Countdown to a Career You’ll Love

With high school graduation right around the corner, you need a plan for the mission of your life.
As you count down to your last years, months and weeks, use these questions to guide you to your next destination: a career you’ll love—or at least like.

3. What interests you? It’s easy to be distracted by those “highest-paying careers” lists, or even by a good starting salary straight out of high school, without thinking about what you really like to do and how your values, preferences and personality can shape your success in your jobs.
Don’t settle for just any job or career. Find one that fits you. This is a great time to take a career interest inventory online or in your school counseling office to see where you might find the most happiness and satisfaction.
One place to start: Indiana Career Explorer takes you through career assessments, ways to explore occupations, training and education options, tools to create cover letters, resumes, a shareable e-Portfolio and numerous job search tools. You can use it for life, throughout every stage of education and through career transitions. Even better: After you set up an account, the first career assessment takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

2. What’s realistic? You may want to be a doctor, but is it realistic to think you can get through medical school if you hate high school science? Or to decide you don’t need to further your education because the late Apple founder Steve Jobs famously quit college?
You can probably see the lack of logic behind these career ideas. When choosing a college and career path, pay attention to your heart and your head. Don’t listen to the negative voices—in your own head or from people around you—that tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals and dreams. But be practical, too. Take a look at the job market and career outlook information and factor in what it might cost in terms of time and money to enter the field, and what the likely payoff might be. Trust that, eventually, and maybe with a few mistakes along the way, you’ll figure out how to balance doing what you love with the risks and rewards.
Visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook can help you find career information, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations. You can browse high-paying, fast-growing jobs, or browse featured occupations that you may never have thought of. Recently featured: wind turbine service technicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapy assistants and rehabilitation counselors. My Next Move from O*Net Online and the U.S. Department of Labor starts with some basic questions, like “What do you want to do for a living?” to start your career quest. Sort careers according to your interests, or how much prep you’ll need, from on-the-job-training to apprenticeships to advanced degrees

1.What should I do next? Work on finding something you like to do and get paid for doing it. For most people, that means going beyond a high school diploma and seeking education and training at the next level—or maybe several levels.
Make a list of specific steps to take. Your list might include:

  • job shadowing and informational interviews with professionals;
  • meeting with a college admissions representative or recruiting officer;
  • investigating the requirements to earn a specific degree or credential;
  • applying to colleges or programs that match your abilities and career interests; and
  • getting practical experience at school, in an internship, or a part-time job

Want to learn more? will help get you started on a plan for the life and career you want.

Internships are a great way to try out jobs and develop your skills, even for high school students. Talk to your school counselor if you are interested in finding an internship opportunity. Indiana INTERNnet can connect you with thousands of Indiana organizations across the state, 1063 internship opportunities, and established programs at 411 Indiana high schools. Indiana INTERNnet makes it easy to search and apply for internships all on one site. Just create a free student profile to get started. Then, use the advanced internship search to find an internship by keyword, job category, location and more. Check back frequently—new internships are added all the time.

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