While some students come to our classrooms knowing (or thinking they know) exactly what they want to pursue for a career, many others do not. Students who do not know what they want to do my have so many interests that they find it difficult to narrow their options. Others have just never given it any thought. Still others will say they know only that they majored in a business field because it seemed a more secure path to employment than, say, majoring in philosophy; but now that they’re looking at “real” employment, they don’t know what they are interested in or what to pursue.
Not knowing exactly what one wants to do for a living can be terrifying. I don’t think this is such a bad thing—especially at this point in a student’s life If students go through college thinking they know exactly what they want to do, they may close themselves off to other worthwhile possibilities.
At some point, though, students do have to begin the process deciding what they want to do beyond college. To help students refine their interests and expectations for career or internship employment, they could be required to do a bit of self assessment as part of a résumé and cover letter assignment. A school’s career services office may offer some more thorough inventories, but if you want just a quick inventory, here are a few sites you may find useful:
(For what it’s worth, when I took these tests, the results indicated that I should be a writer or a teacher.)
Including introspection in the job search process may reassure, delight, surprise, or alarm our students, but as a result, they may think more carefully about and plan more carefully for life after college.