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What Is Career Interest?

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Career interest is a phrase that has been used in relation to career assessments. Career assessments are tests or inventories that you take to tell you where your skills lie and what you like to do. But a career assessment can also be something else entirely. It can be a process of researching, learning and discussing your career interests, or what it is that you would like to do for work.

Career Assessments

Many people like to take career assessments, career inventories or "tests" because they think the test will tell them what they should do for a career, taking away the burden of deciding on their career themselves. People who jump into a career based on a career test or the notion of a "hot career trend" may find that although they may have the aptitude for the career, they may not necessarily like that career. Money and time are wasted on education and training for a career in which these people never stopped to consider if they were really interested. Most of us identify with what we do as a career. If someone asked you to talk about yourself, you would probably say "I am a..." and fill in the blank with your job title. If we are disinterested in our career, we become dissatisfied with ourselves because we so strongly identify with, but dislike, our career.

Research and Discovery

Discovering your career interest may take more than just taking a career assessment. You may find that in order to get past constantly thinking, "But I don't know what I want to do," that you have to sit down and identify what experiences or daydreams you have had that you especially liked and in which you were interested. You then research those experiences to find out what information is needed, what skills and abilities are required.

Career Interest Example

For example, you may have really liked the experience of whitewater rafting and then blogged about it on your website. You may not have liked people in your raft pestering you with questions on how to secure equipment or how to stay in the raft. You may like pursuing whitewater rafting as a hobby, or you may want to write about it for an extreme sports website or magazine as a career. You may not want to become a whitewater rafting instructor. That is okay, there is nothing wrong with discovering what it is you do not want to do or what you are not interested in. So now you know you like whitewater rafting and writing about it. Research how to get a writing job for extreme sports, what skills you need and how you will keep on top of this career. There are many career websites where you can explore careers in which you are interested.

Career Change

So you finally know what your career interest is, what you would like to spend your days doing for your job. But Richard Nelson Bolles has famously predicted that you will change careers at least seven times in your lifetime. Discovering your career interest was so labor intensive, you really aren't looking forward to doing it six more times. Don't despair. People do not always change their careers because they are dissatisfied.

Future Career Interests

Sometimes your career can lead you to discover related careers that seem even more interesting than your current one. Technology may change your career and interests in ways you haven't even thought of. This is good because changing career interests can keep you learning, while keeping you from getting bored and stagnating on the job.


Mary McNally has been writing and editing for over 13 years, including publications at Cornell University Press, Larson Publications and College Athletic Magazines. McNally also wrote and edited career and computer materials for Stanford University and Ithaca College. She holds a master's degree in career development from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in counseling.

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