Interest and Career Exploration

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

The point is to identify a range of skills and interests so that the student can do something after high school. Within their range of skills and interests, what jobs might pay the rent?

Skills, abilities & interest inventories

Career exploration tools specific to New Hampshire

  • Mapping Bright Futures for New Hampshire is a new mapping tool from NHED  that uses GIS mapping to identify locally available high-wage, high-demand occupations in each county, as well as CTE programs associated with those occupations. It is not super user-friendly yet, but poke around – it’s interesting to compare jobs in different counties.
  • The Career Planning Guide 2020-2030 (PDF, 81 pages, 2022) from NH Employment Security describes 770 occupations, along with employment, job outlook, average wage, skills, and education needed. Orientation on how to use the Career Planning Guide.
  • Let’s Tacobout Hospitality (PDF, 41 pages, 2021) is a hospitality career exploration guide developed by Explore NH Careers, a collaboration of the hospitality industry in New Hampshire.
  • NH labor market information from the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau of New Hampshire Employment Security.
  • Career Resources is a page on the NH Employment Security site with resources linked to a career planning process.

National career exploration tools

  • 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.
  • Khan Academy offers much more than math courses. Check out their career exploration and life skill courses, all free.
  • 50 Videos for Career Path Explorations is a series of fun videos exploring careers in sciences, arts, sales, and religion.
  • 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 is now available as a free app, CareerInfo, on Apple IOS and Android.
  • Another way to sort jobs is with Career Clusters and pathways, a framework used by many schools and state agencies.  Clusters, Pathways, and BLS: Connecting career information explains the links between BLS SOC-based career information and Career Clusters and pathways. Career Wonders, from South Dakota, presents similar information in a friendly graphical style.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Career development theories

Career interests change over a lifetime

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.

New content 4/30/24