Interest and Career Goal Identification

Definition: All students are a part of a process to identify and articulate areas of interest and career goals annually.


  • skills, abilities, and interest inventories
  • career exploration tools
  • labor market information
  • career development theory information for educators and parents
  • interests will change over a lifetime
  • The Career Planning Guide (PDF, 85 pages, 2012) from NH Employment Security describes 658 occupations, along with employment, job outlook, average wage, skills, and education needed. Link to a table of job titles(available as a PDF or Excel file) for easier cross-referencing.
  • NH labor market information from the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau of New Hampshire Employment Security. They maintain the ALMIS (American Labor Market Information System) database using data produced by the Bureau plus a variety of public sources.
  • Career exploration resources is a series of links on the NH Employment Security site, and well worth some exploring!
  • List of possible career pathways developed by NH Department of Education, with examples of occupations related to each pathway and sample course progressions from high school to two-year degree to bachelor’s degree.
  • Vermont / New Hampshire Career Development Association (CDA), a new organization in 2016.
  • My Next Move is a very user friendly and inviting front end to the comprehensive O*Net Online system, a massive site for exploring and searching occupations.
  • Today’s Military was developed by the United States Department of Defense as a resource for parents, educators, and young adults.  It’s informational, not recruitment. Includes interviews with active-duty service members who talk about the challenges and rewards of military service, and interactive tools to explore the range of military career opportunities.
  • Virginia Career VIEW (Vital Information for Education and Work) is Virginia’s career information delivery site for all students in grades K-8. Lots of good career exploration resources, including games and videos, all aimed at elementary and middle school students.
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) and other career resources from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) group jobs using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The OOH is a nationally recognized guide to browse occupations many different ways, including fastest growing and level of required education. Another way to sort jobs is with Career Clusters and pathways, a framework used by many schools and state agencies. Both methods of organizing career information are helpful, especially used together. Clusters, Pathways, and BLS: Connecting career information explains the links between BLS SOC-based career information and Career Clusters and pathways.
  • Online quarterly magazine published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics covering a wide array of topics: Career Outlook. Two particularly good archives are You’re a What? (profiles of out-of-the-ordinary jobs) and Interview with a … (short interviews of people about their jobs).
  • Who Do You Want 2B?: quizzes, videos, and games to help identify 15 career pathways, from the California Dept. of Education.
  • The US Department of Labor sponsors a comprehensive site, Career OneStop. Job seekers, students, veterans, guidance counselors, and others can search career options, training, and actual job listings. Career videos (3-5 minutes) from CareerOneStop show the types of work people do in nearly 550 careers and videos for the 16 clusters recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Internet sites for career planning: National Career Development Association. Easy-to-navigate menu with links to many areas.

High school students contemplating life and work after graduation can be overwhelmed by choices.  It helps to remember a few basics:

  • You can always change your mind. You can even fail. No experience is wasted. In fact, today’s high school graduate will probably have five or more “careers” in the coming decades.
  • A successful work life requires collaboration, communication, and adaptability. These abilities are as important as job-specific  skills, and you carry them with you as you change jobs.
  • Your creative and intellectual abilities will only expand as you grow older and your world enlarges. In other words, it gets better.
  • If you aren’t sure what your strengths are and what you might be good at, ask a trusted mentor or teacher for an honest evaluation of your people skills, not just your academic skills. Go with your strengths.

Updated 2-7-17