4 answers

Career explorations for a confident career?

Asked Smithfield, Rhode Island

Hello! For my school's graduation requirement, I have to have 15 hours of career exploration. I know that I want to be a psychologist or do something in the psychology field, but those jobs are usually very confidential. What should I do?
If I cannot do that, I am also very interested in other social sciences, art, and music. Are there any options in those as well? Thank you!!! :) #psychology #career #college #career-choice #help

4 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Congratulations on being interested in finding the right career to follow. It takes a special person to enter into a specific career field and meet the demands which that career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make one successful in that area. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow people doing what you might think that you want to do to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  When I was doing college recruiting, I encountered too many students, who skipped these important steps, and ended up in a career/job for which they were ill suited.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
  • Here are two other things to consider (1) It really does not matter what school you attend, as the most important factors are how well you do with the school work, which is an indication to an employer about what kind of employee you will be, and the effort that you put forth in your networking to set up networking connections that will help you throughout your education/career journey. Here is an important video for you to watch: ## http://www.ted.com/talks/julie_lythcott_haims_how_to_raise_successful_kids_without_over_parenting?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=education ## (2) It is very important to control college costs, as too many people spend way too much on an education and end up with unnecessarily high debt. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce college expenses ## http://www.educationplanner.org/students/paying-for-school/ways-to-pay/reduce-college-costs.shtml ##
Here are some sites that will give you some interesting perspectives on what to do after high school. This is good food for thought: Should You Go To College## https://medium.com/the-mission/high-school-is-over-should-you-go-to-college-b5b6db6f6712 ##Value of College## https://medium.com/the-mission/the-value-of-the-college-degree-is-crashing-heres-how-to-fix-it-cd7a1e116396 ##My Biggest Regret: Going to College## https://medium.com/the-mission/my-biggest-regret-in-life-going-to-college-ef2068f179cf ##

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas

Hi Trinity!

I think I would start by making a basic questionnaire you want to use, and then interview people in various fields. The interviews will use up some of the hours. You can do them by phone, e-mail, videochat, or in person. Do several, across the various fields that are of interest to you. Then pick about 3 people to shadow, perhaps for half a day each (3-4 hours)

Obviously you can't shadow a person doing counseling. however, I've had "shadows" sit in when I had Dr appts - the dr introduces the shadow, and asks me if it is okay. So, there are possibilities, probably in some of the less deeply-personal areas. You could probably shadow a career counselor in college, for example. The clients are adults, and can give their own consent. Doing it with minors (in high school) would be more difficult, due to privacy and consent issues. You may also look at interviewing somebody in marketing. I have never worked in that field, but, I consider it to be like an applied psychology - you are trying to make somebody buy something! Depending on your age, and the requirements, you may be able to do a ride-along with a police officer. A lot of social skills are required to do this work! As a retired officer, I will tell you that making an arrest takes a lot of time (paperwork) and it is much easier to resolve petty spats in some other way. When it is between family, friends, or neighbors, as an officer you know it will be an on-going situation if you are not able to get to the heart of the matter. Or, perhaps someone at the YMCA , scouts, or other youth program. Also consider interviewing a pastor or someone at a church. While they cannot divulge confidences, they will be able to tell you, in generalities, some of the issues they deal with!

As to the questionnaire, here are some questions. You don't want to ask too many, probably 5-7, so there is time to discuss the answers. These are just suggestions to get you started, feel free to modify!!

  1. How long have you been a __________ and why did you choose to become a _________?
  2. What training and education are required for this position?
  3. What do you like the most about your job?
  4. What do you like the least about your job?
  5. What advice would you have for a young person considering this line of work?
  6. Can you tell me about one of your most memorable moments, where you feel you really made a difference in someone's life?

Best of luck!


Kim’s Answer

Updated Nipomo, California

Hi Trinity

Ken has given you some excellent advice and guidance. One additional thought to consider is to gain insight into your natural strengths. My favorite assessment is StrengthsFinder. The resulting report will provide insights into your natural strengths and what opportunities may be a good fit. It's a great starting point and will augment the assessments Ken has suggested.

Kim recommends the following next steps:

  • Research the StrengthsFinder assessment to determine application to your needs.
  • Take the StrengthsFinder assessment and review the resulting report. Utilize the results to formulate a plan for your educational goals.
  • Retain the report for reference as your career path progresses.

Mohammad tahir’s Answer


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