Exploring Your Future Career Path

Instead of seeing a career as something that you discover, see it as something that you choose. You don’t find the right career. You create it.… There’s a big difference between these two approaches. Thinking that there’s only one “correct” choice for your career can lead to anxiety: Did I choose the right one? What if I made a mistake?  

Viewing your career as a creation helps you relax. You don’t have to worry about finding the “right” career. Choose a career today, knowing that you can choose again later. 

—David Ellis, From Master Student to Master Employee 

Today you will engage in a career self-assessment to help you dig deeper into your understanding and exploration of your chosen career field. Work through this process even though you have already declared a major and you may know what career you would like to pursue. This exercise will either validate your choice or motivate you to explore more options.  

In Week 1, you identified your personal values and interests. Now, think about how your personal values can guide your future career path and career planning research. 

Part 1 

In this activity, you will explore the university’s student career planning resources (CareerQuest, Vault, Steppingblocks, and Candid Career) and complete a career self-assessment. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the features available within each career planning resource tool. 

Career Services offers current students and alumni easy access to career-related support and resources. Whether you are a career changer entering the workforce for the first time or an experienced professional looking to climb the corporate ladder, the Career Services website provides you with professional development tools applicable for any stage of your career. 

CareerQuest is the university’s online platform that connects you to the university’s Career Services. As a student, you can use this platform to discover and apply for internship and job opportunities, browse resources and online tools available to you, register for events, including virtual and in person recruiter sessions, online webinars, and career fairs, access Community Connect for quick connections or extended connections with mentors who can offer career-related advice, set up an in-person, video, phone, or email appointment to meet with a career advisor. 

Vault is a website that provides comprehensive information on jobs, companies, and industries to help job seekers learn about and launch their target career. Each year, Vault compiles an influential list of rankings, ratings, and reviews on thousands of companies, jobs, and internships. 

Steppingblocks serves as a data-powered career exploration tool where you can take a deep dive into over 60 million personal career journeys, and unlock the skills and education needed to get hired. 

CandidCareer provides thousands of informational interview videos featuring industry professionals. Get the inside scoop on careers and advice that will help you with your job search. 

In this part of the activity, you will complete the following tasks: 

Part 2 

Now that you have completed the career self-assessment, leverage your assessment results to help identify two potential professional career paths you could be interested in pursuing, based on your current academic program and current career goals. Depending on whether you are researching your first professional career, changing careers, or are simply interested in advancing your current career, you will now be able to leverage one or more of the research tools discussed below. 

In this activity, complete the following tasks: 

Reflect on the personal motivations, values, and interests you identified in Week 1 as you consider your career options. Respond to each of the following: 

  • List the requirements and jobs skills needed to be successful. What skills do you still need? How could you get them? 
  • List the first steps that can lead to your long-term goals. What job titles might you seek upon graduation? Will you need any special certifications or qualifications at that time? If so, what are they, and how will you attain them? 
  • What did you learn from your self-assessment?

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