Career Exploration Resources – A Starting Point

career timeline
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When planning your future career or making a mid-career change, here’s a list of steps I’ve found most helpful:

  • Be sure to research, research, research. Then, research some more. I cannot emphasize this enough.
  • Conduct informational interviews. People who enjoy their careers love to talk about their jobs and themselves. Likewise, people who can’t stand their jobs also give valuable insight. They may describe job responsibilities that you actually love or vice versa.
  • Tell your friends and family you’re looking for work and describe to them what you’re looking for. Keep annoying them about it if you have to; they love you, they’ll understand.
  • If you can, spend time job-shadowing professionals in the field in which you’re interested. I’ve learned about the jobs I do NOT want to do through job shadowing. It was probably my most valuable career exploration experience during college.
  • The next best thing to job-shadowing is watching career videos, specifically ones that show close-ups of day-to-day job tasks and worker interactions.
  • Talk to professionals again.
  • Make lists of pros and cons of all the occupations that pique your interest.
  • Always keep in mind that tasks and technologies constantly change; adaptability is key in staying steady and positive.

Try not to stress about it, though. Instead, focus on the exciting possibilities!

Career Exploration Resources

Below is a list of valuable career resources that can help planners begin the first step in whatever stage they are at in their career. If you’re interested in career planning for yourself or sharing information with others, check out these sites. I’ll continue to add helpful articles and information to this page.

These links are to basic information to help you start exploring various options.


O*NET Interest Profiler

Skills Matcher

Information on Various Occupations

Occupational Outlook Handbook (Written by The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Probably the most important resource in the U.S.)

CareerOneStop videos with transcripts (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration)

Big Future: Major and Career Search (The College Board)

O*NET Online (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration)

My Next Move (career searches by key words and industry) (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration)

Student’s Desk – K-12 Resources (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Teacher’s Desk – K-12 Teacher Resources (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Going to College

College Planning (ACT, Inc.)

College Planning (The College Board)

College Navigator – Search tool for postsecondary institutions including 2-year, career, and technical school (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics)

Community College Finder (American Association of Community Colleges)

The Center for First-generation Student Success

Online schools (Open Education Database)

Financial Aid

Student Aid (Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education)

FinAid! (a Monster company) – This site is supported by ads, but it contains invaluable information and tips on scholarships, loans, and other types of aid.