How do you figure out if a career path you are intending to embark on is right for you? Knowing thyself and exploring various facets within a career field are some ways to help you begin to answer that question. Here are four ways to help you get started:
1. What are you good at and what do you enjoy?
Have you ever noticed that when you spend your time involved in things that you enjoy, the time goes by fast or you get lost in the activity? Whether it is a hobby, an activity or a topic that you enjoy learning about, think about what motivates you to spend your time involved in that activity. Why do you invest your time in this activity? Do you look forward to the activity or do you find yourself staring at the clock? As you continue to learn about yourself and your interests, take the time to reflect on what you are good at and what you enjoy and how those aspects of self align with the career path you are exploring.
2. Take a career assessment
Do you find that you have a lot of career interests or struggling to narrow down your options? If you are confused deciding which career is right for you, you can take a career assessment. A career assessment assesses your skills and strengths and offers suggestions on careers that may be a good match. Taking a career assessment may help you identify a career path that may suit your interests, skills and values. One online career assessment tool you can take is Career Explorer.
3. Gain experience in the career field
Experience working within a career path is one of the most impactful ways to learn about the career and begin to build a foundation for your career. Creating ways to gain real world experience in the actual field can help you identify if the career path is right for you. Working with professionals in the career you are interested within can allow you to experience what it feels like in the workplace. As you gain hands on experience within a career path you will learn about the work responsibilities and the environment. Reflecting on this experience and determining how it aligns with your personal interests, work style, and goals can help you identify if the career path meets your needs and professional goals. Internships and job shadow experiences are some ways you can gain experience.
4. Seek advice from professionals within the career field
Talking to working professionals within the career field you are interested in can help you gather additional insights into the career. The beauty of talking to professionals is that they have lived experience. From the conversation you can glean what a typical day or project may entail or learn about their work flow. Are their responsibilities collaborative with a team, independent or a mix of both? What works for you? By having exploratory conversations with professionals in your career path, you can discuss your aspirations, gather information and seek advice that you can then use to determine if the career path is best for you. If you are looking to have an exploratory career conversation with professionals in your career path, you may want to consider utilizing the Boston College alumni network to find professionals within your fields of interests through the new EagleExchange platform.
—By Hannah Fatemi, Assistant Director, Career Education