A Career Exploration Starter Guide

Feeling unsure about what careers align with your skills and interests? Don’t know what you’ll want to do after graduation? 

It can be overwhelming to figure out what career paths are out there, as well as to decide which ones are interesting to you. It’s normal not to know and okay to be unsure, even as a senior. Here are some resources and steps to help you in the career exploration process:

1. Self-Assessments & Exploration

Career Explorer is a free, interactive test that aligns your own skills, values, and interests with over 800 careers. It’s one of the exploration tools and self-assessments available on our Explore Careers & Industries page.

Our career communities have resources grouped by specific fields or industries. For example, the Vault Guides on each career resources section are a great starting point for learning about a specific career and provide insight into the inner working of individual fields and industries.

2. Talking with Professionals

Talking with someone working in an area you’re curious about is an incredibly valuable ways to make connections and learn more from those with direct experience.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a great way to ask a professional questions about their career path, the jobs they’ve had, the industries they’ve been in, employers they’re familiar with, emerging and future trends in their fields, the skills they’ve developed and used, and more. Think of it as having a chat with someone to learn about their professional experiences. Remember, the goal of informational interviews is not to ask for a job, but rather, to seek information that can help you chart your own career path more effectively.

Events

We host a variety of both panels, round tables, and Q&A events with alumni/professionals as well as employer focused events like career fairs, information sessions, and coffee chats. Different industries have different hiring deadlines and timelines – our summer and post-graduate Industry Reports can be a great place for undergrads to research and explore these differences.

3. Trying Things Out

Career exploration is an ongoing process. Classes, extracurriculars, volunteer experiences, and internships can all provide insight into what you do or don’t enjoy.

Remember that you don’t need to suddenly decide where you want to be in 10 years! Instead, it’s better to focus figuring out what you enjoy (or don’t!) so you can start to focus on a few fields or areas of interest. Is working with other people more appealing than working alone? Do you like quantitative analysis? Do you enjoy problem solving, or in-depth research? What classes have you enjoyed the most, and what about them made it engaging?

 

If you need help with the process remember you can make an appointment, talk with a Peer Career Advisor, schedule a same-day drop-in, or attend one of our events.

By Emily Barrale
Emily Barrale Data Visualizations & Analytics Manager and Associate Director, The College Emily Barrale