Choosing a career path is really about matching yourself to jobs that will help you build a satisfying and rewarding career! Here’s what to do in seven simple, but not easy, steps:
- Take stock of your skills. Write down what you are best at doing (whether you like doing it or not) based on your performance in comparison to other people your age and older people. If you don’t have at least 10 skills or talents on your list, ask your parents, teachers, friends or others who know you what they think you’re good at.
- Brainstorm your interests. Write down what you enjoy the most in life, what interests you, what makes you happy, what you would do any time or anywhere if given the chance.
- Think about what you value. Write down what’s important to you – what you value (friendship, creativity, fitness, fun, excitement, etc.).
- Make a list of workplaces in your area. Investigate jobs in your community, starting with ones that are easy to get to independently. Walk in larger and larger circles from your home until you can list all the businesses, organizations and places that hire people to work that you can find.
- Find out more about them. Research the places on your list: Call to find out if they have jobs available and, if so, what they are. Check those places out online – read about the services or products they offer and what jobs might be available. Ask people you know if they work at any of those places. Find out as much as you can!
- Talk to people about their jobs. Visit the places that seem most interesting to you. Meet workers in those places and ask about their jobs, if possible. On your list, note the pros and cons of the places you’ve investigated based on your skills, interests and values.
- Take a career assessment test. Explore career options by answering questions about your skills, interests, personality and values with assessments like the Self-Directed Search. Evaluate your results and discover career paths that best fit your personality and skills.
- Apply for positions or consider volunteering. Choose the top three to five places that have jobs that might suit you and apply. Try to get a paying job, but if one isn’t available or you can’t make a full-time commitment, consider volunteering. Get your foot in the door and make a commitment to do your best for a period of time (6-12 months) so that you can use the experience as you move along your career path.
O*NET OnLine is an accessible tool for career exploration and job analysis.
AFB Career Connect provides employment information for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired and for the professionals who work with them.