Have you ever really taken the time to reflect upon and discover what motivates you, what your belief system is, what your perceptions are of past experiences, and what you’re good at? If not, now would be an opportune time. You may be wondering what the rush is or how increasing your self-awareness impacts your future career and lifestyle. Decisions made in college and thereafter depend upon your level of self-knowledge and can ultimately determine your competitiveness in the job market and the degree of career success and meaningfulness one has.
The earlier you begin to really know yourself, the earlier a career plan can be developed and implemented to alleviate the last minute crunch many seniors have prior to graduation. The time will come whether you are ready or not when important career and lifestyle choices need to be made. Although it may seem like a simple, straightforward task, the difficulty begins with the ability to be objective. Along the discovery process, the likelihood is you will learn about your strengths and deficiencies. Don’t let the identification of deficiencies prevent you from progressing. As you know, we all have areas of weakness. Take the opportunity to challenge and improve those areas or to enlighten yourself so realistic, informed decisions are made. Three excellent resources to get you started in the process of learning more about yourself include FOCUS, career counseling and assessment services.
One of the best ways to stay motivated in your career is to engage yourself in activities which are of interest to you. As you begin to explore interest areas think about what classes you have enjoyed in the past, contributions related to your volunteer experiences which provided a sense of purpose and enjoyment, aspects of your hobbies which could transfer into a means of financial support, or special projects and causes you devoted an enormous amount of time to and enjoyed every minute of it. Another way to explore your interests is to think about your preferences in the way you want to work with people, data, things, and ideas. By considering a number of these areas, you will be able to better determine a career which will be the best fit.
To learn more about your interest areas complete the Interest Checklist (Word).
When making significant career or education decisions, it is important to recognize a few key characteristics about your personality so you can make choices well suited for you. Not sure about what your personality traits are? You can begin discovering your unique personality traits by considering your communication preferences, level of energy, interaction styles, level of curiosity, approach to decision making, view of the world, and much more. These factors provide a good indication of potential majors and careers to pursue.
To learn more about your personality, complete the Personality Checklist (Word).
Taking time to identify and understand what is important to you in a career will increase your chances of a satisfying future. Your values are the principles you use to determine how much something means to you. As you begin to define your values, consider the following: what your general beliefs are, what guides your decision making, what your world view is, and much more. Another important part of understanding your values is being able to create balance between your personal and career values. Sometimes your personal and career values may be in harmony, and other times, you may have to make a value adjustment.
To learn more about your personal and career values complete the Values Checklist (Word).
A skill is a talent you have acquired from your educational, work, and life experiences. The more you know about what you can do, the better you’ll be able to decide on a degree or a career path. You will need to evaluate the skills you currently possess or want to develop. Taking time to review your experiences will help you identify acquired skills you find enjoyable. This information can be used to guide you in exploring various career paths.
To learn more about your skills, complete the Skills Checklist (Word).
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- Illinois Career Information System