Exploring Careers

One of the first steps into career exploration is identifying one’s skills and interests. Being able to identify and describe skills prepares students to answer key questions at job interviews such as "What can you do for my organization?" and "What problems can you solve?"

Aligning these skills and interests to careers help students identify possible career or industry paths. In the workplace, there are two kinds of skills essential for success: soft skills and technical skills (often called hard skills).

Soft skills

Employers want employees who fit in and get along well in the workplace. That requires soft skills. These are so valuable that soft skills are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote an employee. Some soft skills are learned in everyday life, but do not underestimate the school’s crucial role in the development of these skills as well. A well-planned and executed work-based learning project will teach students important soft skills, such as:

  • communicate well
  • think critically
  • participate as a team member
  • self-motivated
  • flexible
  • determined and persistent
  • quick learner
  • being on time

Technical skills

The ability to accomplish specific tasks like cooking, computer programming, or fixing a car, are called technical skills. They relate to a particular occupation. For most students, the technical skills learned during work-based learning experiences will be some of the first times gaining specific career-related skills. Some students may begin to recognize certain skills and interests during this time that will set them on a career path. Students will continue to learn and refine their technical skills as they progress through career-based education, college, and on the job site.

  • build a cabinet
  • design a structure
  • paint a portrait
  • write computer code
  • operate equipment
  • teach a lesson
  • investigate a scientific question
  • sell products to customers

The CareerOneStop.org Skills Profiler is an online tool that helps students identify their skills and interests and match them to career. Students can also use the CareerOneStop.org to Explore Particular Careers. Each career page allows students to research a career, it’s availability, education needed, wages, and more.

CareerOneStop.org also has a full list of the hundreds of Video Career Profiles for students. Career videos are organized into 16 clusters, or related types of work

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