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Career Planning and Exploration

There are three primary steps in choosing a career: 

  1. Self Assessment
  2. Researching Careers
  3. Decision Making and Preparation

The starting point for choosing a career is self-assessment. It is much better to start with yourself and then search for a career that fits you, rather than picking a career and trying to fit into the career. It is practically impossible to change yourself to fit into a career. It is much easier to change your career to fit you. If you know what you are good at doing, what you enjoy doing, and what you feel is most important to you in life, then you are on much firmer ground in finding a career that fits you.

If you would like additional information, or feel the assessments offered may assist in your career decision-making, please contact our office at 843.953.5692 or CareerCenter@cofc.edu.

Self-Assessment Tools Available through the Career Center

FOCUS *

Access to FOCUS is restricted to currently enrolled College of Charleston students and alumni.  You should download the login information with information on setting up an account before beginning FOCUS.

FOCUS is one of the top career and educational planning systems, as recognized by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). FOCUS helps provide you with the personalized career planning and educational planning information needed to make well-informed decisions in these important areas, including confirmation that your choice of academic major is appropriate and that you are preparing for an appropriate career path.

FOCUS is based on proven career advising principles. It provides you with a complete picture of your interests, values, skills, and personality, using self-assessment questionnaires, interest inventories, and personality testing. After this assessment, the program uses an extensive career and occupational information database to help you identify and explore occupations and career paths that best match your personal characteristics. This information is also useful as you identify appropriate career mentors.

*PLEASE NOTE: We have upgraded to a new version of FOCUS! If you have previously created an ID & password prior to 7/31/08, you will need to register again. You will be given an opportunity to transfer your data from your old FOCUS account.

Strong Interest Inventory

This inventory is particularly good in helping you identify fields that match your interests. The Career Center offers an online version of the Strong Interest Inventory, which requires about 30 minutes to complete. Results from the computer version are available within 24 hours. An appointment with a Career Center counselor is required to interpret the results of this assessment.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This instrument can be helpful in the career decision-making process by matching your personality to work and learning environment. A full description of personality type is provided, along with a list of career suggestions that fit that personality. The MBTI is administered online and the results are available within 24 hours. It takes about 45 minutes to complete, and requires an appointment with a Career Center Counselor to interpret the results.

Individual Career Counseling

Individual assistance with any phase of the career planning/job search process is available to you. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with a staff member to discuss your individual concerns.

Self-Assessment Checklist

The checklists on the tip sheets are designed to help you identify some of your best skills, interests, and work values. Remember, the more you know about yourself, the better you will be able to fit a career to you.

Related Links

Researching Careers

Once you have completed your self-assessment, your next step is to explore occupations by doing any or all of the following:

READ about careers. The Career Center has a number of written resources, including the Encyclopedia of Careers, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and others which describe career fields, required education, education, salary ranges, and outlook for employment in our Career Resource Library.  

Related Links


LISTEN to talks or presentations about careers. The Career Center collaborates with academic departments and Alumni Services to bring alumni from highlighted majors to campus to discuss their career paths with you. Contact the Career Center for scheduled programs, and check the events calendar.

TALK to people about their careers. The Career Center and LinkedIn have made it easy for you to do this by providing the College of Charleston Alumni & Student Career Network group on LinkedIn. The group includes alumni who are willing to offer career assistance and advice to College of Charleston students.  In addition to being able to connect with alumni in the group, students can also connect with other alumni on LinkedIn by searching items such as keywords, location, job title, company, industry, and school.  This provides a great opportunity for arranging informational interviews with alumni to learn more about certain industries, career paths associated with majors, graduate schools, or geographic locations.  Alumni can share information and insights about their career field as well as names of associates and businesses who might be interested in speaking with a potential employee, but please do not expect them to find a job for you.

Decision Making and Preparation

It is highly likely that you will work in several different careers (not just jobs - careers) in the course of your lifetime, you are not irrevocably committing yourself to a specific path right now.  Once you've narrowed your choices, gain relevant experience through internships, volunteering, and/or working in your careers of interest.  These experiences will not only allow you to gain resume-building experience, but will also help you develop contacts with professionals in the organizations of interest to you.

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