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The California Career Center. Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action!

Discovering Your Interests and Skills

The first step in setting career goals and creating a plan is figuring out what you are interested in and what you are good at doing. You may already know what you like and you may already have developed some interests and skills, such as working with animals, working with computers, playing an instrument, helping other people, or keeping up with the latest fashions. But there may be areas you aren’t aware of that you may want to explore.

A good place to start your career planning is at your high school career center. Your school counselor or career center technician can help you with interest and skills inventories.

There are also a number of online resources you can use. The California CareerZone is a one-stop shop for information about more than 900 occupations including the necessary level of education, wages, occupational outlook, and a list of college majors that can put you on the track for your chosen career. It also contains assessments that will help you identify your personal interests, skills, and values to discover occupations that could be a good match for you.

In addition to the California CareerZone, here are three additional online resources: 1) Make Money Choices; 2) the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH); 3) and Roadtrip Nation. Here's a summary of what you can get from each resource:

Make Money Choices
After high school you will need to work to pay for housing, transportation, clothes, and many other things. Use Making Money Choices to build a budget for the lifestyle you’d like to live. Then look for occupations that will help you pay for that lifestyle. Make Money Choices Workbook (PDF)

Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)   
This U.S. government site provides information about hundreds of jobs. Information includes: Training and education needed; Earnings; Expected job openings; What people do on the job; and, Working conditions. Go to the OOH index page and make a list of ten jobs that look interesting to you. Then, read the descriptions and make notes about those jobs to help you build your list of potential occupations to research.

Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation is a movement that inspires people to define their own roads in life by doing what they love. Roadtrippers have interviewed inspirational leaders from all walks of life to find out how they built lives around their passions. Learn more on how you can engage in the Roadtrip Nation Movement. You can Watch the Roadtrip Nation public television series and "Participate in the Movement" to share your voice in Roadtrip Nation’s online community.