Find Career Information

Start researching occupations.
Using the occupations you listed in the Occupations that Match Your Assessments. you can go online and use the Occupational Search tool to find more information about each specific occupation.
For each occupation, pay attention to:

  • skills
  • education or training needed
  • the median or average pay, and
  • the demand for the occupation in your area

Where else can you find career information?

  • Find out about different jobs, companies, and people working for those companies at LinkedIn, or Glass Door.
  • Converse with people working in different fields to get inside information about a company and/or the industry.

Informational Interviewing
One of the best sources for gathering information about what's happening in an occupation or an industry is to talk to people working in the field. This process is called informational interviewing. An informational interview is an interview that you initiate - you ask the questions. The purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.

Follow the steps listed below to conduct informational interviews:

  1. Prepare for the Interview
    Read all you can about the field prior to the interview. Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation/industry. Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered.
  2. Identify People to Interview
    Start with lists of people you already know - friends, relatives, fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, neighbors, etc... Professional organizations, the yellow pages, organizational directories, and public speakers are also good resources. You may also call an organization and ask for the name of the person by job title.
  3. Arrange the Interview
    Contact the person to set up an interview:
    a. by telephone,
    b. by a letter followed by a telephone call, or
    c. by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you.
  4. Conduct the Interview
  5. Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and be polite and professional.
    Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion. Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use your contact's name when contacting these new contacts.
  6. Follow Up
  7. Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered.
    Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within one week of the interview.

NOTE: Always analyze the information you've gathered. Adjust your job search, résumé, and career objective if necessary.

QUESTIONS!
Prepare a list of your own questions for your informational interview. Following are some sample
questions:

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what attracted you to this field/occupation? Describe a typical day and your daily tasks and responsibilities.
  2. What training or education is required for this type of work?
  3. What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?
  4. What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
  5. How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?
  6. What special advice would you give a person entering this field?
  7. Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field?
  8. What do you think of the experience I've had so far in terms of entering this field? Do you feel that my experience is on track for this industry/position?
  9. If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
  10. With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields or jobs would you suggest I research further before I make a final decision?
  11. What do you think of my résumé? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it?
  12. Can you recommend the next steps that I can take to support my career search and planning related to networking groups, developing new connections, possible volunteer opportunities and gaining relevant industry experience?

Making long-term goals or thinking about a future career change?
Thinking about starting or changing careers in a few years? Then look at the growth of occupations. Sometimes that is called long-term projections, or growth rate. "High-growth" occupations are also called "in-demand" or "bright outlook" careers. An occupation with high growth is likely to need many workers in the next few years.

Need to make a career change or find employment right now?
Job vacancy reports help you to know which industries need workers right now. Job vacancies show the occupations that employers were recently hiring. They also show the average pay, and the training employers required of those they hired. Reviewing this information will tell you what industry to look into if you need a job immediately.

Use the Occupational Research Summary (pdf) worksheet to keep track of your research.

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