Career Preparation

  • Planning for the future is an ongoing process that you will engage in for your entire lifetime. Career planning has three basic steps that you will cycle through and repeat throughout your working life. Choosing a career is a big decision. Being aware of the process and engaging in it now will help you make better decisions for your future!

    The Three Steps in the Career Planning Process

    Step 1: Get To Know Yourself (learn about yourself—your interests, abilities, and work values)

    • What can help you to achieve your goals? What obstacles could get in your way?
    • What types of work and school activities do you like? What don’t you like?
    • What interests you?
    • What do you do well now, and what skills have you gained through experience?
    • What values do you have regarding work?

    Things you can do now:

    • Talk to an adult you trust and who knows you well about what they think are your strengths and weaknesses.
    • Think about the things that motivate you and the things you want to accomplish.
    • Assess your interests, abilities, and values using Naviance Student.
    • Do one of the paper/pencil assessments available in the College & Career Center.
    • Spend time with people whose activities interest you.
    • Take courses in school that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
    • Develop skills, values and interests by volunteering, joining clubs, and taking classes.

     Step 2: Explore Options and Choose a Direction (learn about careers that relate to what you know about yourself)

    • What classes can help you decide if an occupation is right for you?
    • What is the path you need to take in order to reach your career goals?
    • What can you do now to prepare for the path you are interested in?
    • What obstacles would prevent you from choosing a certain occupation over others?
    • What will you do in a typical workday?
    • What level of education do you need (high school diploma, 2-yr. or 4-yr. college, graduate school)?
    • Where can you get training for this career?
    • What classes would you need to take to prepare (science, foreign language, math, psychology)?
    • Will there be jobs available when you complete the training?
    • How much does this job pay? Can you live the way you want to on that salary?
    • What knowledge and skills are used in this work?
    • Are these knowledge and skill areas in which you are already strong, or will you need additional development?
    • What are the opportunities for advancement in this career?
    • Is the work environment (indoors/outdoors, office/factory, groups/alone) one in which you work well?
    • Does the work require physical activity, and are you willing and able to perform at the level required?

    Things you can do now:

    • Explore careers on Naviance Student.
    • Explore occupations that fit your interests, abilities, and values.
    • Participate in Exploring Posts in your area(s) of interest.
    • Participate in career related workshops/information sessions/field trips.
    • Participate in as many career related opportunities as you can find.
    • See your school counselor and share your ideas.
    • Talk to your parents about your plans.
    • Spend time with people whose activities interest you.
    • Volunteer, join clubs, or work in jobs that interest you.
    • Take courses in school that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
    • Take part-time courses at RIT and/or University of Rochester  that appeal to your interests and will help develop your abilities.
    • Shadow professionals in the workplace who are employed in a field of interest to you.

    Step 3: Make Plans and Take Action

    Consider the things you are doing right now that can affect your plans and take appropriate actions to accomplish your goals.

    • What subjects do you need to study?
    • How will you pay for school or training needed for your desired job?
    • How ready are you to search for a job?
    • Do you need more help?

     Things you can do now:

    • Discuss your career and educational plans with your parents, counselor, or other interested people.
    • Make a checklist of questions to ask if you are visiting schools or workplaces.
    • Explore schools, majors, and job search information on Naviance Family Connection.
    • Make sure the decisions you make now will allow you to pursue you plans.
    • Find out which schools offer the education or training that you need.
    • Discuss co-ops, job shadows and internships with your Counselor or the College & Career Center staff.

    Things Parents Can Do 

    Research shows that parents have the greatest influence on their child's career choices.  A parent knows their child better than anyone else and can be a huge asset to their child while they are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. It is also important to have a career plan in place before investing time, energy and money in college. This is a fact that is often more apparent to an adult than a child. 

    • Encourage your child to discuss career and/or college plans. Be receptive and listen supportively.
    • Help your child explore career and college options and collect as much information as possible.
    • Be supportive of your child, and meet with his or her counselor if you sense that additional help is needed.
    • Encourage your child by helping him or her see the connection between college and career. Emphasize the importance of selecting a major that will help him or her prepare for a career.
    • If your child is undecided about a career direction, help him or her look into all the possibilities. Naviance Student can help suggest career paths that may fit better than others.
    • Encourage your child to participate in opportunities that will allow him or her to learn more about careers of interest.
    • To be aware of these opportunities, read The Counseling Connection newsletter, and monitor the CCC Web page regularly.
    • Be aware that your child may change his or her career interest as he or she is exposed to more careers. Continue to encourage your child as career choices change. The more informed he or she is, the better his or her career choices will be.
    • Be aware of application deadlines for colleges, scholarships and financial aid. Keep dates on a calendar that both you and your child can monitor.