Trying to find direction for your career path can feel stressful. The key is to follow these easy steps. One of the first things you will want to do is figure out what interests you have right now (hobbies, interests, skills, values, talents, etc.). Then, you can conduct research into what type of job is the best fit for you.

How do you start?

  1. Take one or more career assessments. Some of the more popular sites for assessments are the Virginia Wizard or Dream It Do It Virginia. They have assessments for your skills, interests, and abilities.
  2. Research some of the careers from your assessment results. You can use books, internet resources, magazines, or visit your High School Career Coach. You will want to find out as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision. Some of the areas you may want to look up would be: nature of the work, working conditions, training, educational requirements, earning potential, and future job outlook.
  3. Talk with your support network (guidance counselors, teachers, family, and coaches). They can help you review potential careers.
  4. Explore current job openings for your desired careers in your area. You can review newspapers, internet, or visit your local Career Development Center.
  5. Volunteer. This will allow you to have hands on knowledge about your desired career. It will also help you to build your resume.
  6. Conduct informational interviews with people in the field. Many professionals will welcome you for an interview. Just remember to be prompt, come prepared with questions, pen and notepaper. After the interview, remember to write a thank you letter for their time and knowledge.
  7. Visit a College and Career Fair in your area. Each of the area high schools hold a career fair each year.
  8. Visit a local Workforce Development Center or Career Development Center. They will be able to help you with your resume and career search.
  9. Visit your local Community College. Many CC offer Career Services free of charge. They are also able to help you with many career certifications and training for today’s jobs.
  10. Arrange an internship, apprenticeship, or job shadow opportunity. Many times professionals will allow you to spend the day with them at work. This will allow you to see the day to day working conditions.
  11. Research or visit industry organizations that may be of interest for your career. This would give you direct exposure to individuals working in the field. Some examples would be Manufactures Association, United States Chamber of Commerce, and Automotive Manufactures Association.
  12. Research periodicals or journals that may be related to your career pathway. This will let you learn about cutting edge research and topics of interests. The Wall Street Journal is an excellent example. Your high school or local library is full of these types of resources.
  13. Locate one or more professional associations related to your career field. This may take some research. Two examples could be American Association of Physics Teachers or Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.
  14. Take time to process all of your collected information. Think through all of the options available.
  15. Develop your career plan pathway. Remember the pathway is just that – A Plan. Remember it is ok to refine or change your plan if it is not working.
  16. Best of Luck!