What Kind of Job Is Right for You?

Whether you are planning for your first career or searching for a new focus around which to organize your work life, it is important to pursue a career that will help you meet your financial needs, that you will be able to do well, and that will be satisfying to you. It is also important to take steps to develop your skills in new ways. It is great to find a job that you enjoy doing, but it is also important to think about how what you are doing now will help prepare you for your long-term goals.

Even if you have a long way to go before you reach your ultimate goal, thinking about your long-term career goals can help you to focus your current job search. But you don’t have to know exactly where you want to end up. Each job you have will help you learn more about your interests, acquire new skills, and develop your long-term goals.

Thinking carefully about the skills and interests that you have now is a good way to begin your search for a satisfying job. Below are some tools designed to help you get a clear picture of your interests and skills.

Discovery: Understand Yourself

Self Assessment/Personal Inventory

The Job Accommodation Network has an excellent guide called Finding a Job that is Right for You: A Practical Approach to Looking for a Job as a Person with a Disability. The guide provides information that can help you with each step of your job search process.

The guide begins with a series of exercises to help you learn more about what is important to you, your interests and strengths, and what you need from a job. Each one includes a completed example to look at.

Each one has a slightly different focus:

  • The Job Priority List helps you organize lists of the things you are most interested in and the features of jobs that are most important to you.
  • The Overcoming Obstacles Worksheet is designed to help you anticipate possible obstacles you may find when searching for work. Thinking of solutions to problems that you might run into before you get started on your job search can help make your job search easier and more effective.
  • The Personal Inventory Worksheet is designed to help you begin building a resume by organizing your experiences to show your interests and strengths.

Self-Assessment Resources

There are many tools available to help you learn more about your likes, dislikes, and how your personality fits with different work settings and occupations. A list of these tools is available as part of The Riley Guide.

Different types of assessment tools work differently and focus on different things. The Riley Guide provides descriptions of how the different assessments work so that you can find one that you think might be useful to you.

Another great place for self-assessment tools is the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop website. The site's Career Exploration Page includes a section on self-assessments and a discussion of why they are helpful to job-seekers. Gettinghired.com is also an excellent resource for job seekers with disabilities.

A collection of many different online self-assessments is available at Live Career. A useful feature of this site is that it reviews and evaluates each of the tests and describes how easy they are to use and what type of information they provide

Talking to a Career Counselor

It can be hard to choose from all the different self-assessment tools. It can also be difficult to know what to do with the results once you have them. There are people available to help you choose the right test, understand what the test results mean, and help you get started with your career planning.

Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists are available at a Minnesota WorkForce Center near you. Use this list of locations to find a specialist to speak with near you.

There are many non-profit organizations that can help you explore your skills and interests and begin planning a career. This list includes contact information for many organizations as well as descriptions of the services they provide.

Your Individual Needs

Interests and skills are important to determining what type of work you might like to do, but it is also important to know what you need your job to do for you. A good way to explore the financial and other benefits you need from a job is to complete the Personal Needs Assessment Worksheet available at the Job Accommodation Network site.

Reasonable Accommodation

If your disability makes aspects of your job difficult, you may want to ask for a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are usually done to assure you have the same employment opportunities as a person who does not have disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations can include modifications to the facility, changes in the job process, and assistive technology allowing you to perform at the expected performance standards.

An accommodation request is usually initiated by you and may be requested verbally or in writing. Information on how to put your request in writing is available at the JAN website.

If you have developed strategies or have used equipment to successfully accommodate your disability, then you may want to share this with your employer. However, if you have not needed an accommodation before and do not know where to start, call the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is a free service that offers accommodation experts to help guide you through the accommodation process. JAN also has a website with publications containing accommodation suggestions for different situations and an interactive website called the Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR). SOAR asks you about your situation and then leads you to accommodation suggestions, including information on where to buy a product if one is suggested.

Finding Careers that Match Your Strengths and Interests

Once you have a clearer picture of your skills and areas of interest, you’ll need to figure out what type of position might suit you. The sites below have tools designed to help you match your interests with possible jobs. They also have information on what types of education and training you may need in order to prepare for the career you are interested in. Even if you already have a job or career in mind, it is a good idea to explore the sites below. They may suggest a career option you hadn’t thought of, but that is a good match for your interests.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online provides a helpful set of tools for searching for careers. O*Net allows you to search for jobs that use a specific skill, tool, or software. It also allows you to browse groups of similar occupations which lets you learn about jobs that are related to the one you are interested in.

  • CareerConnect, from The American Foundation for the Blind, is a great site that allows you to browse careers by field or interest area. It also allows you to explore specific careers and provides extensive information about the knowledge, interests, skills, and abilities necessary for each position.
  • CareerOneStop’s education and training page includes information on the education requirements and training needs of different occupations.
  • Although it is aimed at high school students, Exploring Career Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent tool for anyone exploring careers. The site is designed to help you use your current interests to find and explore different careers.
  • The Riley Guide’s Explore Career Options Page, provides links to an extensive set of sites designed to help you explore careers and occupations and choose a career path.
  • The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Career Exploration Site provides links to let you investigate different careers, and find the education and training required for positions.
  • GettingHired.com has a Job Recommendations tool.
  • Careers and the disABLED magazine has in-depth articles and information on various career options.

What Does the Future Look Like for the Type of Job You Are Seeking?

Before you become too focused on a specific career it is good to understand the prospects for finding employment in that area.

CareerOneStop has information on:

In addition to resources for exploring careers and for job searching, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has information on occupations: