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How to Explore Careers
Roadtrip Nation! check out how other's are researching and discovering their career path!
Speaking directly with professionals in careers that you are considering is a great way to get first-hand information rather than relying solely on web-based material or others opinions.
To set-up an Informational Interview call the business professional to schedule an appointment. Ideally, you will ask for 30 - 45 minutes for the interview. Attend these sessions as if you were the one being interviewed. Dress appropriately because you could be meeting your future employer!
Go to the interview with your written questions and be prepared to take notes. Below are some sample informational interview questions for you.
- Describe a typical day or work week.
- How did you get started in this type of work?
- Describe the education/ work experience that prepared you for this position.
- What do you like most about your job?
- What are the most challenging aspects about this work?
- What are some important things a person considering this field should know?
- What are some of the things in this job that are important to you?
- Describe qualities or characteristics one needs to be successful in this occupation.
- Is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know about this career?
- Do you know another professional that I could contact for an informational interview?
- Always send a handwritten "thank you" note within 24 hours of your interview. If you do not want to wait on snail mail, then return to the professional's office and hand deliver your card. Use email only if the first suggestion is not possible.
- Send your professional contact(s) another note if you choose their career for your own. Share how helpful their information was in guiding your decision.
- Stay in touch throughout college and let them know when you are close to graduating - there could be a job waiting for you!
Networking is telling instructors, family, friends, and professional contacts that you are exploring careers and/or looking for work. Ask for contact names in the field of interest and set up an Informational Interview (see above).
Job Shadowing (just like it sounds) allows you to watch, listen, ask questions, and take good notes.
Volunteering puts you in the work environment without making a commitment to that field of study or job. (See Internships below)
Internships, like Volunteering, puts you in the work environment but also gives the employer a chance to know you and your work habits.
Social Media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, can increase your reach for possible new contacts.