But wouldn’t you hate missing out on a great career just because you didn't dig deep enough? Don’t be intimidated by massive databases of jobs or giant encyclopedias of career options. The internet makes exploration a little easier. Here are 5 steps to be smart and efficient in your career exploration – without leaving stones unturned.
1. Learn about Holland’s Theory of Career Choice and how identifying your personality type(s) helps you choose a more satisfying career. This theory will help guide your thinking about what careers might be right for you.
2. Narrow your choices to careers that match your top two Holland personality types measured by a valid interest inventory. Don't cross off a career because of concerns about your finances or abilities. You'll address those issues later when you have more information to make an informed choice. Ask yourself:
- Are there any careers I think match my personality but are not listed? Write them down and do searches for their key words using our recommended resources below.
- Am I interested in starting a business? If so, what kinds of business opportunities are related to the matching careers I see listed?
- How do I combine personality types in a career? To see an example, read about how Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, the Career Key’s author, combined his top two Holland personality types or “differing gifts” in one job.
- Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Outlook Handbook has “Related Occupations” links at the bottom of a career description. If you find a related career you like, click on it and it will have its own “related occupations” link – follow these links as far as you want.
- DOL's Career Guide to Industries. Explore the industries that most closely relate to your personality. Don’t hesitate to look at an area about which you know little.
- Use your favorite search engine. You might get more ideas from blogs, association websites, Wikipedia and Knol entries. Remember that just because it's on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true - so go to diverse sources, including real people (see next step).
5. About each alternative, keep asking yourself, how does this job fit with my personality? Are there a lot of supervisory duties that make it more Social than I would like? Is there a way to combine my top two personality types in one career?
For more ideas, you’ll find over 12,000 careers organized by Holland personality types in your local library; go to the Reference section and ask for the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Titles by Dr. Gary Gottfredson and Dr. John Holland. Unfortunately you can only find it in book form, not online. But although it’s a large book, you’ll only be looking at a few sections and just skimming through it will spark some ideas.
Don't be overwhelmed by the options you have; celebrate them by narrowing your search in a thoughtful way. By doing your online and book research and talking with people working in interesting industries, you will broaden your options. Only then can you say you’ve left no stone unturned – and you can make a decision you won’t regret.