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Evaluate and Prioritize

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After taking the time to research a career option, the next step is to reflect on what you’ve learned. It is important to undergo a reality check for each career area you’re exploring, weigh the pros and cons, and evaluate how well it matches up with who you are and what you want. Use the following questions to guide your reflection.

  • What is your initial reaction to the career field after your research ?
  • What appealed to you about the field? What didn’t appeal to you? List the pros and cons.
  • Did any information surprise you? Did you learn something about the field that you didn’t know before? Does this new knowledge impact your opinion of the career field?
  • What skills, knowledge, or experience will you need to be competitive for entry in this field? Are you interested enough in the field to develop these skills or knowledge?
  • With every new career there is a learning curve along with knowledge and skills that will need to be developed in order to excel. Are you willing to put in the necessary time and effort to be successful and advance in the career? Is your interest sustainable or fleeting?
  • Consider what you learned about yourself through the self-assessment process including your interests, skills, personality, and values. Are there aspects of the career that fit better than others?
  • Do you think you would be satisfied in this field or position? Why or why not?
  • How much adapting will be necessary for you to be satisfied in this career area? No career is going to be a 100% perfect match; there will be aspects that aren’t going to be exactly what you want, but is the percentage of less desirable components at an acceptable level or will it impact your long-term satisfaction?

If after your research you find that a career field is not for you, that’s fine. After all, the point of this is to help you clarify whether a career field is a good fit or not. Check that area off your list and move on to exploring the other career areas. If you didn’t get a strong impression either way, you may need to conduct additional informational interviews or try a job shadowing/trek to get a more concrete impression. 

Tip: Keep in mind that entry-level positions often have a greater percentage of less desirable components but if that is a stepping stone into the career you want, then it may be worth it. You need to think beyond just the first job and look at the positions on the subsequent rungs of the career ladder.