Career Exploration

If you're having difficulty defining what to do with your life, you are not alone. It is normal to question and reflect on your future plans. We take a holistic viewpoint in helping you to reflect on who you are, your values, interests, skills, and other parts of as you that can play an important part in your career. We also help you explore and discover careers so that you can make informed decisions about what is right for you. If you're asking yourself "Where could my degree take me?" take a look at the places you could go!

Assessing Interests & Values

To land a job that best fits you, you need to understand your interests, passions, and values. Make sure you are on track to move into a position that aligns with who you are.

Ask yourself...

What do I enjoy doing? What key words do these accomplishments have in common? How would I describe myself? What accomplishments have meant the most to me? How would my friends and colleagues describe me? Whose opinions to I value? Who do I trust?

Take some time for yourself to reflect on these questions and your answer to these questions. If you're struggling with some answers, feel free to set up an appointment with our Senior Career Counselor. To sign up for an appointment, go to the Career Counseling Appointment Calendar.

Action Items

What 3-4 tasks, in the past week, have you found challenging and enjoyable? Example: After three hours of reading for ethics class, I had a new sense of my values.
List 3-4 people you trust and why. Example: I trust my supervisor to give me clear feedback.
Reach out to the people on your “trusted” list and ask for key words that describe you.
What are your three most important accomplishments?

Self-Exploration

    Use the below tools to explore potential careers and determine how your skills/interests match up with career skill sets.
  • CareerOneStop a great resource for general career exploration
  • StrengthsQuest (if you're interested in taking this assessment email gsehdcareer@gwu.edu to set up an appointment)
  • Focus™2
  • Woofound is a visual personality and interests assessment
  • Personal Values Card Sort

Transferable Skills

    Every career requires a set of "soft" skills outside of the technical skills required to properly function in that role. Communication, Organization, Collaboration, and Managing are all examples of transferable skills. Check out the links below to further explore your own set of transferable skills.
  • CareerInfo.Net Skills Profiler
  • 50 Ways to Get a Job that Does Good
Identify Options & Priorities

Research shows THE BEST employees are those who love what they do and are valued by their employers. The next step is to gain knowledge about opportunities that align with who you are and what you value.

Ask Yourself...

what is on my “must have “ list? What are the steps necessary to achieve your goals? What jobs or employers appeal to me? Why? Do my skills and experience match my ambition? What conditions or challenges do I want I my next role? What’s missing to make me a better candidate? What do I need to do now to get where I want to be next month?

Action Items

What 3-4 challenges are important to you in your next job? Examples: supervising, teamwork, project management.
What are you “must haves” for your next job? Examples: salary level, benefits, location, hours, work-life balance.
What training, education, or experience will you need to claim your future? Examples public speaking, team-building, creative writing.
Sign up for GWork and familiarize yourself with the database. Find 2-3 employers and positions that interest you.

EXPLORE Industry Profiles

 

Informational Interviewing

Conducting Informational Interviews is a great way to learn more about a career. It is also a great way to start building your network. Click on the link above to learn more about Informational Interviews.

Communicate Your Brand

Getting an interview in a competitive market requires that you make yourself stand out. You must define and promote a clear, unique brand in your resume, cover letters, and social media.

 

Ask yourself (word bubbles): Does my resume feature my brand? Google yourself! Check your social media presence. Does it represent the best version of you? Have I created a brand statement that establishes my value and differentiates me from the competition? Have I reviewed my social media presence? Does it highlight my brand or does it take away from it? Do I have a LinkedIn profile that showcases my brand? Do I have a cover letter which sets me apart?

 

Action Items

  • In 15 – 20 words, draft your unique brand statement. Example: “I am a calms and compassionate school counselor devoted to improving opportunities for children with learning differences.
  • Check out our Branding section for more information on personal branding!

  • Pick a job and prepare a resume that connects your brand, skills, interests, and experience.
  • Using your brand as an inspiration, create a fresh LinkedIn one paragraph summary. (Go to and type ‘webinar’ in the search box for tips to improve your LinkedIn profile!)
  • Draft a cover letter that features your brand AND captures the key words in a job description of interest to you.

 

Get feedback! Submit your resume and cover letter to the Office of Career Services!

When Choosing Your Next Chapter

Think before you LEAP. Many people are so excited to receive a job offer, they don’t consider whether the job is the right fit. Consider the information below before you make a choice.

Ask Yourself...

Where could this lead? Did the people I meet share my work ethic and values? Do I understand the culture and goals of this organization? Do they align with my own? Are there any red flags? Do I believe I can make a meaningful contribution and be a valued employee?

 

Action Items

  • Review the employer’s mission statement and objectives. Prepare a side-by-side list of their goals and your needs. What does the list tell you about possible fit?
  • Jot down a list of the qualities and characteristics of the employees you met, especially those you might work with often. Do a gut check to assure yourself that you will thrive and grow.
  • What do you think you can realistically achieve in the first 6 months? Does your list challenge and encourage you to accept the offer?
  • What do you want to achieve? Match the skills you think you will develop with your long term professional goals.
  • Retrieve your original list of challenges and conditions you considered important. Check off the requirements that are met. Only you know your needs.