How to Do a Career Exploration and Why it Matters

Throughout the life of you career, you will experience highs and low; some jobs will be a great fit while others will leave you feeling frustrated and depleted. This is why it is important to do a career exploration evaluation, which  involves assessing not just the self but industries as well as work environments. If effectively done, you would know your interests, values and abilities as well as the type of environment you work best in, along with the types of jobs available that match (Greenhaus, Callanan and Godshalk, 2010, Sage Publications).

There are many benefits to uncovering these traits, which can also include: passions, aptitudes, and personality, so that you can now set good, workable goals that will lead to finding and reaching them for greater career success. Knowing your interests, abilities  and aptitudes will let you focus on finding work tasks that relate and keep you engaged in those tasks; knowing your values will lead to finding the work environment that aligns with them so you will be involved within that environment. Knowing our traits should lead to doing the research needed that will get your desired outcome – both short and long-term, as well as overall job and life satisfaction.

Here are some areas to evaluate, which should not just be done when you are looking for a job; these are great to assess often, such as every month or quarterly. Keeping your ‘finger on the pulse’ will ensure your career needs are being met or identify and correct when not:

  • values – the things you hold dear, or that you either would or would not tolerate
  • interests – what you like, dislike, what you like to do, etc.
  •  abilities and aptitudes – what types of activities are you good at or come naturally or with ease
  • personality – characteristics that include: thought, behaviors, emotions
  • beliefs – what do you ‘live by’ regarding how and when work should and should not be done; how much of a strong-hold do you live by these beliefts
  • decision-making – do you make decisions easily or are they difficult; can you make independent decisions, rash decisions, or do you need validation when doing so
  • conflict style – how do you respond when conflict occurs, i.e. stay silent, yell or in an aggressive manner, get back a someone, etc.
  • leadership abilities – do you like to lead people or projects (or not); do you enjoy being in the ‘limelight;’ can you handle a lot of responsibility; can you see the ‘big picture;’ what characteristics do you possess that are leadership material
  • skills – knowledge and experience learned either independently or on-the-job
  • communication – effective listening skills; ability to send and receive messages effectively; appropriate use of body language; ability to convey messages in multiple mediums, i.e. verbal, email, text, reports, others, etc.
  • preferred work environment – type of environment that suits identified traits
  • preferred type of lead to work for – type of personal interactions or traits desired in a leader, and how you want to be directed in the work you do
  • preferred co-worker or team – what type(s) of character traits would you like to spend your time with (like you, not like you)
  • wants/needs – what work activities and environments do you absolutely need to have, versus those desired (example – money you can live on versus wanting a high desired salary; location and proximity; benefits; work-life balance preferences)
  • tolerations – what you’re willing to overlook, accept, adapt or learn to cope/live with

This is  long list to assess but isn’t it worth it ensure you are in the right career, with your needs being met, as opposed to being in a j-o-b. As stated earlier, assessing these on a regular basis will validate what you are currently doing or to recognize and make changes.You can compare a potential job opportunity with these as well, to see how much of a match there is between your list and an organizations.  Aren’t you worth it?

If you’d like help to perform a ‘good’ career exploration or put a career plan together, contact us today for a complementary Discovery Session to learn more:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: