Jamal Sohail

Student Career Counseling Part One: Finding your fit

Embarking on your career journey can be both thrilling and daunting, so let's work on the first step - finding your fit.

Choosing a career path can feel overwhelming. Countless options exist, and figuring out where you fit in can be a challenge. 

Career counseling can be your guide, helping you navigate this process and discover a career that aligns with your unique strengths, interests, and values.

This article focuses on the first crucial step: finding your fit. This stage is essential for understanding yourself better and finding a career that feels right. 

We’ll explore different tools and exercises to help you identify your strengths, what you’re passionate about, and your core values.

Identify Your Strengths

Strengths are your natural talents – the things you excel at with minimal effort. While academic performance plays a role and you can level it up with some great techniques, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. 

Here are some ways to identify your strengths:

Personality Assessments

Tools like Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder can offer insights into your personality traits and preferred work styles. 

Remember, there’s no perfect score. These assessments simply help you understand how you naturally operate and translate that into potential career paths.

For instance, a strong preference for logic and problem-solving might indicate success in engineering, computer science, or analytical fields.

Experience Spotlight

Reflect on your academic experiences, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work. 

What tasks did you find most engaging? Where did you shine naturally? 

Consider projects where you took a leadership role, received praise for specific skills, or felt a sense of accomplishment. 

Did you enjoy leading discussions in history class? Maybe communication and collaboration are strengths to explore in careers like journalism, teaching, or human resources.

Feedback Loop

Seek insights from teachers, mentors, friends, or family members. Ask them to share their observations about your strengths. What skills do they consistently see you utilizing? 

This feedback can be very valuable. Did your math teacher praise your analytical thinking? This might point towards careers in finance, research, or data analysis.

Finding Your Interests

Interests are the things that spark your curiosity and make you excited. Finding your passions is crucial for a fulfilling career. 

Here are some strategies to explore:

Hobbies and Activities

What do you do outside of school for fun? Can you translate these hobbies into a career path?

Think outside the box! Maybe your love for video games could lead to a career in game design or esports management.

Values Check

What matters most to you in a career? Do you value creativity, problem-solving, helping others, or working with technology? 

Understanding your values can help you align your interests with your broader life goals. For instance, if helping others is a top priority, a career in social work or medicine might be a good fit.

Career Research Expedition

Explore different career options and industries. Go through online resources like industry publications. You might discover hidden passions you never knew existed! 

Did a documentary about marine biology spark your interest in the ocean? Research opportunities in marine sciences, conservation, or even underwater engineering!

Understand Your Core Values

Your values are the beliefs and principles that guide your life choices. They represent what’s important to you and motivate your actions. 

Identifying your core values is crucial for finding a career path that feels authentic. 

Here are some exercises to explore:

Brainstorming Blitz

List words that represent what matters most to you. This might include honesty, creativity, innovation, teamwork, helping others, making a difference, or financial security. Write down anything that resonates!

Scenario Analysis

Imagine yourself in different career scenarios. How well do these careers align with your values? Would you feel satisfied pursuing this path? 

For example, if financial security is a high value, explore careers like finance, accounting, or engineering that typically offer stable salaries. 

However, if creativity is your top priority, careers in art, design, or writing might be a better fit, even if the income may not be as predictable.

Role Model Reflection

What are the qualities you admire in successful individuals? Analyze their career choices and try to connect these choices back to their potential values. 

For instance, if you admire a scientist known for innovation, consider your own desire for innovation and explore careers in research, technology development, or entrepreneurship.

Sometimes, identifying your core values can be tricky.  It can be helpful to think about the things that make you angry or frustrated. 

For example, if you get frustrated by injustice, then perhaps working towards social change is important to you.  

On the other hand, if you get stressed in chaotic environments, then a career that prioritizes organization and structure might be a better fit.

Self-Discovery – A Journey, Not a Destination

There’s no single “right” answer when it comes to strengths, interests, and values. This exploration is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. 

As you gather information, experiment with new activities, and gain new experiences, your understanding of yourself will continue to evolve.

A pro tip from me: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone! Volunteering, internships, or shadowing professionals can offer valuable insights into different career paths.  

These experiences allow you to test the waters and see if a particular field aligns with your interests and skills. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new – you might just discover a hidden passion!


Finding your fit is a continuous process. As you learn and grow, your understanding of yourself will evolve. 

Embrace this journey, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a career counselor. 

They can provide a safe space to explore these exercises, offer personalized advice based on your unique situation, and help you navigate the exciting world of career exploration, which we’ll delve into in Part 2 of our student career counseling series

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