Trying to figure out your path in life can feel very overwhelming for anyone, but especially for college students who are trying to pick majors and future career paths within the first two years of college. If you are feeling frustrated or confused by the process, a good way to gain some clarity is to make some time and effort early in your college career to review what your true interests and passions may be. The resources listed below are exercises and inventories that you can complete to help you narrow down what your key skills, strengths, personality preferences and interests are. Once you have made some conclusions about what makes you tick, then you can meet with one of our career consultants to create a career plan which outlines how you want to use these key traits and determine some next steps in your career journey.
- It’s perfectly normal if you feel stressed or confused about which career direction to follow.
- It’s okay to continually re-evaluate yourself throughout your college experience. New experiences, courses, and internships may lead you to determine that your interests or key skills have changed and/or evolved.
- You can adjust your overall career plan at any time, depending on your situation.
- There is more than just one “right major” or “right job” for you.
- Don’t let false assumptions about yourself and/or the workplace stop you from pursuing a fulfilling career.
Interests: What do you like?
Interests are activities you pursue for pure enjoyment. They can include elective courses, hobbies, extra-curricular activities, or any way you use your free time. Your interests are clues to the type of career you’d enjoy and feel excited to pursue. Remember that you will experience the greatest job satisfaction when you are doing what you like to do and working with others who share similar interests.
Tools to help you identify your interests:
Values: What's Important to You?
Values are the core principles that determine what you do, who you spend your time with, and how you think about the world. Values help you gauge what is most important in your life and work. Being able to stay true to your values is essential in keeping you motivated to pursue academic and career excellence. Knowing your values is crucial for making wise career choices. And when you choose work that reflects your priorities, you will feel more committed to what you are doing and will be more satisfied in your workplace.
Tools to help you identify your values:
Personality: Who are you and how do you relate to others?
It is important to understand your personality preferences when making career and life decisions. For instance, some people need work settings where they have lots of time for quiet concentration. Others thrive on group work and constant change. Identifying how you like to communicate, work with others and exist in the world will help you choose your preferred work environment. Knowing about your personality type will also help you determine how to best use your natural strengths to successfully completely projects, develop relationships and clearly communicate your ideas to diverse types of people.
Tools to help you identify your personality:
- Take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter - The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a free online inventory that explores your natural personality preferences and categorizes them by themes. Once you complete the online inventory feel free to meet with a Career Consultant to discuss the results and how they relate to your career plan.
- Take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a formal assessment that is provided through the career center. The report costs $15 to process and requires a meeting with a Career Consultant to determine your specific needs and explain how the assessment works. You must make an appointment through the scheduler on SpartaJobs to get access to this inventory.
- Take the Strong Interest Inventory: College Edition - The Strong Interest Inventory is a formal assessment administered by the Career Center. It can help you identify your interests as it relates to academic, leisure, and career areas to help you explore potential college majors and career paths. The report costs $15 to process and requires a meeting with a Career Consultant to determine your specific needs and explain how the assessment works. You must make an appointment through the scheduler on SpartaJobs to get access to this inventory.
Skills and Strengths: What do you do well and what do you want to develop?
When you further understand your strengths it will help to aid in your academic performance, work performance, and even in relationships with other individuals. We are blessed with natural talents which can become our strengths as we put them into practice. However, in an ever changing world we are often dealt with having to develop additional skills (which may or may not be our strengths) in order to complete projects and solve problems. By identifying what your natural strengths are you can focus on what you do well and build off of that foundation. We further our education (in and out of the classroom) to gain new knowledge and new skills to help complete the picture of our overall ability to be successful in any activity we chose to pursue.