Get the Inside Story on Career Research

“What is it REALLY like to work in this career? I’ve read the articles and mapped out the required education. But how do I know I’d like going to work every day?”

Sound familiar? A lot of students ask us how they can get the real story on their favorite career. And who can blame them? Choosing a career is a big decision and it’s natural to have some doubts.

One of our bloggers, Anna, faces a similar dilemma. She’s an ambitious recent graduate who had some disillusioning experiences when she first tried to break into the job market. Never one to sit back and wait for opportunities, she decided to take a more active approach than just sending out resumes. She’s now interviewing people in careers that interest her and chronicling her quest for her dream job in her blog.

Anna is learning that an informational interview is a great way to find out more about a career. Not only can job seekers find out more about the things that are important to them, it’s also great experience for job interviews. And many people have used the connections they made through this research to create real job offers.

Our sites have plenty of resources to help make these connections. Career articles on many of our sites contain links to associations that can lead to good contacts, for example.

Reading the Interview section is also a great way to learn more about a career. In this section, people talk about their memorable moments on the job and give tips for success.

Doing some research on a career can help students think of questions to ask for an informational interview. For best results, they should make a list of questions in advance. Questions could include things like:

  • Do you like your job?
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of this field?
  • What kind of qualities or characteristics should a person have to help them succeed in this field?
  • What are the hours or schedule like?
  • Is there a basic routine or a variety of activities?
  • What do your day-to-day duties or responsibilities entail?
  • What is the salary range for persons working in this field?
  • Are there any other benefits such as vacation time or health benefits?
  • What kinds of opportunities for advancement are there?
  • How much stress is there in this position?
  • What kind of educational background do employers look for?
  • How would you recommend I go about getting the experience needed for this position?
  • What is the most valuable piece of advice you can give someone entering this field?

Speaking of learning from real-world experiences, students can also get tips for surviving their senior year in Jessica’s blog. She’s a high school senior making some big decisions about her next steps. She talks about the things high school students face, like the boredom of filling out applications.

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