Career Exploration & Planning

SIT supports graduate students and alumni in achieving their professional goals through a combination of independent and interactive services designed to build their capacity to secure meaningful employment related to their degrees. Career exploration and planning is a recursive process that involves:

  • Engaging in self-assessment and reflection
  • Exploring career paths
  • Developing an action plan
  • Honing job-seeking skills

To support you in this process, SIT Career Services endorses ImaginePhD, a robust platform powered by the Graduate Career Consortium. Although targeted to doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences, the resources developed by ImaginePhD are highly applicable to SIT Graduate Institute students and alumni. This free and confidential career exploration and planning tool allows you to:

  • Assess career-related skills, interests, and values
  • Explore careers paths appropriate to your discipline
  • Create self-defined goals
  • Map out next steps for career and professional development success

In addition to these resources, SIT provides individual career coaching services.

Self-Assessment and Reflection

Self-assessment and personal reflection activities generate insights that inform your career planning process. Career exploration is more productive when you have a strong sense of your personality, values, interests, and skills. Your assessment results also assist you in articulating your strengths and goals to potential employers. While no assessment will guarantee instant success, knowing who you are provides useful information that can lead to a career that is personally and professionally fulfilling.

ImaginePhD Assessments consist ofthree online assessments that allow you to self-assess your career-related skills, interests, and values. For an overview of the assessments prior to exploring them yourself, you can review this presentation. To take the assessments, register for a free account. Once the assessments are completed, an algorithm allows you to compare your skills and interests’ alignments with job families.

Additional Assessments

With the notable exception of ImaginePhD, SIT does not endorse any particular websites or services and lists them solely for your information. Many self-assessments offer a free version of the test that comes with a basic report and the opportunity to upgrade to a detailed report for a fee. Other assessments are solely fee-based. Please note that SIT Career Services does not provide financial support or reimbursement for any external assessments or services. Students interested in purchasing tests or expanded results are responsible for any expenses incurred.

Interests: This type of assessment explores the activities that appeal to you to gain insight into your pattern of interests that are associated with different career fields.

  • Holland Code Career Test: This assessment examines your suitability for different careers based on six occupational themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. The test identifies your top interest area and compares it to the other areas to inform your decision-making.
  • Career Cluster Interest Survey: This free assessment ranks your activities, personal qualities, and school subjects in terms of preference and matches your interests to career clusters.

Skills: These assessments evaluate your soft skills and hard skills to identify suitable career paths and planning.

  • Skills Matcher: This free assessment, sponsored by the US Department of Labor, helps you identify careers that match your unique set of skills. You can explore your matching careers, learning about average pay, typical education, and the outlook (new job opportunities expected) for jobs in that field.
  • Tufts Skills Inventory: This self-evaluation exercise focuses on transferable skills across various practical and technical domains.

Values: This type of assessment identifies your core values, which influence your priorities, decision-making, underlying work needs, and motivations.

  • Barrett Values Centre Personal Values Assessment: This free assessment identifies your top 10 personal values that drive your decision-making and motivations. The resulting assessment report and exercises are designed to help you cultivate self-knowledge and self-development.
  • MyPlan Values Assessment: This free test asks you to rank different aspects of work that represent six underlying work values. Knowing your work values can help you identify what kinds of jobs and careers you might want to explore.

Personality: This type of assessment identifies personality traits that illustrate how you interact with people and environments, respond to situations, process information, prioritize thoughts and feelings, and approach planning and decision-making.

  • Kiersey Temperament Sorter: This assessment includes a free mini report that provides you with a detailed summary of your personality type and core characteristics, including what types of roles and workplaces may be a good fit. There is a fee for a more detailed career occupation report.
  • 16 Personalities: This free assessment utilizes the Myers-Briggs framework to identify your personality type based on your traits within the domains of Mind, Energy, Nature, Tactics, and Identity. The overview of results is free. Upgrade packages are available for additional reports and resources.
  • CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder): This assessment ($20-$50) measures your talents—natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving— and categorizes them into 34 themes. Your customized report helps you explore your themes and optimize them in personal, educational, and professional settings.
  • Enneagram of Personality: This assessment classifies nine distinct, interwoven personality types: the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, and the peacemaker. You can take the test for $12 on the Enneagram Institute’s site. You can also take an unofficial, free version of the test with an overview of results (full report available for $19).
Career Path Exploration

ImaginePhD Job Families: You can explore potential careers by reviewing the Job Families component of the ImaginePhD website. Sixteen job families relevant to the humanities and social sciences are contained on this page. Each job family contains detailed information about types of careers and resources to help you explore, connect, build skills, and apply for positions. Sample career packets with job descriptions, cover letters, and resume examples are also contained in this section.

You can also click on the Job Boards tab to explore current opportunities in your fields of interest.

Action Plan Development and Implementation

ImaginePhD My Plan: The My Plan component of the ImaginePhD website provides you with the opportunity to create an individual development plan (IDP) and set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based) goals that will help you advance in your graduate program and career. View suggested goals for your IDP.