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Brad Minton, MS, LPC, NCC

Career and Academic Counselor, Instructor, Speaker

Reproduced with permission from author

Minton, B. (2016, September 9).3 Questions You’re Not Asking That Will Guide Your Career Choice. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com

Working with teenagers and young adults everyday who are coming to college is extremely rewarding, and educational to say the least. Being a career counselor, I have the task of helping students discover their education and career path. The one thing that I have come to discover in the process of helping them is their ideas about career are usually fairly vague.

That in and of itself is not the issue.  Most experts agree that as many as half of all college freshman have not solidified their major and/or career choice, and 75% will end up changing their path as they work towards their degree. Uncertainty is a completely understandable and expected aspect of being a new college student.

However, over time, eventually students will start attempting to gain more clarity on their vision for the future and it is here where the problems arise. Generally the first mistake they make is simply choosing a major or career path too hastily, rather than doing the necessary self-exploration. They feel compelled to simply “choose one”, and unfortunately, it is this rush to decision that leads so many to change their majors two and three times before graduation. They simply didn’t understand what they were getting into.

If they are in fact, taking some valuable time to process their decisions, they still can falter and get off track. How? By simply asking themselves the wrong questions.

Because we tend to associate our work and our careers with time spent (roughly a third of our adult life), one of the first questions students tend to ask is “Will I like what I’m doing?”, or “Will I have an interest in it?”. While interest is absolutely a necessary ingredient to career satisfaction, the question that needs to be asked is “Will this career give me fulfillment?“. You can have interest in a lot of things but they may not fulfill you in a career unless you find the modality which allows you to combine both your interests and your values. Values are the key ingredient which most closely leads to fulfillment because they speak to your soul. They are characteristics of you that cannot be easily negotiated. Interests and values can conflict. If I have a value for autonomy and an interest in computers, I could end up feeling restricted because it may not give me the independence I need depending on the type of work and setting. So again, the deeper question is not what is just going to interest me, but what is going to fulfill me.

A second question students ask themselves often is “What do I want to do?”. The reason this question is often not going to provide as much substance to their career choices is that is focuses more on activities rather than purpose. You can give anyone tasks to complete and they will do it……for a period of time. Eventually, the question will arise of why does it matter? Knowing what to do, works in the short term, but knowing why will ultimately make it last, because the why determines the level of investment by giving the activities a purpose. The key question that students must get to is “Why do I want to do…?”

The third question that tends to come up a lot is “What do I want to get?”. Students are focused in on the perks of working: salary, vacations, retirement, advancement, independence, etc. The main reason why this is of less importance is simply because all of those things will change with time and location. How much money you think you should be earning will change as you advance. Technology will ultimately change how you work. Your level of advancement will change. You’re colleagues will change. Everything in the labor market is moving at a tremendous speed and constantly evolving, thus whatever monetary gain you get from it, is subject to the same. The deeper question you have to ask is not what I want to get, but “What do I want to give?“.

By asking yourself this vital question it ties into your fulfillment AND purpose on the deepest level of all. Giving is the ultimate sacrifice, and when we decide to give, we make the resolution that it is for a higher purpose than ourselves. What you choose to give the world is your way of making your unique mark which builds you up, plus it will provide you with more satisfaction than anything you could get, because you’ve fully committed to the purpose that fulfills you.

Additional note:  We hope that you enjoyed Brad Minton’s article.  Get more information about career exploration tools!

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Are you looking for solutions to answer the question “How do I make different career choices”?

Use our three career discovery steps to make right career choices.

Step One: Get a Clear Career Goal

The first step in making career choices is setting a career goal.

In order to set a career goal, you have to take inventory of yourself to determine what you can offer an employer.

You need to –

  • Build awareness, knowledge and understanding of our strengths, interests, abilities, and skills
  • List your ambitions, values, education, and experiences
  • Determine your job preferences –job duties, salary, geographic location, and work conditions

Step Two: Explore Career Options

In order to make a career choice, you will need to career exploration resources to gather the following occupational information –

  • Labor market
  • Work industries
  • Companies, organizations, or agencies
  • Specific careers

Use online career exploration resources to identify potential careers.

Step Three: Overcome Career Roadblocks

When you are trying to reach your goal, there may be obstacles.  You solve career problems by completing the following steps –

  • Identify educational and career planning obstacles
  • Create solutions or courses of action
  • Set achievable goals
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Commit to reach our goals

Problem solving should take into consideration personal interests, skills, values, and financial resources. Big problems are broken down into smaller, more manageable steps. Achievable goals result in the production of new competencies, attitudes, and solutions.

As an individual, you:

  • Set, formulate, prioritize, and rank goals
  • Clearly state our vocational interests, abilities, and values
  • Derive plans or strategies to implement the solutions
  • Make a commitment to complete the plans
  • Understand decision-making processes
  • Evaluate the primary choice
  • Consider a secondary occupational choice, if necessary

Decision-making processes include:

  • Develop a career plan
  • Identify potential occupations
  • Selecting appropriate educational programs
  • Figuring the costs of educational training
  • Considering the impact of career decisions.

Step Four: Execution
You execute your career plans when you use different strategies –

  • Reality testing
  • Social Media
  • Job Search Strategies – Resume Writing and Interview Preparation

Reality Testing
While implementing and, you translate vocational interests, abilities, and skills into job opportunities. You do reality testing by implementing the following strategies –

  • Informational interviewing
  • Networking
  • Job shadowing
  • Internships
  • Part-time employment
  • Full-time employment
  • Volunteer work

Social Media and Networking Tools
Networking can help you validate your career choices.  You can use a variety of social media tools to learn and connect with professional associations and potential employers. Major networking social media tools are –

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Facebook

We are specialists in career social media.

Ready to assess your interest and skills…

What is your code?

How do your interests relate to potential careers and possible college majors?

Are you an Artist Creator, Conventional Organizer, Enterprising Leader, Investigative Thinker, Realistic Doer and Social Helper?

Artistic Creator


Artistic Creators like to – —

  • Write stories, poems, or other creative writings
  • —Enjoy the arts, theater, and dance
  • —Play musical instruments
  • —Like to paint or sculpt

Facts about Artistic Creators

  • Characteristics: Complicated, Original, Impulsive, Independent, Expressive, Creative
  • Strengths: Uses imagination and feelings in creative expression
  • Potential Careers: Artist, Musician, Actor/ Actress, Designer, Writer, Photographer
  • Possible College Majors: Art, Theater, Graphic Design, Music, Journalism, Communication

Conventional Organizer

Conventional Organizers like to – —

  • Put things in order
  • Attend to detail
  • Handle things in a systematic manner
  • Desire to be efficient

Facts about Conventional Organizers

  • Characteristics: Careful, Conforming, Conservative, Conscientious, Self-controlled, Structured
  • Strengths: Orders activities paying attention to details
  • Potential Careers: Accountant, Banker, Editor, Office Manager, Librarian, Medical Laboratory Assistant
  • Possible College Majors: Business, Accounting, Management

Enterprising Leader

Enterprising Leaders like to –

  • Manage people and projects
  • Persuade, take action, set goals
  • Work well in groups
  • Sell products and services

— Facts about Enterprising Leaders

  • Characteristics: Persuasive, Energetic, Sociable, Adventurous, Ambitious, Risk-taking
  • Strengths: Leads, manages, and organizes
  • Potential Careers: Manager, Producer, Lawyer, Business/ Marketing, Executive, Entrepreneur, Principal
  • Possible College Majors: Pre-Law, Business Management and Administration, International Business, Political Science

Investigative Thinkers

Investigative Thinkers like to –

  • Like to invent or research
  • Solve problems
  • Work with ideas
  • Use computers
  • Love knowledge

Facts about Investigative Thinkers

  • Characteristics: Analytical, Intellectual, Reserved, Independent, Scholarly, Judgmental
  • Strengths: Works with abstract ideas and intellectual problems
  • Potential Careers: Biologist, Chemist, Historian, Researcher, Doctor, Mathematician
  • Possible College Majors: Biology, Chemistry, Nursing, Pre-Medicine, Mathematics, History

Realistic Doers

Realistic Doers like to –

  • Like working with tools or machines
  • Prefer to work outdoors
  • Enjoy playing sports

Facts about Realistic Doers

  • Characteristics: Frank, Practical, Focused, Mechanical, Determined, Rugged
  • Strengths: Manipulates tools, Possesses mechanical, manual, or athletic ability
  • Potential Careers: Craftsman, Fitness Trainer, Optician, Policemen, Fire Fighter, Physical Education Teacher
  •  Possible College Majors: Justice Studies, Fire Science, Athletic Training, Martial Arts, Corporate Fitness, Physical Education

Social Helpers

Social Helpers like to –

  • Like to teach and serve
  • Are good listeners and communicators
  • Work well in groups
  • Show empathy

Facts about Social Helpers

  • Characteristics: Helping, Informing, Teaching, Inspiring, Counseling, Serving
  • Strengths: Interacts with people, concerned with the welfare of people
  • Potential Careers: Teacher, Clergy, Coach, Therapist, Nurse, Counselor, Sociologist
  • Possible College Majors: Nursing, Counseling, Social Science, Education

Interested in finding your code …

Go to bit.ly/29EUm0J

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  • Easy to navigate
  • Screen customized for phones, ipads, and computers
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  • Immediate access career tests and downloads
  • FREE gift for visitors
  • Social media connections

Connect and share ideas with us.

Join us on Snapchat (careerandsocial)!


Summer is a time for Reflection, Growth and Renewal


 Take the time to reevaluate where you are and what you are doing.


What are your interests, abilities and skills?


Do those interests, abilities and skills match your current job?


If not, is it time to make a change? What are your plans to reach your career goals?


Trying to make a decision, but there are so many choices.

We are providing you with information about the top 5 career tests .  All of these resources will help –

  • Build awareness of the interests, abilities and skills.
  • Provide resources to explore careers. Learn about salaries, job duties, job outlook, training requirements, and more.
  • Research colleges to find our information about admission requirements, available programs, tuition, learning options (on-camous or online), payment options, scholarships, and more.



  • Format: On-Line
  • Reading Level: Youth/ Adult/ Children
  • Subject Area: Personality Styles, Occupations


My Career Profile

  • Format: On-Line
  • Reading Level: Youth/ Adult/ Children
  • Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Abilities/Skills, Values
  • Databases: Occupations and Colleges/ Universities



Self Directed Search

  • Format: Printed/On-Line
  • Reading Level: Youth/ Adult/ Children
  • Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Occupations


Strong Interest Inventory®

  • Format: On-Line
  • Reading Level: Youth/ Adult/ Children
  • Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Occupations


Career Decision Making Tool

  • Format: On-Line
  • Reading Level: High school student, college student, adult
  • Subject Area: Holland Codes, Interests, Occupations
  • Databases: Occupations and Colleges/ Universities
  • Best Buy:  Immediate access, customizable, comparable to more expensive inventories


We are here to help you at explorecareersandcollegemajors.com!

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