Assess and Explore

As you start thinking about your possible career options, there are several tools to help you not only discover more about yourself and your goals but also about possible employers. Two avenues to help you explore your career options are Career Assessments and Informational Interviews.  

Career Assessments

  • The Career Center provides several personality, skill, and goal assessments that can help you determine your unique skills and needs in your professional life. While it may feel daunting to begin your job search, by exploring the labor market, your needs and skills, and desired lifestyle, it can help you understand what kind of jobs you’re both suited for and would enjoy doing. By using these the tools below and meeting with a UCSC Career Coach, you can find suitable and enjoyable professional avenues.

For graduate students, we recommend:

Life Values Inventory

  • The Life Values Inventory was developed to help individuals and organizations clarify their values and serve as a blueprint for effective decision-making. In terms of your career, this tool will help you discover your own profile of values and what occupations correspond with those values.


  • My IDP is a career development and planning tool for scientists, though it can be adapted for STEM disciplines. This resource helps students focus on how to leverage their expertise into a satisfying and productive career. My IDP provides exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values; an algorithm to help you identify which careers best fit your current skills, interests, and values; an algorithm to help you identify which careers best fit your current skills and interests from a list of 20 scientific career pathways; a tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year with optional reminders to keep you on track; and an opportunity to map or frame your career development plans, skills, and interests when meeting with your faculty advisor.

APA's Resource for Individual Development Plans

  • The American Psychological Association provides its own resources to help graduate students’ develop their own Individual Development Plan. On this site you can make a plan in order to identify your goals and explore different career options. Using their tools, you will be able to complete a self-assessment to compare and contrast what you could improve upon in your experience and training, set goals, explore careers, explore your skills and interest, and determine what motivates you.

Versatile PhD

  • Versatile PhD is the oldest and largest online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in humanities, social science, and STEM fields. It helps inform graduate students explore their career options, in addition to other features such as a message board, job listings, and networking. 

The Strong Interest Inventory

  • The Strong Interest Inventory identifies your areas of interests and occupations that you may be interested in pursuing. First meet with a Career Coach for the web site address and password for access. There is a $15 charge for this service.

Imagine PhD

  • The Graduate Career Consortium launched Imagine PhD as a career-planning resource for humanities and social sciences PhD students. Sign up to explore career options and plan your career. This is a FREE service designed to help PhD students prepare for a variety of career paths. 

Want to talk with someone confidentially about your job search or Dual Career Path preparation? Make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches today!