Now that you’ve read an overview of the Systematic Career Exploration Approach (SCEA), it’s time to start exploring your career interests.
Your career interests are the kind of tasks you would enjoy doing as a part of a paid job.
There are many different ways to think about career interests. One of the most scientifically-supported ways of thinking about career interests is Dr. John Holland’s Interest Types system.
Dr. Holland argued that all people and all occupations can be defined by a combination of interest types:
- Realistic (“Doers”) = do physical, hands-on activities
- Investigative (“Thinkers”) = use scientific methods to analyze and solve problems
- Artistic (“Creators”) = practice creativity
- Social (“Helpers”) = help people
- Enterprising (“Persuaders”) = influence and manage people
- Conventional (“Organizers”) = organize information and follow correct procedures
For example, my top types are S, I, and A (the first letters of Social, Investigative, and Artistic). I’m a helper and thinker, and to a slightly lesser extent a creator. The other three types (R, E, C) don’t describe me as well.
My chosen occupation, counseling psychology, is also defined by the types of S, I, and A. In other words, the occupation of counseling psychology typically requires doing work tasks that involve helping, thinking, and being creative. I am very happy with my occupation, and Holland would say that this is because I get to do work tasks that match my career interests. I agree with him!
So, the first step of the SCEA involves helping you figure out which interest types best describe you. The best way to figure this out is by taking a scientifically-supported interest assessment (test) that will give you scores on the six types.
I strongly recommend you start by taking the O*NET Interest Profiler. The Profiler is a free, 60-question interest assessment that will take you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. But before you start the Profiler, please keep these four suggestions in mind:
- Try not to think about if you have enough education or training to do the work. We’ll worry about this education and training part later in the SCEA. At this point, we’re only interested in what you think you would like or dislike doing.
- Try not to think about how much money you would make doing the work. We’ll consider salary when we talk about work values later in the SCEA.
- If you are unfamiliar with a given work task or are not sure how you would feel about the task, mark the middle “unsure” response. If you mark the “dislike” response just because you know nothing about a given task, this can create inaccurate Profiler results.
- There are many activities that we like to do as hobbies, but would not want to have to do as a part of our paid day-to-day jobs. For example, I love to draw pictures for fun. I’m not good at drawing and would dislike having to earn my living by drawing, but it’s a fun hobby for me. Thus, when I take the Profiler, I need to make sure I mark the “dislike” response for the “Draw pictures” question because the Profiler is designed to ask us about activities we would be comfortable being paid to do as a part of our main job. The Profiler is not asking us about things we only would like to do as hobbies.