Are you aware of the careers that fit you?

Have you “reality tested” your career choices to make sure you are on the right path?

If you answered no to either of these questions, the resources below can help you to discover the work you were designed to do.

Start with Your Design

Once you know the key pieces of your design--such as the skills you most want to use within work, the interests you are passionate about, the values that are critical to your sense of work satisfaction, the work factors that motivate you, etc.--you are then ready to explore possible options that fit your design. Learn more about this by going to Career Testing & Counseling

Find Jobs that "Fit" Your Design

Most students have "tunnel vision" when it comes to knowing about career options. They are only aware of a limited number of jobs based on the type of work their parents, friends and family members have done. Although they may have developed a somewhat wider view of the world of work through reading, traveling, talking with people, and the media, most people still have a limited view of how they might use their skills and interests in various work options.

Doing good career planning involves investing time in enlarging your vision of potential career options. (One career resource lists more than 1,000 different job titles! How many of those do you think you could name?) You can only, after all, choose from the jobs of which you are aware. Your choices are as limited-or as extensive -as your knowledge about the world of work.

"Reality Testing" Job Options to Avoid Mistakes

Another purpose in researching career options is to "reality test" possible jobs, meaning that you get sufficient "real world" information about them so you can make an accurate assessment of how well they fit you. Most people begin "reality testing" their career choices the first day on the job! Once hired, they then begin really looking at the job to see if they'll like it and if it's a good fit for them. Unfortunately, people often discover that the job is much different than they thought it would be and that it isn't a very good fit. This realization could come after four (or more) years of education or after an expensive training program preparing them to get into a particular area of work. Obviously, you want to do your "reality testing" well before you make career decisions or complete education in preparation for a particular career.

How to Identify & Explore Career Options


As described above, it is best to begin by using the results of career testing and assessment tools to narrow the career areas that you need to explore further. Thus an effective first step is to connect your assessment results with online written resources such as the O*NET Online.

The O*NET is the most comprehensive tool for exploring the world of work and jobs that can fit your talents and interests. Listing more than 900 different careers, you can find great information including skills, tasks, technologies, salaries, and employment outlook. The best way to use the O*NET is to focus on the job families that fit who you are otherwise you can be easily overwhelmed by this tool. You can do this in a couple different ways: Use your two or three letter code (such as Enterprising, Social, Artistic) from the Strong Interest Inventory (if you would like to take the Strong Interest Inventory contact us at the Center for Career and Life Calling -; Use the O*NET Interest Profiler to find jobs that relate to your interests.

As you use the O*NET, you will find that many jobs will have under “Sources of Additional Information” a link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This resource will give you additional information about jobs that are of interest including educational requirements, the job outlook, potential for advancement, related associations and where people find employment.

Cluster and Career Videos - America's Career InfoNet

If you learn better by seeing than reading, then you will want to take advantage of the many career videos offered by America's Career InfoNet. View career videos of interest using either Windows Media or RealPlayer.

Informational Interviewing

Written information from resources like the O*NET is very helpful in learning about careers, focusing on jobs of interests and in reality testing how well a career could fit you and your design. Now it is time to gather some live information by talking to people who are doing the types of jobs that are of interest to you. Informational interviewing is an invaluable method of gathering information beyond what you can find in written resources. Click here to learn how to do this successfully.


When you are fairly certain about your career direction “shadowing” someone on the job will help you learn more about a particular work environment, specifics of the job and develop a better relationship with someone who can help you in the future.  Often times someone who you have already informational interviewed would be glad to have you spend some time with them on the job, “shadowing” them as they go about their work tasks.

© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.