School counselors, for example, often have tools that they use to link interests and skills with careers.
Free online resources, such as My Next Move, also help with career exploration.
The assessment instruments, which are based on a "whole-person" concept, are grouped into three major families: These instruments will help individuals identify their work-related interests, what they consider important on the job, and their abilities to explore occupations that relate most closely to those attributes.
Users of the tools may link to the more than 950 occupations described by the O*NET database, as well as to occupational information in Career One Stop.
Once you’ve thought about the subjects and activities you like best, the next step is to look for careers that put those interests to use.
If you love sports, for example, you might consider a career as a gym teacher, recreational therapist, or coach.“All your life you’ve been asked what you want to do when you grow up,” says Steve Schneider, a school counselor at Sheboygan South High School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.“In high school, you start to work towards making that happen.” Many high schoolers don’t yet know what they want to do. In fact, students are likely to change their minds multiple times, perhaps even after they enter the workforce.It’s important to think about what you like to do, say school counselors, because work will eventually be a big part of your life.“The whole purpose of thinking about careers is so that when you go to the workforce, you wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work,” says Julie Hartline, a school counseling consultant at Cobb County public schools in Smyrna, Georgia.“If you don’t know what you want to do, the question is, ‘What do you like to learn about? “If you really like science, what do you enjoy about it—the lab work, the research?” Use the answers to those questions to identify careers that may have similar tasks.The third section describes some education or training options, both in high school and afterward.The fourth section offers some thoughts on pursuing your dream career.But, like Lovely, you can start thinking about—and planning for—your future before graduation.“Start exploring what you want to do when you’re a freshman,” says Mark Danaher, a career counselor at Newington High School in Newington, Connecticut.