Look Before You Leap: Self Evaluate Before Taking the Next Step in Your Career Path

As you help to direct students along the path of education, the likelihood is pretty strong that you will encounter individuals who are looking for direction on the next step in their path: employment.  It stands to reason that students getting ready to graduate want to know what they can actually do with their degree! As a matter of fact, as you engage in continued education and gain valuable work experience in your current role, you might be looking for that next step yourself!  In an article written by Natalie Lundsteen, director of graduate career development and asst. professor of psychiatry at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, titled Why Career Self Assessments Matter, she discusses the value of self reflection prior to sending out applications (or directing students to do the same.)

In this article, Lunsteen focuses on the importance of individuals recognizing what is important to themselves, and asking questions like “what do I enjoy doing” and “what is important in my life”. She discusses several tools that may be valuable to help you take the next step, including:

  • “What Color is Your Parachute”, a book that uses various exercises and activities to guide readers through the important task of discovering what they love to do, which skills they use the most (and most enjoy using), along with what purpose you would like to effectively use those skills  towards and for what type of audience
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): This assessment of personality preferences helps individuals to understand how they, individually, see, interpret and act in the world
  • Strengths Finder: an extensive strengths evaluation tool with a comprehensive guide that helps the individual identify talents and how they influence your life (and how you work)
  • Skills Scan: An individual skill assessment tool, SkillsScan is a card sorting activity that helps to identify and map professional skills
  • myIDP: Developed by scientists for graduate and postdoc students, myIDP is an online assessment tool that helps you build your very own development plan. It considers your skills, your interests and your values to help identify science career paths

Lundsteen also offers a bevy of “let’s get started” questions to help examine individual interests, and serve as a good jumping off place to anyone considering the next step in their learning or career path.

To read the entire article and access links to the tools available, click here.

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