In order to figure out where you’d like to go, you need to know your starting point—where are you right now? This means introspectively considering who you are as an individual.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Getting to know yourself and how it relates to career decisions involves reflecting on your interests, skills, values, personality, and decision-making style. It’s okay if you can’t answer all of these questions; they are simply intended to help you start thinking about and reflecting on who you are.
- What am I doing when I feel most engaged and energized?
- What courses or subjects have I enjoyed the most? The least?
- Which jobs or career fields interested me growing up?
- If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I see myself doing?
- What am I good at?
- What do other people say I’m good at doing?
- Which subjects have I excelled in?
- What is most important to me in life?
- What defines worthwhile work to me?
- What would make work satisfying to me?
- Are you more energized by people or ideas?
- Am I a “big picture” person or a “details” person?
- How do I prefer to make decisions? With my “heart” or my “head”?
- Am I a planner or am I more spontaneous?
Career Planning Myths
Myth: I have to find my “passion” and make it my work.
Reality: You don’t need to have one particular “passion”—and even if you do, it doesn’t need to be your livelihood. You simply need to try things out and see what resonates with you.
Myth: I need to take everyone else’s opinions into consideration when making career decisions.
Reality: You’ll get lots of advice from those around you, and you must learn to distinguish between helpful, well-informed feedback and well-intentioned advice that might not be what’s best for you.
Myth: Everyone around me knows what they want to do.
Reality: Most people really don’t—and many end up changing their path anyway. Knowing your starting point and taking small action steps will help you move forward.
The following activities are designed to help you get to know yourself. Meet with a career educator to talk about what they mean for you and your career development.
Utilize Career Tools and Assessments
The options below are free self-directed assessments that you can take to help you get to know yourself and/or explore career options. These take about 10-30 minutes to complete and may require you to create an account. These are NOT designed to tell you exactly which career to pursue but instead give you a framework for thinking about yourself and the possibilities. Make an appointment with a career educator to discuss results and thoughts before and/or after completing the below assessments.
- Sokanu: Take personality assessments to become more familiar with your skills, interests and values. This tool generates career interest "matches" based on your personality and offers in-depth information on hundreds of current professions like average salaries, occupational outlooks and more!
- Life Values Inventory: Want to reflect on what’s most important to you in your life? This tool will give you insights about your life values to aid in better decision-making.
- Pymetrics: Do you like to play games? Based on neuroscience, this interactive assessment provides insight into your unique cognitive and emotional traits and details information on careers in which these traits could lead to success.
- O*Net Interest Profiler: Answer questions about your interests and results will link to extensive information on over 900 occupations.
Enroll in courses that can help you explore
CAS 104: Career Exploration for First-Year Students/Career Exploration for Sophomores—This course is designed to assist students in developing the decision-making skills necessary to successfully navigate career choice and its challenges in a complex global economy. Hands on activities help you explore, research, and plan your next steps. Check out CDCS for more information and current course offerings.
WRT 27X: Offered through the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program—the WRT 27X series is designed for students in certain majors to explore professionalism, career identity, and how to communicate these to others.
See CDCS for the full course description and offerings by term/semester.
“Having good insights about yourself, exploring options about where to engage with the world, and prototyping experiences are the ways that your life design process generates ideas, alternatives, and viable options that you can pursue (all pursued, of course, with a curious mind-set in which you're looking for latent wonderfulness with a bias to action versus overthinking).”Designing Your Life (Bill Burnett and Dave Evans)