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No matter what year of high school you’re in, the word “career” is probably on your mind. But where do you even start to figure out what career you should pursue? Today, we’ll be sharing some planning tips and our favorite career exploration resources to help you pinpoint your strengths and passions!

Use High School to Explore Your Interests

Take full advantage of the opportunities your school provides you. While you have to take English, math, science, and social studies classes, you will still likely notice which classes most appeal to you. Try out some of your school’s different courses, arts and sports electives, and involve yourself in clubs and after school activities like debate or the school newspaper. These are all places to learn what you like—or don’t like, which is just as valuable to learn. Don’t be discouraged if you enjoy something but aren’t good at it; that’s what training and college is for! Now is a great time to be adventurous.

Career exploration begins in high school!

Take a Career Quiz

If you’re not entirely sure what your strengths are, you can try taking a career quiz to identify them. From there, you can see what types of careers suit people with those skills. Here are some career quizzes we recommend and enjoy:

  • The California Colleges career assessment asks you to rank tasks by how much you’d enjoy them to help narrow down your preferences.
  • Minnesota State CareerWise has a full page of three different types of assessment links: interests, skills, and work values. They include links, short descriptions of the quizzes, and sample questions and results where available.

Do Some Research

Good, old-fashioned research is a good next step after taking a career quiz. We recommend the following websites and career exploration portals to explore different careers and their requisite skills:

  • O*Net Online breaks down the different types of skills used in each career, as well as important abilities, example work activities, and typical education requirements. While it’s an older website, it’s comprehensiveness is hard to beat. My Next Move is also similar to O*Net, too.
  • Career One Stop is a website with video overviews of different job types. It’s a little old, but it’s still nice to see some footage of different jobs, and get a short summary of what people in these professions do.
  • CA Career Zone comes with its own quiz to help profile you, and your results immediately lead to a list of potential careers across multiple fields that have similar ratings to you.

If you have a specific career path in mind, you may want to explore the steps to get there: classes you can take while still in high school, summer programs, potential college majors and coursework, and if you may need a graduate degree.

Get Some Experience

Internships, work-shadowing days, volunteering, and other community activities and organizations can provide great work experience options and help you decide whether certain careers are right for you.

While internships can be fairly competitive, work-shadowing days can be easier to arrange and can still give you a firsthand peek into a career. Look into your school’s alumni network and see if you can work-shadow someone in a field of interest. Spring and summer break are an ideal time to do this.

Use your summer productively! Consider signing up for a summer course in a subject that interests you, but you’ve never studied before. Many colleges offer summer courses to high school students, so this could be a good opportunity to not only delve into a new interest but also check out the college’s campus. You could volunteer in your community during the summer months, too.

Career Training and Non-College Career Preparation Options

You can prepare for your career in a variety of ways, not just a four year Bachelor’s degree. Some careers require on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or certificates. There are also different types of college: community colleges, career colleges, online college courses, and graduate schools.

Other Resources

Your teachers and college counselors can also help you pinpoint your skills and strengths, and may have ideas of what careers they could imagine you enjoying. And if this list is daunting to you, always feel free to reach out to us here at Mundo Academy for career exploration guidance, too!