Subjects that you enjoyed at school and are good at can tell you something about your abilities and interests. That is why you should ask yourself which subjects suit you best. Do you have ability and interest in mathematics? Then perhaps a technical course is the right thing for you, for example mechanical engineering, computer science, or commercial training, for example as an industrial clerk or office management assistant. If you learn foreign languages easily, training as a foreign language correspondent or a linguistic degree might suit you.
Interests outside of school
You can consider your interests outside of school. What do you do when you have time to yourself? Whether you enjoy reading and writing, doing sports, programming on the computer or taking care of your family, these activities tell you a lot about yourself.
You may even have had your first practical experience, for example, in your parents’ company or as a temporary employee in another company. Did you enjoy your work or was it not right for you? By doing this you will also discover which activities you like and which professions you can imagine working in.
You can also gain practical experience in Germany in the form of internships. If you would like to gain practical insights into a vocational profession or into a career associated with university studies, you can apply for an internship at a company.
Testing can also support you. There are tests that evaluate your interests and strengths and suggest suitable fields of activity or degree courses. In addition, many universities offer self-assessments that determine your suitability for a particular degree programme. Most tests can be done online. However, before you start you should ascertain whether the tests are free of charge. There are many free offers.
Additionally the Federal Employment Agency offers a Selbsterkundungstool (self-evaluation tool). With the help of this online test you can find out which studies suit you best. You work on four modules in which you determine your abilities, social skills, interests and your professional preferences. Depending on your selection, you will receive suggestions for suitable fields of study or vocational training occupations.
In turn you can check your suitability for a certain field of study with the Studienfeldbezogenen Beratungstests (field of study advisory tests) provided by the Federal Employment Agency. You can choose between natural sciences, engineering, computer science and mathematics, economics, linguistics or law. The tests are carried out on site at the employment agencies.
The MySkills test is also available. This helps you to prove your existing professional skills. You answer technical questions in the form of texts, pictures and videos about a profession in which you already have experience. There are 30 professions to choose from. The Test Check.Work (Module 1: Practice) has a slightly different approach, with the help of which you can also demonstrate that you already have work experience. By selecting images and answering technical questions, you prove that you are familiar with a certain professions and activities. Alternatively you complete “Module 2: Potential” to determine your competencies, such as logical thinking, creativity or teamwork. Check.Work is currently offered by a number of organisations, Jobcenters and educational institutions.
Further information and links to the tests can be found in the section “Orientation > What shall I become? > test procedure”.
Self-image and external perception
Another important aspect is talking to others, such as your family and (new) friends and asking them what they think of you. What qualities and strengths do they attribute to you? In their eyes, are you resilient and responsible, a team player and communicative? Are you skilled in tradecrafts or do you feel more comfortable with organisational responsibilities? Compare what others say about you with what you think about yourself.
You may also obtain advice from professionals regarding degree courses or training that suits your interests and strengths. The career counsellors of the employment agencies are available for a personal interview. You can read more about this in step 5: Who will support me if I need help?