Getting focused

Jessica Calleja,

It’s not uncommon for students and even graduates to be unsure of the career path to follow. Whether you are dissatisfied with the classes you are taking, bored with the course subject matter or just don’t get exited about a possible future in your field, there are ways to figure out whether you are on the right career track. All it takes is a little organization and an honest look at your interests and abilities.Evaluate Strengths and WeaknessesThe first step in finding the right career path is determining what you are good at and in what areas your natural abilities shine. A good place to start is with volunteer or part-time positions you’ve worked at throughout the years. Whether working as a sales associate in a retail store, a waitress in a restaurant or spent a summer job answering phones, identify what you liked most and least about each of these experiences. Also recognize which skills came to you naturally and which you had trouble grasping. Did you enjoy talking to people or prefer working behind the scenes? Did you gravitate towards the creativity of window dressing or did you lean towards crunching numbers? Did you thrive during hectic rushes or long for calm periods allowing for more time with your work? Were you always the one asked to train new employees or did you stick to yourself? Asking these types of questions helps to determine where your natural talents lie. It also helps to ask past and present coworkers, classmates and even family members to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Identify Interests and PassionsTo do this you should be observant of your daily routine. Do you know anyone who is working in a career that excites you? What kind of work and environments get your imagination running in overdrive? Try to remember what you liked to do as a child.You need to identify which topics, issues, environments or actions stir up strong feelings and keep you engaged. Try to expose yourself to as many experiences as possible to help identify what stirs your passions, whether it is music, fashion, business, writing or a combination of elements. Just as important as learning what you like is discovering what you don’t like. Knowing where you don’t want to be is just as helpful in narrowing the search for the career best suited to you. The key is trying to learn about what will keep you naturally engaged in the long-term. After your interests have been identified, search for a career that combines your strengths with your passions. Plan Your CareerAfter you have an idea of what you would like to do, start learning more about it. Volunteering with companies, talking to career counselors and taking self-assessment tests are all ways to help learn about yourself and what career paths you would like to explore. Make an appointment with a career counselor and bring in all of the information you have gathered about yourself. The counselor should be able to help identify possible career paths based on your experience, strengths, passions and natural abilities. Also assess the market in your particular career of choice. Just because there is demand in a particular industry now doesn’t mean it will still be there in four years when you graduate. For each industry you find yourself interested in there will likely be many routes to take and jobs to choose from. Once you have established career goals it is important to map out a strategy to serve as your game plan. Presented by – America’s Student Job Site.The Villanovan is a jobpostings Media Partner.