Thoughtful, informed career planning is essential in helping you find a future career that is a good fit for the interests, skills and values that you possess. Read on to discover answers to the following questions:

What is Career Planning?

Career Planning is about spending time developing an awareness of your knowledge, skills, interests and values:

  • What do I enjoy doing with my time?
  • What do I like to learn about?
  • What am I especially good at? What comes naturally to me?
  • What am I willing to work hard at, even though it takes effort?
  • What kind of characteristics of a “work environment” are important to me? (e.g., being inside vs. outside, flexible time vs. scheduled time, working alone or as part of a team, getting to be creative vs. having a structured plan to follow, etc.)
  • What kind of lifestyle do I want? (e.g., do I want to live in a certain place? do I want a lot of security in my career? Do I want to work part-time? Do I care how much money I make?, etc.)

You then use this awareness to inform your exploration of careers. Effectively exploring careers requires both knowledge and skills:

Examples of Knowledge Examples of Skills
What kinds of careers are there? Finding career-related information.
What are the job duties and work environments of different careers? How do I network to find job openings?
What career fields are growing? What’s a resume? An interview?
What education or training do I need? Setting goals and making a plan.

As you begin to identify what careers seem like a good match for your interests, skills and values you will be able to research what kinds of education and training are needed to attain those careers. This information is powerful in two ways:

  1. It allows you to seek out experiences—like academic classes, clubs, volunteering experiences, and part-time work—that will help you continue to explore, and prepare for, your future career(s) of interest.

  2. Knowing what you want to do in the future helps you understand what you have to do NOW to be able to get there. For example, if you want to have a future career that requires a college education, (or beyond), you need to make sure you are doing well in school all the way through senior year.

How will my Counselor help me with career planning in school?

  • Your Counselor will develop and deliver curriculum about career planning and/or serve as a consultant to your teachers as they provide career-related information to you.
  • Your Counselor will work with your teachers, parents/guardians, and business and civic organization leaders in your community to create partnerships that offer you opportunities for self-awareness, career exploration and personal growth.
  • Your Counselor can serve as a resource for you about how to get involved in activities of interest, what classes and experiences will keep you on track for your personal goals and how to engage in career planning.
  • In high school, your Counselor can help you create an individualized learning plan that defines what courses you should take to set yourself up for success in achieving your goals for after graduation.

What kind of career planning activities can I do outside of school?

There are a number of valuable career planning activities that you can engage in on your own time. Examples include:

  • Use your Career Cruising account to complete surveys about your interests, values, and skills.
  • Use your Career Cruising account to explore careers of interest and learn about the education and training needed to attain them.
  • Talk with adults about the work that they do. Find out what they like and what they don’t.
  • Set up a job shadowing experience at a business or organization in your community.

What is Career Cruising and how do I access my account?

Every middle and high school student in the Madison Metropolitan School District has access to an account with Career Cruising

Your Username is the prefix 'MMSD-' + your student ID (e.g. MMSD-123456). Your password should be your birthdate followed by your first and last intials, e.g. 101096ta. If you cannot log into the website, please see your counselor for your password.

Career Cruising is a web-based program that provides you with opportunities to explore your personal interests, skills, and values. Career Cruising also provides you with access to a rich database of career-related resources. Because it is web-based, you can get into Career Cruising from any computer with internet access, (e.g., at home, at school, at a public library, etc.)

Some of the features of Career Cruising Include:

  • Career profiles with interviews and videos.
  • Interest assessment tools and skills assessment tools.
  • Learning styles inventory.
  • Access to college and university information.
  • A personal portfolio tool with a built-in resume builder.
  • An employment guide.

Your Career Cruising account also has a 4-year course planner which allows you to chart out the courses that you will take in high school. You will use this course planner each spring when you select your classes for the following year.

Last but not least, you will also have access (in high school) to a college application planner – an on-line system that will help you plan, maintain, and store materials related to the college application process.