There are two types of college students when it comes to career planning: those who are intentional in their choices and those who are not. While both have opportunities to land their dream internship and/or job, the student who puts the time into design and executes a strategic plan has a better chance at career success.
As such, I wanted to spend some time talking about strategic planning. What do you need to be doing now in order to position yourself (and your brand) for future success?
In this blog series, I will share my tips on four things I believe every college student needs to do in order to develop a solid career plan: assessment, exploration, goal setting, and a personal SWOT analysis.
Assessment, or step one of developing your career plan, is all about figuring out who you are. What are your interests, skills, values, and personality and how do these things connect with your potential career path(s)? One of the best avenues for figuring this out is through formal assessment. Here are my top five picks:
MBTI is the most widely used personality inventory on the market. By answering a series of questions about your preferences, this assessment will provide you with your personality type expressed as a four-letter code: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) / Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) / Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) / Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). This code determines your values and interests, as well as how you work with others, matching your personality with career options.
The SII measures your interest in occupations, work activities, leisure activities, and school subjects. It is based on the premise that people are more satisfied in careers that they find interesting and where they are able to work with others who share similar interests. By identifying your interests in these areas, you will learn what career paths may be most appropriate for you.
Similar to the MBTI, the KTS-II identifies your personality type from 16 different personality temperaments. This assessment measures your preferences, not skills, and is used to direct you into an exploration of various careers.
Focus is one of my favorite career assessments, as it is based on the concept that all people are multidimensional. After reviewing your interests, personality, skills, values, and school aspirations, it is able to generate a list of career and majors for you. I am a big fan of this assessment for exploratory students/underclassmen, as it helps student plan for both their education and career goals.
Although StrengthsQuest is not a formal career assessment tool, it can help you reach career success. By identifying your top five talent themes (strengths) from a group of 34, you will begin to understand what types of work environments and careers would best fit you. While I originally used this assessment to help student leaders identify their strengths, I now use it to help them connect the dots between their strengths and possible career paths.
As a college student, your campus career center(s) may have some of these assessments in-house (or others, as this list is not all-inclusive). I strongly encourage you to complete at least one, as it will help to lay the foundation for your career plan. Stay tuned for next week’s post on step two of strategic planning for career success: exploration.
Heather currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Services for the Undergraduate Career Services Office in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In her role, Heather guides students throughout their career development, lectures on career-related topics and personal branding, presents career workshops for students, supervises a team of career coaches, and develops/manages the social media efforts for her office. Before making the switch to Student Affairs, Heather worked in Marketing, Sales, and Promotion within the Music & Entertainment industry. Originally from New Jersey, Heather attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree and The Ohio State University for her graduate studies. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.