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Introduction to Interest Searching

Reflecting upon your interests is a key part of continuous career resources management. If you’re seeking a significant career change, exploring your interests can help give you direction. However, even if you’re not looking to make a career move, identifying your interests and taking steps to engage in new experiences can help you perform at higher levels, grow your network, and open the door to opportunities. Essentially, thinking about your interests is always beneficial for both you and organizations with which you associate.

Talking about interests necessitates a discussion about skills. Whereas interests refer to things you like to do or think you may like to do, skills refer to abilities you have learned to do well through training and experience. Ideally, what you want to do and what you are capable of doing should match. Values are another important concept to consider. Values, such as flexibility, autonomy, salary, and creativity, refer to your beliefs about what is important in your work.

There are infinite ways that you can explore interests, develop skills, and discover values. Perhaps you can take on a different type of project in your current position, join a professional association, engage in volunteer work, enroll in a course, or conduct informational interviews with professionals doing jobs you’d like to learn about.

Keep in mind that as people grow and change, their career interests grow and change too. Being proactive about your interests will help you stay self-aware and prepare you for the next step in your career, whatever form that may take.

Helpful Tools:

Interest Searching Resources

O*NET

O*NET is an online resource for occupational information. Its database contains information on hundreds of professions. O*NET also offers interactive tools for the purpose of career exploration and searching.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an online personality assessment. Knowing and understanding your personality can help guide your career planning.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is also an online resource. Its occupational profiles provide fast facts, data, and descriptions about a vast number of professions.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

This bestselling book includes a strengths assessment as well as hundreds of strategies for applying strengths.