Throughout our lives, we expand our interests and advance our skills. Our needs change and what we look for in employment changes too. When you first begin exploring employment possibilities, starting with these steps may help:
If you are a student or a parent of a student, please be sure to check out the Youth and Transition page for detailed information about all you can do throughout your (your child’s) school years to prepare for employment.
+ Assess Strengths
- What are my strengths? (Your Dictionary - Personal Strengths)
- What do I like? (example: being around a lot of people, working alone, technology)
- How do I spend my time?
- Who are my supporters in my employment journey?
- Have I worked before? If so, where have I worked and what tasks have I done?
- Who do I know? What do they do for work? Who do they know? Check out this video: Social Capital and the Power of Relationships
- What are my reliable transportation options and back up plans?
- What technology, accommodations, or accessibility needs do I currently have? (JAN)
- Do I have any habits, important routines, or personal idiosyncrasies that need to be accommodated in order to be successful?
- How do I best learn?
- What hours am I willing to work? Am I willing to work (if and when needed) holidays, weekends, evenings?
- Am I looking for a job that makes me happy or a job that pays me well?
- What education or training may I need?
+ Take Action
- Get your group of supporters together – family, friends, and anyone else who YOU feel can help you identify your strengths and explore possibilities
- At this gathering, you want to take note of what you and the group feels are your: strengths, interests, connections, needs for success (examples: Transportation, medical, quiet versus loud working environment), and your values/purpose. At the end, you’ll determine next steps.
From exploring interests to determining steps in a different career, here are some tools that may be helpful based on this stage in your employment journey:
Free Library of Philadelphia
Check out O*Net’s Interest Profile which helps you understand how your interests can relate to work. and can help you to begin brainstorming possibilities.
PA CareerLink Philadelphia
PA CareerLink PHL – The following are ways this resource can support you at this stage of your journey:
- “Career Coach” section - take a Career Assessment and get suggestions based on interests you rate from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree; browse careers and programs.
- “Career Pathways” section - shows entry-level positions in industries that can set the foundation for the job you want.
- “Career Counseling” section - provides information on where you can connect with professionals who can support you in creating a customized career plan.
- “Apprenticeships” section - shares information on how to find an apprenticeship and learn more!
PA Office of Developmental Pograms
Phila. Dept. of Behavioral Health / Intellectual disAbilities Serv.
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