Exploring Career Options
With so many options, the choice of a career can seem daunting. Do you follow in the employment footsteps of your parents? Do you follow the path your friends are taking? Once you have a career choice narrowed down, what do you know about that career? Do you know what an engineer, nurse, banker, welder, or farmer really does? How much will you be paid in this career? The way to find these answers is by asking people who know. Here are ways to learn about and gain experience in different career fields.
Conduct an Informational Interview
Most people like to talk about their work, and they want to encourage others who have similar career goals and aspirations. Find someone who works in a field that interests you. Ask if you may visit with that person for a half hour or so for an informational interview.
Come to the interview with prepared questions such as:
- What type of schooling is required to succeed in this position?
- Can you describe your average day at work?
- Do opportunities for advancement exist, and what is expected of an individual to advance?
- What do you find most challenging and rewarding about this field?
- How do you see the employment outlook for this field over the next several years?
- Are there any government or organizational licensing requirements, and how do I obtain them?
- What is a good starting salary for this position?
Gain Work Experience
Other options would be to take part in internship or co-op programs through your school. You can receive educational credit and often a salary while working in a field related to your study. Not only will this experience become a good addition to your résumé, but you will obtain firsthand experience while still in school.
A simple part-time job or volunteer experience will also give you valuable insight into a career field. What is important is a thorough and early investigation of career options that will lead to saved time and money down the road.