Discover Your Career Matches

puzzle-654957_1920You have identified your most enjoyed transferable, personal, and content skills. The next question is, What careers or self-employment opportunities are “out there” that use your favorite skills?

Most people have “tunnel vision” about career options. They are aware of only a few jobs–usually ones that family members or friends do or ones they have seen portrayed on TV or in the movies. This limited awareness limits career choices because your choices are limited to the career options you know about. The more career options you expose yourself to, the more you expand your options.

Hundreds of job options exist. In action step one, you were provided with your three-letter type code. This code will allow you to explore jobs quickly with the Career Fit Test Search Tool.  The Career Fit Test Search Tool uses data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET Online), the best source of occupational information available. The O*NET database contains over 900 jobs. The sheer immensity of possibilities can be overwhelming. But we have some good news! You don’t have to explore everything! The career fit assessment links your favorite skills to job titles that utilize those skills. You can quickly identify many job options that could fit you well.

You will also learn critical information about jobs of interest, such as specific skills used in the position, the salary range, job outlook, training requirements, and more.

“Reality Testing” Job Options to Avoid Mistakes

Another purpose of researching career options is to “reality test” possible jobs, meaning you get sufficient “real world” information about them to assess how well they fit you. Most people begin “reality testing” their career choices on the first day on the job! Once hired, they start looking at the position to see if they’ll like it and if it’s a good fit. Unfortunately, people often discover that the job is much different than they thought it would be and isn’t a good fit. This realization could come after four (or more) years of education or an expensive training program preparing them to get into a particular work area. You want to do your “reality testing” well before you make career decisions or complete your education in preparation for a specific career. No one can explore job options for you because no one else can assess your interest in a particular career. So, this step does require investing a little time and doing some detective work. But isn’t it worth spending a little time now so that you can create a bright, enjoyable future for yourself and those you love?

To effectively explore careers that fit your skills, interests, and personality:

1. Start by clicking the link below to be shown careers that fit your three-letter type code.

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Besides looking at the jobs from your top three interest categories, you can also enter only your primary code interest code (e.g., Social) or your primary and secondary code (e.g., Social, Enterprising). Here is a partial list of results for a person who is searching under their primary and secondary types: Social, Enterprising:

2. Looking at the list of jobs, click on any job that is of interest or a job that you would like to learn more about. You can quickly learn about occupations for which you have little knowledge. For example, if C (Conventional) was your first letter type, you might want to read more about being an accountant from the list of jobs. After clicking on the link, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:

The career description describes the occupation in terms of the transferable skills used in that work. So, for example, an accountant would use transferable skills such as inspecting, evaluating, preparing, recommending, analyzing, reporting, etc. By comparing those transferable skills to your top ten transferable skills in your CFT Skills Map™, you can see how much the job would use skills you enjoy. You may not see the same transferable skill names, but you can observe if any of your top ten transferable skills are related to the skills you are reading about.

3. When you read about an occupation that is of interest and fits several of your most enjoyed transferable skills, you can then proceed to read about other aspects of the job, including the personal skills, content skills, education needed, Holland types, work values, related jobs, top associations, salary, and labor market information. Here is an example of an accountant description:

Clicking on each blue link will take you to that section of the job description.

4. Now compare each occupation of potential interest with your CFT Skills Map™, which includes your top transferable, personal, and content skills. (It can be helpful to have a printed copy of your CFT Skills Map™ to evaluate jobs better.)

Use the Career Exploration Worksheet to note aspects of the career that fit your transferable, personal, and content skills. You can also note what parts of the occupation are not of interest and any questions or comments you have about this type of work.  Here is an example:

Career exploration worksheet example

Since you can only choose from jobs you are aware of, make it a goal to explore at least twenty or more occupations.

5. In the “Additional Info” section for each occupation, you will find some of the top associations for that career. For many careers, you will also find a link to explore that occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is the US Department of Labor’s premier source of career guidance featuring hundreds of occupations done by 80% of Americans.

6. The Career One Stop is a third excellent resource for career exploration. At this site, you can use skills from your CFT Skills Map™ to find jobs that are relevant.  For example, if your top transferable skill is “Design,” entering it into the “Keyword Search” will show you a variety of careers that use that skill.  Here is an example:

Click on any jobs of interest, and you will be taken to a page where you can obtain state information about the job, including a career video; wages, state, and national employment trends; knowledge, skills, & abilities; tasks & activities; tools & technology; education & training; related occupations and other web resources.

While using any of these exploration resources, be sure to have your CFT Skills Map™ available to compare how similar your top transferable skills, personal skills, and content skills are to the career you are exploring.  Also, use the Career Exploration Worksheet to make notes for yourself.

7. The steps above help you to do the best possible career research to see what occupations best fit your best skills, interests and personality.  However, new occupations not found in those exploration resources are created regularly. For example, until recently, we didn’t have AI Strategist jobs where a person researches AI trends, authors’ perspectives, and presentations on AI-related questions and shares their insights with customers and the market. This is an occupation that, as of now, is not a job you will not find described within the 900 occupations in the database of professions you have been researching.

So, how can you consider creative or new job options that don’t exist in writing? One of the best ways to do this is by hosting a Brainstorming Party to help you identify unique job opportunities.  A brainstorming party involves getting together with friends or family members to brainstorm descriptions of work that could fit your transferable, personal, and content skills. Many people have found jobs they love through this brainstorming strategy.

8. ChatGPT is an amazing free tool that can be used for brainstorming careers that fit your career test results.  ChatGPT is an online artificial intelligence (AI) developed by OpenAI that produces human-like text responses to questions and word prompts.  It is a tool that is changing how work is done and can be used to help you write resumes and cover letters, as well as help you interview more effectively.  For your purposes in career exploration, ChatGPT can also brainstorm occupations that fit your CFT Skills Map™.

To ask ChatGPT to brainstorm careers, paste your transferable, personal, and content skills from your CFT Skills Map™  into the ChatGPT prompt.  Next, write in the prompt, “Please use my skills to describe ten career options.”  You will be amazed at how quickly ChatGPT will produce results.  If you don’t like the results, you can ask it to describe more career options.

9. If you are interested in self-employment opportunities, you can explore and “reality test” options in a few ways.

Many careers you have researched in the steps above can be done as a consultant or freelancer. You can search on Google using terms such as “A day in the life of a self-employed __________________.”  (You can also use this Google search for salaried occupations that are of interest.) This will provide you with articles and videos of people describing how they work in their field as freelancers.

Two, you can use ChatGPT to prompt ideas. Here is a prompt you can use, “Please provide 10 self-employment options that would use my transferable, personal, and content skills that include ___________________________.” If you don’t see any interesting options, you can use different skills from your CFT Skills Map™.  For self-employment options of interest, Google and ask ChatGPT for a list of the steps to succeed in that occupation.

10. Review your Career Exploration Worksheets from the online exploration and your Brainstorming Party summary page. What common themes do you see? What are the three to five career options of the highest interest that seem to fit your three skill groups best? These are the careers that you will want to research further. This is primarily done through Informational Interviewing.

Informational Interviewing is a strategy of “reality testing” career options by talking with people who do the type of work you are considering. For example, if you are seriously considering becoming a lawyer, you would speak to at least a couple of attorneys (preferably in different types of practices that are of interest, such as personal injury attorney) and ask questions such as what they like best and least about their jobs, what a typical day and week is like, what advice they would have for someone considering the field, etc. Learn the steps and questions to ask as you use this powerful strategy.

11. After conducting Informational interviews with those jobs that are of interest, you may also want to shadow someone on the job for each career. Shadowing means spending a few hours (but preferably a whole day) on the job with someone doing the type of work you are considering. It may mean simply observing someone or volunteering your time to assist with various activities. Following our previous example, someone interested in becoming a lawyer could observe a “typical” day in the office and perhaps a court session or other relevant activities. This method is most appropriate when you have narrowed your options to two or three career options you are seriously considering.

12. If the career options that you are considering would require more education, you can learn more about the college majors needed, how majors fit your three-letter type (ex., ASE), and colleges that offer those majors at the College & Major section.

Summary

Using these methods for exploration and “reality testing” careers will expand your vision of occupations that fit who you are and provide you with the information you need to make the best possible career decisions.  Allowing yourself sufficient time to research various career options thoroughly will help ensure that you find the best career choice for your unique design.

When you complete your exploration, you are ready to move into career decision-making.