Your Career Path: How to Explore New Opportunities

Whether you're a recent college grad or an experienced professional, ask yourself these questions to help determine a career path that aligns with your goals.

Mapping a career path is a great way to lay out the bigger picture of a career, enabling you to focus on the general direction of where you’d like to take it. Your career path is not a one-way street, with no turnoffs, else you will miss the little surprises and opportunities that lead to a happy and fulfilled career. If you are a new entrant to the workforce, how can you discover careers and explore possible career paths? The best way to do that is to take a career assessment test to understand where you have the most potential in succeeding.
 
But, when you think of career path explorations, what does it personally mean to you?
 
According to the University of California, Berkeley, career exploration is the process of:
 
And one should add implementing the strategy to the list because a strategy is no good if not acted on. It is worth noting that no career assessment is capable of identifying a career that is right for you, or one for you to follow. Assessments are useful in helping you to gather information about you, then relating it to career types. 
 
Learn about yourself and the world of work: Knowing about and understanding yourself is the foundation of career decision-making. Career assessment tests allow you to identify your strengths, interests, natural talents, skills, personal values, what’s important to you about your work, as well as your personal traits and characteristics. It’s also worth your time defining what success means and looks like to you, having a clear understanding of the lifestyle that you’d like to lead.
 
Identify and explore potentially satisfying occupations: After you have taken a career assessment test, and know more about yourself, and the things that are important to you in work and life, it’s time to use the information to learn about career types, fields, and roles within your areas of excellence, educational requirements, and future outlook, to understand the careers that fit your interests and goals. A good place to start is the Occupational Outlook Handbook and industry specific career books. It’s also important to talk to people in those careers to get an idea of what to expect. Take what you discover to evaluate career options that are practical for you.
 
Develop an effective strategy to realize your goals: Use all the information you gathered, and insights you have, to develop a strategy to achieve your career goals. Remember that there is no one perfect career for you, there are many careers that have the potential to meet your career goals, and that’s why career path explorations are so important, and to be done early on in your career.  In your strategy, be flexible, allowing yourself the ability to test drive different career paths.
 
After you have developed your career strategy, start to implement it, and see where your career path explorations take you.
 
Related Articles:
Creating a Personal Strategic Plan for Personal and Professional Success
7 Strategies to Managing Your Career
How to Choose a Career Path

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