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Career Exploration Resources

Values, Interests, Personality, Skills (VIPS)

The most prevalent overlapping factors that affect career choice and satisfaction are the connections to your set of values, interests, personality traits, and skills (VIPS). These change over time with each new experience and season of life. Grounding your decisions in one, or more, of your VIPS, allows you to take control of your career options and progression.

Focus 2 is a self-paced online self-assessment tool provided to William & Mary students to research and evaluate career options aligned with your values, interests, personality, and skills. First time users will need to register a new account. You must use your William & Mary email address to register and your access code is: onetribe

Access Focus 2

  • Values are deeply held beliefs about what is important to have in your life. Our values are influenced by our upbringing, including family, home life, culture, and education. Recognizing what you value can help focus and narrow your career options. What qualities would you like to have as part of your work? How do your values connect with the career options you are considering?
  • Interests are things you like to do, see, hear, or learn about. You can get immersed in doing them, and lose track of time while involved with them. As our career plays a large part in most of our lives, it makes sense to choose a career which plays to your interests. Interests are reflected in your activities and affinities. Identifying your interests often helps you focus on what ideas and pursuits keep you engaged, an important element in satisfying work. How do your interests connect with the career options you are considering?
  • Personality is your way of doing things — your style. This includes things like whether you need to be around people or need quiet time to recharge your energy level. How do you process information? Are you detail or big-picture-oriented? How do you make decisions? Are you one who uses your head or your heart? Do you prefer your time to be scheduled or spontaneous? Understanding aspects of your personality can help you identify work environments that are well-suited for you. No single personality trait is advantageous over another, but being aware of your personal preferences is an important step in making a satisfying career choice.
  • Skills are those things you do well. These can be natural talents, strengths, or the abilities you have acquired through education or training. Taking time to identify and articulate your skills is critical for successful career exploration.

The Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement utilizes an industry model, offering programming and resources specific to five industry areas. This allows you to either focus your exploration on one area or get involved in multiple. Every industry includes a wide range of sectors, each with different work environments, application timelines, and connections.

Career Communities
  • Meet Ups and Panels: These programs feature alumni, parents, and partners representing their industry. Offered in-person and virtually, they give insight into a “day in the life” and the professionals' career paths, as well as how you can get there yourself.
  • Trips and Treks: We have hosted industry-specific trips, both in-person and virtually, to a variety of cities. These trips provide a look behind the scenes of how different organizations look and feel.

Online Resources
  • Candid Career: Watch videos of career conversations to explore industries and hear advice on majors, experiences, and skillsets.

  • Vault: Access guides providing breakdowns of a variety of industries, as well as company reviews.
  • O*Net OnLine: Expand your career exploration research through detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development, students, researchers, and more.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: Explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics' information on various careers. You can search for a job title, view occupation groups, or utilize various other filters.

Some people choose a major based on an academic interest or strength. Your coursework provides you with a perspective you will take into any career you pursue. While your major can certainly align with your chosen career, it does not automatically determine your career path.

  • What Can I Do With This Major?: This national database allows you to explore more about related career areas and types of employers that usually hire candidates from certain majors. It also provides strategies and resources to help you become a more marketable candidate and links to professional associations. 
  • Pre-Professional Program Advisors: Some professional careers involve post-graduate study with specific coursework required at the undergraduate level. While your primary contact will be your pre-major or major faculty advisor, our pre-professional program advisors can also help you plan your course schedules so you're fully prepared if you plan to go into specific graduate programs.

Networking, at its core, is getting to know more people who already work in your field(s) of interest. Your networking journey can begin by learning more about people's career paths as you explore a variety of jobs and industries. These are called Informational Interviews or Career Conversations where you get to ask questions, including their favorite and least favorite parts of the job, what advice they have for someone getting started, and things they did not know would be part of the job. By starting with an exploratory conversation, you create an easy opportunity to grow your professional network in a low-risk environment. Since alumni are more likely to agree to an outreach request, we suggest building your network from there.

  • Networking: Explore networking strategies and see sample outreach messages.
  • LinkedIn: Learn how to build your LinkedIn profile.
  • One Network: Gain access and learn more about the power of the W&M global network to connect with all members of the W&M community