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Learn About Careers

“Career exploration” means doing research about different careers, majors, industries, and positions that interest you. Being fully informed about your options is a necessary and incredibly important step in narrowing your career focus and setting goals for your future.

What Kind of Information Should you Look for?

When researching an industry or career, seek to learn more about the:
  • General work activities that you would participate in
  • Typical work environment – indoors / outdoors, individualized / team focused, etc.
  • The most desirable skills and competencies of successful employees
  • Necessary or desired experience and training
  • Salary expectations
  • Job outlook
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Work culture
  • Similar occupations / industries
When researching a particular employer, seek to learn more about the organization’s:
  • Mission / vision
  • Reporting structure
  • Products / services offered
  • Workplace culture
  • Major competitors
  • Stability / job outlook
How do you use the information you gather?
Your research will help narrow your career focus as you will be able to eliminate options that are not a good fit for your values, interests, personality, and skills, while moving more fitting options higher on your list. It might help you to document your research on a pros/cons list, noting the aspects that both attract and deter you from pursuing a career in that industry. Once you understand the basics of the field and have created a short list of viable options, try each out by pursuing some of the hands-on opportunities listed below.

Exploration Resources

Vault's Career Insider
Information about companies and careers providing the context needed to identify your best job opportunities.
America's Career InfoNet
Features occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, career exploration assistance, and more.
Spotlight on Careers
A comprehensive set of online resources for career exploration and internship, job, and graduate school searching in top career fields for liberal arts graduates. Contact us for the password if you are off campus.
O*NET
A tool for career exploration and job analysis, including detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers and students.
Ferguson's Facts on File
A comprehensive career search database. It is organized by industry covering careers, career resources, and career preparation information. Contact us for a username and password.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Published by the U.S. government, is a comprehensive resource describing most career options.
WetFeet
An online overview of 32+ industries, including fields such as advertising/PR, consulting, new media, nonprofit, and venture capital. It includes information about what's great and what's to hate, industry tables, and job tips.
Roadtrip Nation
Review video interviews conducted by the Roadtrip Nation team based on your interests (i.e. sports, politics) or a theme (i.e. risk, focus).