Career Decisions: What do you want to be when you grow up?

It’s that time of year when many people– graduating seniors in the post-grad job search, sophomores getting ready to choose a major or concentration, juniors trying to decide what type of internship to choose, and even alumni who realize it’s time for a change– come to Career Services asking some version of the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

While there is no single correct answer to this question because there are a gazillion career possibilities out there, there are some basic considerations people should make to increase the likelihood that they’ll actually be happy in their chosen career. And in my opinion, since most of us spend so many of the waking hours of our adult life at work, we can’t afford not to be happy in our career.

To put it simply, your career path should be a good fit with your interests (activities you like to do or issues you care about), skills (your abilities and strengths), and values (your ideals and the lifestyle choices that are most important to you.) Once you’ve “self-assessed” your interests, skills, and values, the next step is to explore the job and career opportunities that may be a good fit for you.

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For current students trying to find some career direction, Career Services and CAPS are partnering to offer the Career Exploration Seminar: Exploring your Potential, Finding Your Fit to assist students in the career discovery process. This seminar will lead students through a guided exploration of their values, skill sets, and interests. Participants will also take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is an assessment that helps students understand work and personality fit, and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), which matches students’ interests to various career options. While assessments aren’t tests that “tell you what to do,” they can provide a great starting point for successful career exploration.

For more information about the Career Exploration seminars, seminar dates and to register, visit the CAPS website. The first session is this Wednesday, January 27th.

You can find additional resources on Career Services Career Discovery page, and from the Career Services Career Exploration page for College Students you can view this short video on Career Exploration.

Career Exploration from Penn Career Services on Vimeo.

Author: Kelly

Kelly Cleary is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates.