After Earning the Degree, What Are My Career Options?
It is natural and common for graduate students to question their next steps after graduation, whether that day is years to come or around the corner. Perhaps you began graduate school with a career plan but have since changed your mind. Or you may have realized after some time that your original employment goal is not ideal or realistic. Or perhaps you pursued further education more for the intellectual pursuit of a particular subject and figured it would all eventually fall into place. Regardless of the path leading to career befuddlement, students and alumni are often left wondering, “What career path should I pursue now? What are my options? And how do I figure it all out?”
Explore Career Options through Self-Assessment
One step to take when experiencing this career confusion is to engage in a process typically referred to as “career self-assessment”. Career self-assessment is essentially getting to know yourself better within the context of the working world. How do you like to operate at work? What is most important to you? What skills do you enjoy using? What interests do you have? Taking into account all of these questions and answers will help you determine career options that are more likely to lead to satisfaction in the workplace. Is it a guarantee? No, but it is a more informed, deliberate path compared to randomly choosing a career.
Experts note that in this self-assessment process it is beneficial to evaluate four main aspects: your career values, skills, interests, and personality traits. It is important to consider all of this information as a whole; when you do so, you will have a more complete picture of your career options. This is similar to looking at arguments from different angles and taking into consideration all viewpoints before coming to your own conclusion. You want to do the same with self-assessment, looking at all career development angles before narrowing down your career choices. Focusing on just one viewpoint or one career aspect may lead to ill-informed decisions.
So how do you go about this self-assessment process? Today there are several career assessment tools and exercises that have been developed and researched for the purposes of identifying career options. The Office of Career Planning & Professional Development is pleased to announce that we now offer tools measuring all four career development aspects mentioned above: the SkillScan (focuses on skills), the Strong Interest Inventory assessment (measures interests), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment (looks at personality traits), and informal exercises pertaining to career values.
If you feel you would benefit from this self-assessment process to ultimately answer the question of “What are possible career options for me?”, please contact our office to schedule an initial appointment. While these tools will not give you “the answer,” they will provide a framework for career planning and decision making. You can read more about our new career assessment tools on our website.