Before you invest time and money on an educational path, you need to perform a career exploration. The career research process can help you assess your strengths, weaknesses, preferences and dislikes, and choose a career path that aligns with your evaluation. In addition, career exploration gives you an opportunity to assess the requirements, perks and disadvantages of various occupations.
Performing a self-examination can help you to determine your preferences, values and skills. Self-assessment tools, such as StrengthsFinder Assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory, ask a series of questions to help you identify your most dominant talents and abilities. For example, after taking a few of the tests, you may discover that you have a constant need for achievement, or that you’re an introvert who likes to spend time alone exercising your brain muscles. You can make effective choices regarding your career path when you're equipped with these insights about yourself.
Career exploration can also help you discover occupations that closely match your strengths and interests. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most college websites and your local public library include the characteristics and traits needed for a particular profession. For example, some occupations may rely heavily on math and science skills, while other professions may require employees to carry heavy equipment or stand on their feet for long periods of time. Knowing this information can help you decide how closely a particular career matches your abilities and piques your interest.
Salaries and Growth
Career research is also useful for evaluating the growth potential and salaries of your possible career choices. Between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 14.3 percent growth rate for most jobs. However, some careers will grow at double or even triple this rate, while other occupations will remain stagnant. In addition, some jobs pay lucrative salaries while others pay meager wages. Exploring salaries and growth potential can help you identify job trends, determine which careers offer the best pay and which jobs will be in high-demand in the future.
Career research is also important to determine the educational requirements of a job, so you will know which classes you need to take, and you can decide if you are willing and able to commit the mandatory amount of time and money needed to pursue a particular career path. Educational requirement can range from a high school diploma to over eight years of university schooling. In addition, some jobs may have a specific educational requirement -- such as a bachelor’s degree, but the preference of most employers is an advanced degree. Knowing this information can help you decide how much of an educational commitment you’re prepared to make for a particular job.
Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.