Career Services – Finding Direction

Finding Direction: Using Self-Assessments When Your Major is not a Roadmap to a Career

Written by Elizabeth Mimms

Without a solid idea of career aspirations, you can head down many paths of uncertainty if your coursework did not direct you into a particular field of employment. With that in mind, how do you put your degree in perspective of employment choices? When your major is not a roadmap to a career, you still have hundreds of options and employers interested in hiring a college graduate. The key is to not get lost and overwhelmed along the way of discovering your niche. One way to narrow down your occupational research is to take a career aptitude assessment. This tool helps to gauge personalized interests, values, and preferences surrounding a career.  A self-assessment can be very helpful identifying the right career that aligns with your unique goals and talents, increasing your satisfaction with your career plan, and uncovering potential roadblocks to success based on work environments and personality conflicts. With that self-understanding beneath your belt, you can begin to create a roadmap to success.


CSU Career Services is pleased to provide assessment and research tools through CareerQuest, a comprehensive online career management system hosted by Career Services and located in the myCSU Student Portal. There, you can put your resources and education to use in securing your dream career. There are two resources, Career Finder and Career Explorer, within CareerQuest pertaining to assessment, both located under the Resources tab.

Career Finder can help you explore your work interests based on the Holland theory discussed in the Interest Inventories overview. Then, a list of relevant job titles points out relevant careers you might want to explore. The old adage “birds of a feather flock together” is a good way to think about this assessment because it supposes that if you enjoy the type of work you do and the type of people you work with, the outcome will be overall career satisfaction.

You can use the Career Explorer feature to research popular careers or leading industries. If you are unsure which industry would suit you best, narrow your search by choosing filters such as projected growth, level of preparation or jobs with career field for the environment or with a projected bright outlook. The source of Career Explorer information is the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online:  O*Net provides tailored, state specific salary information and links to relevant occupations if you are unsure about your career direction. O*Net also details expected knowledge, skills and abilities within a particular field, and lists multiple job titles used to describe a position.

Are you up to the challenge of figuring out what you want to do next? Are you looking for a little direction to help get you started? Follow the next three steps to use Career Explorer, Career Finder and O*Net together to obtain a more holistic view of your work-related self.

1. Take the Career Finder Assessment. By taking this assessment, you will better understand your interest inventory and receive your unique personality assessment based on three out of the six Holland personality types.

2. Use the Career Explorer feature to identify jobs of interest.  Once you have selected a job title of interest, Career Finder will provide the projected growth potential, average wage/salary information and an in-depth job overview including relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and educational expectations.

3. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online at Enter the job title of interest to access specific information on career assessment matches, state-specific tailored salary information and relevant occupations.

Before you login to CareerQuest, think about what kind of information you want to gain from the experience.  A great way to start thinking about the outcomes of career assessments is to ask yourself the following questions:

• What strengths and talents do I want to use every day on the job?

• Are there aspects of work that I definitely do not want to do?

• How will my career choices compliment other facets of my personality?

• How can the results of an assessment help shape my career goals?

Once you have determined your relevant skill sets and interests, you can do anything you set your mind to. To assist in that, Career Services is here to provide you with resources to reach your career-related goals. Many of the resources available can help identify degree-specific career paths and help prevent stalling due to being overwhelmed with choices.  At this time, we do not guarantee job offers, nor do we place individuals into positions.

Contact A Career Development Counselor Call 877.297.6192 extension 6551 or
Career Services Office hours   8 a.m.– 5 p.m. CST Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. CST Friday 

Author: lucinda.taylor

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