Step 1 - Get to know yourself and the things you’re truly passionate about.
- Gather information about your career-related interests and values.
- Think about what skills and abilities come naturally to you and which ones you want to develop.
- Consider your personality type and how you want it to play out in your role at work.
Step 2 - Get to know your field.
You’ll want to investigate the career paths available to you. One of the most convenient filters is to decide the level of education you want to attain before starting your first or your next job. Do you want to earn an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate or professional degree?
Step 3 - Prioritize your “dealmakers” and rule out your “deal-breakers.”
Educational requirements aren’t the only area you will want to consider. Do you want to work outside or in an office? In the country or a city? In a big or small organization? For public service or a private company? What type of industry is interesting to you? What role do you see yourself playing in the organization?
Step 4 - Make a preliminary career decision, and create a plan of action.
Now that you have an idea of who you are and where you might find a satisfying career, how do you start taking action toward achieving those goals? Some people talk to family, friends or instructors in their chosen disciplines. Others have mentors in their lives with whom to process this decision. Or you could talk to a career counselor. The important thing is to work out realistic steps toward reaching your career goal.
Step 5 - Go out and achieve your career goal!
Now it’s time to take concrete steps toward achieving your educational and career goals. This may be as simple as creating a preliminary educational plan for next semester or a comprehensive educational plan that maps out your associate degree. You may also want to look for internships, part -ime work or volunteer opportunities that help you test and confirm your preliminary career choice. Your community college counselor can help you with this step as well.