By John Groth
College career planning comes in two parts. First, you engage in individual assessment of interests and abilities along with self-study. Second, are more formal programs and career planning systems from colleges, universities and some private companies.
One of the things that you can do to get started is take an assessment test that can help identify personal interests, values and skills. One key element in the college career planning process is determining just who the person is and what personality traits fit with which college and career paths.
While you engage in this more personal part of the process, along with friends and family, you should begin to look at certain colleges by location, cost and so on. During this time, students and teachers can help clarify which majors are strong at the school and how those majors may lead into careers in the working world. Some basic research into a particular career is usually productive. If possible interview several people now working in the desired career. What do they like or dislike about the career? Their assessment of future prospects would also be helpful.
Using the Internet is a great idea, and one that has grown in popularity over the past few years. The Internet offers a lot of resources for those involved in college career planning.
Then comes a second part of the process, in which the individual determines which college/career path will allow use of the skills, abilities, interests and values that are strongest. The amount of information uncovered in college career planning can overwhelm the first-time searcher. But with a focus on certain questions and areas of interest, the search can become a bit easier.
Helping to narrow the choices and focus attention are some excellent formal programs offered by both private companies and universities. Young job seekers often make use of a formal system to assist with college career planning. These systems range from skill assessment and interest testing to personality analysis and education searches.
A university may also offer its own college career planning program. The university plans may have extensive information and assessment material designed for those choosing a college-to-career path. These can be an excellent activity for recent high school graduates and community college graduates.
Some of these assessment systems can be shipped to you for use at home. Other companies offer their program as a Web-based, interactive system. Most, if not all, have one goal – helping you find a rewarding position as part of a continuous college career planning effort.
With the wealth of information available, it is usually productive to keep all your career options open as you move through the learning and formal educational process. Summer jobs and internships in your chosen field will help in your decision-making. As in anything the more choices you have the more likely you will make a wise longer term career decision.
John Groth is a former HR executive and career coach. At his web site find Career Planning Ideas and valuable articles (valuable even though you’re not yet 50). Discover up to date career and recruitment strategies at our career training guide all to assist you in advancing and managing your career.