Career Exploration

It’s never too early to start exploring career options, and doing so can help you get the most out of your time at SPU. A career is not something that is chosen at a certain moment in time, but rather something that is built throughout life.

Knowing how to explore a range of possibilities, to gradually build a professional reputation and network, and to be prepared to respond to opportunities as they arise will serve you well not only at graduation, but immediately — as you make choices about your major, extracurricular activities, summer jobs, internships, and more.

Many students come to college with a short list of career ideas. But there are more than 30,000 job titles in the U.S. today, and more are being created every year! The following resources are a good place to start learning about career options:

Resources


  • Pathway U. A science-based tool designed to help you understand your interests, values, personality, and workplace preferences. It provides a predictive fit and pathways to design your educational journey towards a career and employer you will love.
  • O*Net. A comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics. Find in-depth information about jobs, or use a list of your skills to find matching occupations.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook. A nationally recognized source of career information produced by the U.S. Department of Labor and revised every two years. Describes working conditions, what workers do on the job, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
  • Riley Guide. A gateway for job searches and career exploration, with links to more than 1,600 high-quality resources.

Although the internet can provide a seemingly infinite amount of information, the best way to find a career that is a good fit for you is to leave your laptop to meet with people who are willing to share their insights and to visit various work environments.  Do this by:

Additional Resources

Informational Interview Questions

Questions Relating to a Career
  1. How did you get into this field?
  2. What are the responsibilities of your job?
  3. What do you like most about your job? Least?
  4. What skills and experiences are most important in your field?
  5. What is your typical day like?
  6. What organizations and online groups do you recommend I belong to?
  7. What activities classes, or other parts of your college experience best prepared you for your career?
  8. What is the best decision you made as an undergraduate to prepare for your professional life?
  9. Which personality traits or talents do the most successful people in this position share?
  10. If you were starting your career today, what would you do differently?
  11. What can I do to make myself more marketable?
  12. What are other related career fields?
  13. What would be a typical career path in this field?
  14. How did you obtain your first job?
  15. Would you be willing to review my resume and offer your opinion and advice?
    (Ask this question only if you feel comfortable and the interview seems to be going well.)

Questions Relating to a Company/Organization

  1. How would you describe the overall mission and goals of your organization?
  2. What are the core activities and services of this department?
  3. How would you describe your clients? What is important to them?
  4. Where do you see growth or change occurring in the organization?
  5. What are some typical entry-level job roles in this department?
  6. What qualities does your company look for in the people they hire?
  7. I've built a target list of organizations in this field to research. Would you be willing to look at my list and give me suggestions you might have?

Evaluating Your Information

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would I enjoy working for this company/doing this type of work?
  2. How do my personal assets meet the needs of this company/occupation?
  3. What other people/organizations should I contact?

Professional Associations

Why Professional Associations Matter

Professional associations are an excellent resource for career exploration when you are starting out, and for networking as you grow in your new profession.

Networking

All About Networking

Networking is a powerful way to learn about careers, employers, and opportunities. Statistics show that about 80 percent of all jobs are hired via networking. Check out “Networking” (PPT).

CCC Classes

Students: Take a CCC Class

The Center for Career and Calling offers five career classes several times each year to help you navigate your career path.