“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing a civilian career. If you’re an IT or finance type and you like that work, you’re all set. If not, you have an important decision to make. When I talk to veterans or military personnel considering their next career, I sometimes hear “I’ll do anything” or even “I don’t know what I want to do”. Never say that to a prospective employer (or even someone who might be a good contact). Employers want people who aren’t just focused; they want people who are excited about their careers. How do you do that if you’re uncertain? Here are some possible (free) self-evaluations:
- O*NET Online (http://www.onetonline.org/) – This career resource guides participants toward career choices by industry, business fields, skills, keywords, and other criteria to assist with the process.
- Carolyn Kalil (http://www.innerheroes.com/quiz.asp) – A short (5 minute) personality assessment that, if you like the preliminary results, you can get the full personality for a nominal fee.
- Dr. John Holland (http://personality-testing.info/tests/RIASEC.php) – In addition to the 5-10 minute test, there is a link to a couple dozen related tests (if you’re really into that sort of thing).
- “Career Interests Game” (http://career.missouri.edu/career-interest-game) – This test helps reveal a career aptitude persona that can identify several interests and is based on Dr. Holland’s test (above).
There are also professional career counselors who can help, but oftentimes there’s no sky writing that will lead you to the perfect choice. Attending trade shows, profession trade associations, and talking to those who have already made their career transition can go a long way toward making the best decision.