What Career Should I Have? Career Guidance Tools, First Step Toward Meaningful Work

Have you ever thought about what career you should have and how to get there? Is it a career that will be meaningful to you? To find meaningful work, start with personal career guidance to steer yourself in the right direction. However, this can be difficult.

School counselors are often pressed for time. Approaching someone to ask them to mentor you can be intimidating. Often, you might get advice that doesn’t feel personal. You may not know enough about yourself or your interests for any guidance to feel meaningful. Fortunately, there are many online career guidance tools you can use to equip you with information on your journey of self-discovery.


What do career guidance tools do?

A career guidance tool is a powerful combination of a self-discovery assessment and a report. You sign up, fill out a questionnaire (you’ve probably done similar ones to find out if you’re a Gryffindor or a Slytherin, a Stark or a Lannister, what breed of dog you should get, etc.), and, at the press of a button, you suddenly have more knowledge than you know what do with in front of yourself.

That can be overwhelming! So, let’s take a step or two back. Those career questionnaires? They’re a little bit more rigorous (we would say they’re scientifically valid and reliable) than your ordinary BuzzFeed quiz.


Career questionnaires – specifically, these are measures of your interests, values, personality, and/or workplace preferences – are built from decades of research conducted on what traits people possess (using the above measures), what jobs those people do, and whether they enjoy those jobs. The career guidance tool is an extension of this research: You take the same questionnaires and, depending on how your answers match up to everyone else’s, you get your own recommendations. The more information you provide, the better your recommendation (that’s why they can feel like they take forever to complete). There are a few online tools that offer these questionnaires. For example: CareerExplorer by SoKanU, Focus 2 Career by Focus2, and PathwayU.


What should I look for when evaluating my options?

Career guidance tools can leave you hanging. You should look for ones that not only provide you (valid and reliable) questionnaires but also walk you through your results. Scientifically validated questionnaires mean that your results are truly representative of you, and your recommendations are more likely to be accurate and useful to you than most questionnaires. Not every tool is built with validated questionnaires because of the methodological rigor required to create the questionnaires. Both Focus 2 Career by Focus2 and PathwayU offer scientifically validated assessments. PathwayU makes your report immediately available for your use and explains your results in easy-to-understand terms.


What should I expect from any tool?

Career guidance tools should do more for you than just give you a questionnaire, your report, and rankings of career paths. What if the tool also showed you the majors you could study your school or jobs that specifically match your interests? Focus 2 Apply and PathwayU both offer this additional benefit, which puts your scores immediately to use. PathwayU is the only career guidance tool, however, that takes you from A to Z on your journey to find meaningful work.


As an online career guidance tool, PathwayU can help you take that first step toward meaningful work. If you are a parent researching school, major, or career options for your child, you may also be interested in reading about helping your child find their calling using PathwayU. If you are a student already in college or university and have doubts about what you’re studying, you may find our post about figuring out whether you picked the right major useful.