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Choosing a Career

Choosing a career that is right for you is a decision that takes time and effort. Career exploration is not the same as a job search. Career exploration requires self-assessment, researching career options, and developing a plan to reach your unique career goals.

Here are ways to get started:

Step 1 - Self-Assessment:

The more you know about yourself, the easier the career decision making process will become. Consider the following when you explore your options and make final career decisions.

Interests, skills, and values?

  • What do you value: income, freedom, creativity, life/work balance, power, prestige?
  • What academic, career, and other interests and skills do you have?

Consider your likes and dislikes. (Don't like writing? Then journalism may not be the career for you.) Knowing what you don't like can help narrow the range of options.

What classes do you enjoy the most, and why? Subjects you enjoy provide a great start for career exploration.

What do you enjoy doing outside of class? What type of activities, volunteer work, or other pursuits put you in the "zone" so you lose track of time?

What is your dream job, and why?

Step 2 - Research and Explore:

Gather information on different careers and begin to narrow your choices.

Connecting Majors to Careers - Select a major, receive information on related occupations, employers, and skill development strategies.

Visit ACA's Career Resource Center located in the Elliot Center. Be sure to browse the free Connecting Majors to Careers handouts.

Search the web, including the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*Net. Gather information on the nature of the work, training/education required, future job outlook, salaries and related occupations.

Conduct informational interviews with people in career fields that interest you.

Observe a professional on the job through job shadowing.

Get an internship or volunteer with an organization.

Attend Career Connection Events, Career Fairs, and Career Panels sponsored by Academic and Career Advising and outside organizations.

Step 3 - Analyze and Decide:

Compare the information gathered on different careers with what you learned about yourself through self-assessment.

Create a list of the pros and cons of each career you are considering. Analyze how each career fits with your interests, skills, and values.

Meet with an ACA Career Advisor who can guide you through the decision-making process.

Create a career plan to ensure you meet your career goals:

  • Choose courses/major related to career choice
  • Create a list of skills required to be successful in a career and how you will acquire these skills
  • Get involved in clubs, activities and organizations related to your career choice or those which will help you developed skills wanted by employers
  • Take part in internships, volunteer work, employment, undergraduate research, and other activities that help you gain experience, develop technical and transferrable skills, and build a professional network

Contact Academic and Career Advising

Academic and Career Advising Office
Elliot Center
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435