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Though it may seem unimportant, understanding what you really want to do will make you a more skilled and authentic candidate for a job when the time comes to apply. Furthermore, it will give you the tools to build a rewarding career that takes not only your raw ability, but also your values and priorities into account.
One important step is to learn as much as you can about the possibilities that are out there. Our physicists profile library features physicists from a diversity of backgrounds, working in a variety of fields.
You can also explore the key experiences, education, and preparation needed to be successful in the most common career paths for physicists by looking at our Job Prospects page, and by reading our interviews with "non-traditional" physicists. Each Job Prospect profile gives a flavor of what life is like for physicists working in these fields. It also provides salary and job outlook information.
Lastly, you should explore free self-assessment tools offered by your university career center, such as the Strong© Inventory. Though individuals have to pay for the tests, many schools offer them to students for free.
The Career Planning Process
Learn some tips for self-assessment and planning in this clip from Peter Fiske's webinar "Putting Your Science to Work."
Tips for Effective Self-Evaluation
Learn tips for self-assessment in this clip from Megan Anzelc's webinar "Career Self-Advocacy: How I Got My Six-Figure Salary in the Private Sector."