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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.


Are you thinking about your future but not sure how to get started? Start with you! Assessing yourself and what you want in your next step before you take it is a key part of good planning, whether you’re launching a job or internship search, thinking of taking time off or considering further study.

The Lazarus Center career advisers are happy to help you navigate your professional path. Our approach to advising is grounded in two main theories: human-centered life design and experiential learning. Book an appointment anytime for tools and conversation that begins with you.

Skills, Interests, Values & Personality

When considering your professional and personal future, it's helpful to think about your skills, interests, values and personality.

  • Skills are competencies developed through everything you do: jobs and internships, activities, courses and pastimes. A Smith degree builds a variety of highly marketable skills, some specific to a major and others gained across the curriculum.
  • Interests are issues, activities or fields of knowledge important to you. Your interests may be part of your work or remain as pastimes. Connecting with people who share your interests is an important part of researching careers, opportunities, and options for further study.
  • Values are qualities you consider important about your work and life. For example, some people enjoy working as part of a team, while others prefer to work independently. Your values influence how appealing you find different work settings and can contribute to your definition of success.
  • Personality determines how you behave in interactions at school, work and in your personal life. Knowing more about your personality can help you identify careers and fields of study that might be a good fit.

Self-assessment tools help to provide insights, they are not prescriptive. It is a starting point that allows you to reflect and gain awareness of patterns or preferences. 

Skills Matcher will rate your levels on 40 key workplace skills, then shows you careers that match your ratings.

O*net Interest Profiler Matches your interests with career fields.

Uncovering your Values is an exercise from The Pivot Method by Jenny Blake. Values Assessment is a free online tool that helps you identify what is important to you in a job or career. The Values Assessment doesn’t match you with specific jobs; rather, it helps you determine the specific needs, values and motivations that can lead to potential job satisfaction.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) is widely used across professions. It examines your personality preferences across four areas: What energizes you? How do you take in information? How do you make decisions? How do you organize yourself?
16Personalities is a very simplified free online tool based on the Myers-Briggs personality theory.
Humanmetrics is a free personality test based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory.

Schedule an appointment with a career adviser to explore your self-assessments results in more depth. Call 413-585-2582 or schedule in Handshake.

You. By Design.

MYTH: “I need to figure out my career right now.”

TRUTH: People today change jobs an average of 12 times throughout their working life. Re-frame: “what am I going to do for the rest of my life” to “what am I going to try first.”

Life designers view their future as a work in progress - it is a journey, not a destination. As you move through your experiences you are constantly reflecting, learning and applying new information to inform your next step. Stop trying to ‘get it right” and start designing your way forward. We have some tools to get you started.

Workview/Lifeview. This activity takes 30 minutes (to write both). Participants then share both views in small groups/pairs and actively listen and give feedback. This activity helps people learn the value of “coherency” in life. We look at how they clash or might support each other. This is also known as building a compass.

Dashboard Activity. The dashboard activity is geared toward grounding participants in where they are now (before they get to where they want to be), or perhaps they are validated by seeing that things are going well.

The Good Time Journal. This activity has participants complete a log of a typical day or week in their everyday lives and note which activities allow for a state of flow, are energy giving or draining.

Mind Mapping.  In order to get your intuition flowing and generate ideas that you can start testing out, use this ideation technique. Pick a topic, make a mind map, and create mash-ups. The result: dozens of concepts you never thought possible. This activity gets people out of the box and into big-picture thinking.

Career Compass. The compass is a dynamic way to reframe your skills, interest, and values with societal needs. This tool allows you to picture your assets in the context of working with and supporting others.

Odyssey Planning.  There are lots of true, coherent, interesting and different versions of each person, so rather than designing one life, we invite you to design many lives and imagine multiple ways you could launch the next chapter of your life’s quest. We call these Odyssey Plans. Even if you are not looking to make a change from your one true plan, you still need to develop parallel options so you don’t get stuck trying to refine the same plan over and over again.

The Choosing Process.  How we make a decision, choose, and move on in life so that we don’t feel regret or anxious about possibly having made the “wrong decision” (even though there is no such thing) is incredibly important to the human experience. This tool moves beyond a pro/con list to think about decision making in a more dynamic way.

8 people to have in your Network. You are ready to launch! Make sure you have all the support you need by building an intentional network.

*Schedule an appointment with a career adviser to discuss Life Design resources for you. 

Research & Talk with Professionals

Once you have more information about yourself, we suggest researching different career fields, reading a variety of job and internship descriptions, and talking with people whose careers interest you during informational interviews. It is extremely valuable to talk with professionals who work in your field of interest. Many Smith alumnae are willing to meet with current students. See the Smith College Alumnae Career Paths below for inspiration.


Smith College Alumnae Career Paths

A liberal arts degree can take you anywhere—a fact that is borne out in the results of a recent survey that examined how alumnae are using their Smith degrees. In the face of national discussions about the relevance of the liberal arts today, the survey results underscore the real-world value of the academic depth and breadth of a Smith education.