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Career Exploration

Career Exploration

Planning for the future is an ongoing process that you will engage in for your entire lifetime. Career planning has three basic steps that you will cycle through and repeat throughout your working life. Choosing a career is a big decision. Being aware of the process and engaging in it now will help you make better decisions for your future! 

The Three Steps in the Career Planning Process  

Step 1: Know yourself (Who Am I?)
Learn about yourself—your interests, abilities, and work values.
Step 2: Know your options and chart a direction (Where Am I Going?)
Learn about careers that relate to what you know about yourself.
Step 3: Make plans and take action (How do I Get There?)
Consider the things you are doing right now (choosing classes, volunteering, the grades you are earning) that can affect your plans and take appropriate actions to accomplish your goals.

Step 1: Know yourself

  • What do you know about yourself?
  • What can help you to achieve your goals? What obstacles could get in your way?
  • What types of work and school activities do you like? What don’t you like?
  • What interests you?
  • What do you do well now, and what skills have you gained through experience?
  • What values do you have regarding work?

Things you can do now:

  • Talk to an adult you trust and who knows you well about what they think are your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Think about the things that motivate you and the things you want to accomplish.
  • Assess your interests, abilities, and values using Naviance Family Connection.
  • Do one of the paper/pencil assessments available in the College Counseling Office.
  • Spend time with people whose activities interest you.
  • Take courses in school that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
  • Develop skills, values and interests by volunteering, joining clubs, and taking classes.

Step 2: Know your options and chart a direction

  • What classes can help you decide if an occupation is right for you?
  • What is the path you need to take in order to reach your career goals?
  • What can you do now to prepare for the path you are interested in?
  • What obstacles would prevent you from choosing a certain occupation over others?
  • What will you do in a typical workday?
  • What level of education do you need (high school diploma, 2-yr. or 4-yr. college, graduate school)?
  • Where can you get training for this career?
  • What classes would you need to take to prepare (science, foreign language, math, psychology)?
  • Will there be jobs available when you complete the training?
  • How much does this job pay? Can you live the way you want to on that salary?
  • What knowledge and skills are used in this work?
  • Are these knowledge and skill areas in which you are already strong, or will you need additional development?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement in this career?
  • Is the work environment (indoors/outdoors, office/factory, groups/alone) one in which you work well?
  • Does the work require physical activity, and are you willing and able to perform at the level required?

Things you can do now:

  • Explore careers on Naviance Family Connection.
  • Explore occupations that fit your interests, abilities, and values.
  • Check out one of the many books on careers from the College Counseling Office.
  • Participate in Exploring Posts in your area(s) of interest.
  • Participate in career related workshops/information sessions/field trips offered by the College Counseling Office.
  • Participate in as many career related opportunities as you can find, e.g. programs on college campuses, many offered during the summers
  • See your school counselor and share your ideas.
  • Talk to your parents about your plans.
  • Spend time with people whose activities interest you.
  • Volunteer, join clubs, or work in jobs that interest you.
  • Take courses in school that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
  • Take part-time courses at RIT and/or University of Rochester  that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
  • Shadow professionals in the workplace who are employed in a field of interest to you.

Step 3: Make plans and take action

  • What subjects do you need to study?
  • How will you pay for school or training needed for your desired job?
  • How ready are you to search for a job?
  • Do you need more help?

Things you can do now:

  • Discuss your career and educational plans with your parents, counselor, or other interested people.
  • Make a checklist of questions to ask if you are visiting schools or workplaces.
  • Explore schools, majors, and job search information on Naviance Family Connection.
  • Make sure the decisions you make now will allow you to pursue you plans.
  • Find out which schools offer the education or training that you need.

There are hundreds of sites on the Internet listing available jobs and/or offering career information. The sites below are suggested as a starting point for using the Internet as part of your job search.

Career Information Sites

Career One Stop

Career Advice

Career Res. Library

The Riley Guide

My Majors          

Job Postings

NYS Dep. of Labor

America's Job Bank

Career City

Career Magazine

Career Mosaic


Career Web




The Monster Board

NationJob Online

Government and Civil Service Job Sites

New York City

New York State


Listings of Employer Web Sites

The New York JobSource


Resume Preparation Online

The 10 Minute Resume

NYS Workf. Dev. System