.

Keirsey Temperament SorterThis test helps you to understand your personality type and discover what type of temperament you have.

Human MetricsUsing both Jung’s Typology and Myers-Briggs insights , Human Metrics takes you through 64 questions to rate you on both scales. The results explain to you how each piece relates to your personality type.

O*NET Interests ProfilerMy Next Move’s O*NET Interest Profiler is administered by the United States Department of Labor. Users take a 60-question interest inventory that yields a profile of interest tendencies, including six areas: Realistic, Investigative, Social, Enterprising, Conventional, and Artistic.

PathSourceThis free career exploration solution helps students and job seekers make better career choices with its free mobile app.

16 PersonalitiesUsing the Myers-Briggs Model (hence the name), 16 Personalities is a site designed to help you understand yourself, contribute valuable data to researchers, and take tangible steps in your personal and professional relationships. While the test is completely free, most of the tools require that you join for a fee.

Red Bull Wingfinder: Take a free 35-minute online personality assessment to identify and leverage your strengths in four different areas of your personality, including connections, creativity, thinking, and drive.

Skills MatcherThe Department of Labor has developed this resource to enable users to assess the skills they want to incorporate into their careers.

Truity: Truity offers a variety of tests you can use to explore your personality career interests. There’s a free short report on the results, and there’s a fee to unlock the full report if you want more information.

CareerExplorerCareerExplorer is a free platform for users to assess their interests, personality types, abilities, career values, and preferred work and social environments in order to find matches that will lead to satisfying careers.

Is your career stuck?

Research the occupations that appeal to you most.

Use online and educational resources to learn more about each profession. Although a quick Google search will most likely give you some basic information, it can be helpful to visit professional organizations’ websites for further insights. In addition, you could find out who the thought leaders are in each field and look for articles, interviews and videos featuring them. Finally, narrow your list down to one occupation you want to pursue.

Determine if you need to retrain. Depending on your transferable skills and experience, you may have to get additional education. If so, work out a plan that will allow you to do so while you’re still working your current job.

Research industries and companies you’re interested in. No matter how much you like a job description, it’s important to be aware that the industry you’re in and the company you work at play a large role in your happiness. Spend some time finding out about various relevant industries, as well as which companies have the kind of projects and ethos you’re looking for.

And Lastly….

Work with a recruiter. A recruiter can help you find jobs that are a good match for your skills and preferences while still taking your experience into account. Moreover, recruiters hear about jobs before they’re posted on job boards and can help get your résumé on the right desks.

Are you aware of opportunities around you?

Look For Active Growing Companies

Keep an eye out for companies in your community that is announcing expansion or increased profitability, like opening a new branch or office, or their profits last year went up dramatically.

These companies are always looking for more good people. Every business owner knows the key to growth is to hire good people. The more good people you can hire, the faster you can grow and the more profits you can make.

Growing companies offer lots of opportunities and will pay well for the right skills, especially if you’re the one who has them.

Find New Product Releases

Whenever a company is expanding its products or services there will be job opportunities to sell, distribute, service, and install the product. Additionally, there will be jobs handling administration and details associated with the product.

My suggestion is to create a “watch list” of popular companies in your area or companies you are personally a fan of their products. If you frequently check these companies LinkedIn, career pages, and set up job alerts on third party sites, you will likely find out about the positions before others on the market.

Then, when it comes time for hiring, you will be one step ahead of the competition.

Looking for a new job

Do Your Homework

When you are looking for the job you want, you engage in the same activities a sales professional would.

Three activities essential to sales success are prospecting, presenting, and following up.

Your job when looking for a job is to prospect thoroughly and develop the greatest number of leads or potential jobs that you possibly can.

Do your homework and find out everything that you possibly can about the individual, the organization, and the industry before you reach out to anyone for the first time.

Conduct An Internet Job Search

Finding a job on the internet is a skill you will learn through practice. Start by visiting the most popular sites, like Linkedin and Indeed, where job postings are most commonly advertised.

Search various versions of job titles you are interested in. Job titles for the same type of position, vary from company to company, so you will want to do your research and apply to the appropriate title.

Gather Information From Multiple Job Sites

Some internet job sites specialize in one kind of employment. It is also important to pay attention if the site is local or national.

If you are looking to buy a house, you don’t buy the first one you see without looking at other properties. Finding a job is very similar. Do industry research on average salaries and take not of the various job responsibilities that may be asked of you at different companies.

Remember the same job title at two different companies could yield different responsibilities. The more information you preliminarily gather will only benefit you in the long run.

Soft Skills are not just Resume Fluff…

 Unlike technical hard skills, soft skills can translate across multiple industries. This is great news for someone looking to make a career transition or looking to fit into a new company/group. Here are some skills that you can leverage both when you are looking for a job and also when you need to excel in your new position.
  • Communication: Whether written, verbal, or non-verbal, good communication is key at any job.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills allow an employee to relate to, communicate with, and work alongside others.
  • Adaptability:  The ability to go with the flow, roll with the punches, and embrace change as it comes.
  • Problem-Solving: A set of skills that can be used in difficult, unexpected, or complicated matters that arise in the workplace.
  • Leadership: Ability to guide others while reaching for the goals and mission of your organization on the whole.
  • Organization: Organizational skills are important to offset any potential problems, to make sure you can adhere to project deadlines, and to keep clear communication open.
  • Time Management: Time management is your ability to work smart.
  • Creativity: Real creativity comes in handy at any workplace—whether in problem-solving, forging new directions, or developing new solutions to old problems.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is as simple as how you treat a server at a restaurant and as complex as how you navigate working with a particularly difficult coworker.
  • Work Ethic:  Without a good work ethic, your soft skills don’t serve anything without having a solid work ethic.