During childhood, kids often dream about what they want to be when they grow up. But how do you make those dreams a reality? How do adolescents use personal interests and passions to help identify potential careers for the future?
With a wide range of opportunities available on the Internet, adolescents nowadays can use personal assessment tools as guiding points for potential careers. Taking a self-assessment is the first step in the career planning process. A self-assessment is the process of learning more about oneself.
According to a Web site developed by the North Carolina Career Resource Network, a good self-assessment should include identifying skills, abilities, and personal values. A self-assessment should make students consider questions such as, “What activities do I find fun, motivating, interesting and enjoyable?” and “What purpose or goal do I want to accomplish in my life?”
It is never too early to begin planning for the future. The Indiana Youth Institute has developed a Web site geared mainly towards middle school students called the “Drive of Your Life” (see at http://www.driveofyourlife.org). After filling out a brief first-time user survey, students can browse the site and answer questions relating to school activities and potential career choices. Through this interactive site, which is built around an automobile-driving theme, students customize their ride, plan their trip, and jump in to drive toward future careers.
A similar self-assessment aimed at high school students can be found through Rogue Community College in Oregon. There (see at http://www.roguecc.edu/Counseling/HollandCodes/test.asp), a “Holland Codes”-based self-assessment can be completed for no cost to users. First introduced by psychologist John L. Holland (and later adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor for categorizing jobs according to interests), the Holland Codes classify people by work categories such as realistic, social, and conventional. By combining work categories with interests, the Holland Codes assessment can be used to define potential career matches. At the site, students complete a Holland Codes quiz and receive instant feedback concerning potential career paths.
For students looking for a complete and detailed self-assessment, many colleges and career centers utilize the Keirsey Temperament Assessment. “The assessment aids students in identifying specific work preferences,” said Angela Meiers, coordinating assistant for the Office of Career Development at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Point Park University. The Keirsey Assessment also provides information on an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and best possible career paths.
In its full form, the test is administered by a certified Keirsey instructor. However, a modified version is available on the Keirsey Web site (access at http://www.keirsey.com/sorter/instruments2.aspx?partid=0). After completing a personality survey, Keirsey identifies one of four personality types and provides a detailed description of personal strengths that can be transferred into discovering a career.
Once students have a general idea of potential career interests, Meiers advises setting up a job shadow day, if possible, to explore the “real world.” Asking a teacher or parent if he/she knows anyone in a particular career is also an excellent way to investigate the perfect career fit.
Choosing a future career is not an easy decision. Making childhood dreams a reality takes a significant amount of time and dedication. Online self-assessment is just one of many influential factors to identify and pursue the perfect career.
As a final piece of advice, Meiers often reminds students to choose a career based on personal interests and passions to ensure personal happiness within a particular job. “Working in this type of environment will make the job fulfilling and keep the individual motivated to continue to do what they love,” Meiers said.