Career Exploration

Career exploration may be the most important step in the career development process, and it is the step that most people fail to take. When making a career decision, you often create an image in your mind of what that career will be like. Career exploration allows you to determine if the picture in your mind is accurate in light of reality. Career exploration also allows you to learn about careers that you may not be familiar with at this time.

During this step you will gather information about the careers you are considering. You will research careers through:

Printed Materials

There are numerous books on various career fields.  Take the time to visit the library or do an Amazon search to learn what books are available concerning career fields of interest to you.  Also check out our “What Can I Do with a Major In…?” Sheets (linked text and submenu item.) 

Attending Career Fairs

Career Fairs can be a great way to learn about career options.  Be sure to attend the career fairs offered by the Career Development Center and the Jordan College.   Many of the fairs include a special session for students who are only looking for career information.  Who knows, you might even land an internship or part-time job. 

Talking with Faculty

Your faculty have strong ties to industry and many of them had careers in industry prior to their careers in academia.  Take advantage of their wisdom and schedule time to talk with about your career interests. 

The Internet

Read blogs of people who work in careers of interest.  They are a great source of information about the realities of a particular career.  When searching for these blogs simply include the word “blog” and then the name of the career field (i.e. “farm manager”) in your search terms. 

In addition to blogs, there are always a variety of web articles on different career fields.   Get out there and search the web!

Here are some websites to get you started exploring:

Professional Associations

Professional Association websites can provide you with information about the issues that are important to an industry or career specialty.  They often include information careers in their area of specialty.  It’s highly recommended that you obtain a student membership to a professional association related to your career goal. Below are some of the professional associations related academic disciplines in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.  To find associations not listed here visit the Directory of Association at http://www.directoryofassociations.com/

Agribusiness

Agricultural Communications

Agricultural Education

Animal Science

Child Development

Family Science

Fashion Merchandising

Food Science

Industrial Technology

Nutrition & Dietetics

Plant Science

Viticulture & Enology

Know of another association or organization that should be featured on this list?  Email Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu and let her know.

Conducting Informational Interviews

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 or research 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.

The following are some good REASONS TO CONDUCT INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS:

  • to explore careers and clarify your career goal
  • to discover employment opportunities that are not advertised
  • to expand your professional network
  • to build confidence for your job interviews
  • to access the most up-to-date career information
  • to identify your professional strengths and weaknesses

Listed below are STEPS TO FOLLOW TO CONDUCT AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW:

1.  Identify the Occupation or Industry You Wish to Learn About
Assess your own interests, abilities, values, and skills. Then evaluate labor conditions and trends to identify the best fields to research.

2.  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.

3.  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.

Additionally we have two resources to connect you with friends and alumni of the Jordan College :

4.  Arrange the Interview
Contact the person to set up an interview:

  • by telephone,
  • by an email followed by a telephone call, or
  • by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you.

5.  Conduct the Interview
Dress appropriately, arrive on time, 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
Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered. Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within 24-hours of your visit.

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

Click HEREto download the Informational Interviewing handout (289 kb) that includes sample questions. 

If you need assistance developing questions for your information interview, you can also contact Mary Willis at Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu or 559.278.4019.

As you research careers of interest to you, you have to ask questions:

  • How does this career fit with my interests?
  • Does the career utilize the skills I enjoy on a regular basis?
  • Is the career in line with what I value in terms or work environment, work relationships, work content and the career's contributions to society?
  • How does the career vary in different settings (i.e. working as a marketing executive with a non-profit organization vs. a for-profit organization).

Want additional assistance as you explore career options? Please contact Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu or 559.278.4019 to schedule an appointment.