Career Exploration and Self-Assessment

Career Exploration is quite simply learning about careers, industries, and roles that align with your career preferences. These preferences are the combination of your interests, values, and skills. The process of exploring potential careers can be daunting. I often get the question, “where do I start?”. This blog post addresses one of the main starting points for career exploration – self-assessment.

Self-assessment is the process of identifying your values, interests, and skills. Regarding values, it is incredibly important to reflect on what matters to you and what ideal environment and circumstances do you need to bring you joy and meaning in the world of work. Everyone has their own unique set of values. It could be a preference for working in teams rather than autonomously. Perhaps, you’d like to work somewhere aesthetically pleasing or maybe you’d like to engage in work that contributes to helping society. Identifying your values can help you find alignment in the work you pursue. This Values Worksheet can help you get started.

There is a plethora of tools and resources to help you identify your skills, interests, values, and preferences. Some can be self-administered, and others must be administered by a counselor who is trained to use the tool and can help you interpret the results like the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. It is important to note that these resources do not tell you what your perfect career will be, but they can be useful tools for self-reflection and to help you articulate what matters to you in the context of career exploration.

Career Explorer is a free resource that provides a variety of tools and resources including a career assessment which gives insight into your unique personality based on over 200 aspects of your personality. Along with detailed information on careers and degrees, Career Explorer also has a community resource via Discord.

There are also resources for PhDs who are exploring career paths outside of academic research such as MyIDP, and for PhDs in the humanities and social sciences ImaginePhD is a resource for skills, interests, and values assessment.

Additional resources for current Penn students and alumni can be found on the Career Services website.


By Jackie Moriniere
Jackie Moriniere Senior Associate Director, Employer Relations