Step Three: Use What You Have Learned

Step One: Learn About Yourself

Step Two: Investigate the World of Work

Step Three: Use What You Have Learned

Step Four: Test the Waters

Step Five: Find the Right Job





Step Three: Use What You Have Learned CCPG_63 PDF icon

Why and How to Use the Information CCPG_64  PDF icon

You now have reams of information: your skills, interests, values, personality characteristics, and information about jobs and/or job industries that interest you. If this information seems unrelated, it’s not!

In Step 2, you started—at least in your mind—to consider how information about yourself and the world of work fit together. Step 3 will formalize the process of“matching”, or synthesizing the information you’ve gathered. This comparison will enable you to evaluate which jobs are the best fit and hold the most potential for you. In addition, Step 3 will identify any education and training gaps you have that would keep you from pursuing the occupations you investigated in Step 2.

Chances are the matching process will produce more than one possibility for you. Other factors, such as the amount of education necessary and whether you need to earn a living right away, will help you determine your choice among the possibilities. Once you select an area, you can chart your employment path. Do you need more education or training? Are you qualified to do that type of work now? If so, a job search is your next step.

Complete the activity on CCPG_65-66 PDF icon page to synthesize your information. Select a job or work industry and create an action plan to get you moving along your chosen path. A Career Action Plan assists you in creating a step-by-step process of completing various tasks to help you reach your goals. Some of your goals may be getting into the school of your choice, getting an internship, or attaining employment. A Career Action Plan can be thought of as a “Check List In Progress.”

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis

The SWOT Analysis addresses every area of your career situation. As the box on the next page reveals, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and it helps you see if the job you seek is a good match and a good idea. If it’s not, you may want to pick another!  CCPG_65-66 PDF icon

Doing a SWOT Analysis requires you to analyze all you’ve learned. Your experience with completing assessments, compiling information for your Career Planning Folder, and investigating the world of work should have given you an idea of what type of job to seek. The SWOT Analysis and Gap Analysis will help you decide if this is the work for you. In addition to the information gathered from Steps 1 and 2, the SWOT Analysis and Gap Analysis will be used in creating your Career Action Plan. Creating a Career Action Plan will be explained further in Step 4.

Education and Training Needs

Completing Steps 1 and 2 assisted you in self-exploration, and investigating the world of work. Step 3 provides information on where you can go to acquire additional education and/or training experience. In addition, you will find an Exercise 7 titled: “Financial Needs Assessment,” which identifies the amount of money you will need to live comfortably.

Numerous educational and training opportunities are available to young people. Programs range in length, location, cost, size, eligibility requirements, and career focus. Interested students should be resourceful and creative in discovering information. Search the Internet, skim the Yellow Pages, visit career centers, network with family and friends, and seek assistance of school counselors, career counselors, mentors, and teachers.

Much of the following learning information is adapted from the “Getting Ready for Life After High School” guide published by the Los Angeles County Office of Education ( It will give you many options available in California to pursue more education. CCPG_67 PDF icon

Adult Schools ( – Many school districts across California operate adult schools offering high quality education in a user-friendly environment. Programs include vocational training, adult high school diploma, GED test preparation and English as a Second Language. The variety of vocational courses differ from district to district. High School students can enroll to make up credits towards graduation or to enrich their high school program. They must have a written release from their high school counselor and be enrolled in a full six-period day at their home high school. To be eligible, a meeting with the student’s high school counselor and their parents is mandatory. Adult schools offer flexible schedules. Many classes are “open entry” and students can enroll at any time during the school year. The high school diploma program meets all California requirements as well as those of the local district. Included in the program of adult schools is a wide range of “courses for older adults.” Any adult 18 years of age or older can take high interest courses such as upholstering, ceramics, estate planning and many more. CCPG_67 PDF icon

California Community Colleges ( – Community colleges are publicly supported and locally oriented colleges that offer programs for transfer to a four-year college, career education programs, remedial or “catch-up” programs for students who lack a strong educational background, and continuing education for cultural growth, life enrichment, and skills improvement. Any high school graduate is eligible for admission to a community college. However, you do not have to have a high school diploma as long as you are over eighteen years of age and can benefit from instruction. Also, high school students may be permitted to enroll for “advanced placement” courses,provided they have the consent of their school principal and their college president and meet grade-point requirements. The website for the Chancellor’s Office contains information about all of the community colleges in California. The Taxonomy of Programs database provides details about all the programs offered in the community colleges in the State. CCPG_68 PDF icon

Community College Concurrent Enrollment – High school students seeking college enrichment courses not available in high school or a technical career preparation program, may enroll in community college. Tuition is free, but students pay for books and supplies. Students must have the approval of parents, counselors, and high school principals to enroll. For more information, check with your school counselor. CCPG_68 PDF icon

Early College High Schools and Middle College High Schools – Many California school districts have established either Early or Middle College High Schools. These high schools are located on or near college campuses (primarily community colleges) and they enable students to take both high school and college courses. This enables a student to obtain a high school diploma and either an Associate of Arts degree or the completion of a significant number of courses that qualify for transfer to a four-year college program. CCPG_68 PDF icon

California Career Technical Education – Career Technical Education (CTE) is a program of study that involves a multi-year sequence of courses that integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge to provide students with a pathway to post secondary education and careers.

California high schools have developed CTE programs,some may include only a few CTE courses, while others may include Career pathways and/or Academies. Career Pathways typically are organized around broad industry areas such as health, media, or science and engineering. They combine rigorous academics with real world applications so that learning is more relevant to everyday life and future careers. Academic classes are combined with classes that focus on occupational skill development. Programs emphasize learning in the community and the workplace through work-based learning internships, job shadow experiences, meeting with career mentors, etc.

Counseling and guidance focuses on identifying interests, skills and abilities.Students can set and meet their long-term educational and career goals. From these experiences, students are able to determine which post secondary option is best for them: university, community college, apprenticeship programs, military, trade schools, etc.The CTE system may include ROCP classes and Technical Preparation programs (listed below). If you are not already part of an Academy or Career Pathway, talk to your school counselor or teachers about CTE opportunities at your school. CCPG_69-70 PDF icon

California One-Stop Career Centers – California One-Stop Career Centers California One-Stop Career Center scan link you with the education and training providers in your community. Whether in an office building, mobile van, or kiosk, information is available to assist you in identifying education and training opportunities in your community and throughout the State. One-Stop Career Centers are the nation’s publicly-funded resource for job seekers and businesses. Find jobs — from entry level to technical to professional to CEO. Locate public workforce services in your area. Explore alternative career paths, compare salary data for different occupations, learn which careers are hot, get resume writing tips, job interview strategies, and much more! CCPG_70 PDF icon

Living Within Your Means – “Living within our means” is a goal we all should strive to achieve. It is absolutely vital when you’re between jobs and don’t have much savings to tide you over. It means spending only what you have to and saving up to buy items you can’t currently afford. It means relying on loans only to pay large-ticket items, such as a house or car. It means paying credit card bills in full each month. If you haven’t been living this way, now’s the time to start. When you’re job hunting, you curb your spending!

Exercise 8: Financial Needs Assessment CCPG_67-81 PDF icon

Step 3 Summary Worksheet CCPG_83 PDF icon