Now that you’ve built and finalized your occupations Roster, it’s time to narrow your Roster down.
You will use a process of elimination to
cross occupations off your Roster that, compared to the other occupations on your Roster, offer a poorer fit for your career interests, skills, values, personality, etc. You will continue to cross occupations off until you have narrowed the Roster down to the occupation (or occupations) that will offer you the best fit compared to all the other Occupations that were on the List.
There are a variety of criteria that you can use for deciding which occupations to eliminate from your Roster. Criteria include the degree of fit with your:
- Interests (what you like)
- Skills and abilities (what you are good at)
- Work values (such as prestige, high income, and job security)
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality (such as extroverted vs. introverted)
- Education and training (what academic degrees or training certifications are needed)
- Family and cultural expectations (what your family and communities expects of you)
We haven’t talked about most of these criteria yet. That is intentional, as we want to keep it as simple as possible at each step. We’ll get to these other criteria in a moment.
The first activity at this step is to go through your roster and eliminate those occupations on your Roster that are the least interesting to you of all the occupations on your Roster. There are a few ways to do this. For example, you could assign letter grades (e.g., A-, B+, C) to all the occupations based on how well they align with your interests. Then, you can cross off all those occupations that scored lower than the others (e.g., eliminate all those occupations that didn’t earn at least an A-). Feel free to try different approaches to doing this process of elimination based on interests.
At some point, you will most likely need more detailed information about the occupations that still remain on your Roster before you will be able to narrow down your Roster further. After all, so far the SCEA has told you to only look at the brief description and list of tasks on each occupation’s Summary Report page. Now it’s time to consult a variety of information sources so that you can really get to know everything about the occupations that still remain on your Roster.
Here are some strategies and resources you can use to obtain this more detailed information about the occupations that still remain on your Roster:
- Lookup the occupations on the Occupational Outlook Handbook website
- Read the career stories, watch career videos, and watch videotaped informational interviews of professionals working in various occupations. Links to additional career video collections can be found under the Videos section at the bottom of the NCDA Resources webpage.
- Access information about various career fields from the following reputable websites: UK Berkeley Career Center, Vocational Information Center, and the NJ Department of Education.
- Review the websites of the main professional organizations / scholarly societies for that profession. For example, psychologists are often members of the American Psychological Association; architects are often members of American Institute of Architects. These websites often have information specifically for young people interested in potentially pursuing jobs in their field.
- Conduct informational interviews (downloadable guide here) with people working in those occupations and/or job shadow them
- If you are a student, seek out the advisers / guidance counselors at your school who work in the academic departments that correspond most directly with those occupations (e.g., talk to the Psychology Department advisers if you are interested in learning more about the occupation of Counseling Psychologist) and set up an in-person meeting with them to learn more.
- Talk with teachers/faculty members, parents, friends, and people you trust to help you consider the advantages and disadvantages of the occupation
- Get an internship, part-time job, service-learning role, or volunteer position related to the occupation
- Take academic courses in the subject field related to that occupation
I mentioned previously that it’s time to start considering other criteria to help you narrow your Roster. I’d like to introduce you to each criterion, one at a time. I’ll explain what the criterion is, how you can do self-assessments to figure out what each criterion looks like for you, and how to use that self knowledge to further eliminate occupations from your Roster.
Let’s talk about your skills and abilities next.
Here’s a video example of how a person with career counseling training built the Roster and used the Occupational Outlook Handbook and career stories websites to start narrowing the Roster based on interests: