Career Exploration & Planning

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An important part of any career development plan includes career exploration. Career exploration involves gathering information about potential careers (research), conducting informational interviews and job shadowing if feasible. Use the information and resources on this page to get the most out of your career exploration experience. When you have finished exploring, map out your career plan before making a move.

Research

Occupation Information on the Internet

A plethora of career information is available on the internet. In addition to the following websites, you can visit the websites of professional associations that represent your career of interest.

General Occupational Information

Understanding the labor market in the career field in which you are interested can help you make informed decisions. These sites can give you the inside scoop.

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook – Find career information on duties, education and training, pay and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
  • O*Net – provides detailed descriptions of the world of work.
  • What Can I Do with a Major in ...? – provides a list of careers, workplaces and strategies based on your major.
  • MyPlan – comprehensive tools and resources to assist you in making career decisions.
  • Jobstr – ask people anything about their jobs online.
  • CareerBliss – provides over 4 million salaries and 700,000 company reviews.
  • Career Videos – Career videos are organized into 16 clusters on related types of work.
  • Hot Jobs for the Future – Displays jobs that will grow rapidly in the next few years or will have large numbers of openings.
  • America's Career InfoNet – provides detailed information about various careers, training skills needed, jobs, wages and industry information.
  • California Labor Market Information - providing information to help people understand California's economy and make informed labor market choices.
  • U.S. Dept of Labor – provides labor market information nationwide.

Industry-Specific Information

Business

  • Careers in Business – find out employment projections in business careers as well, job summary, salaries, and entry-level requirements.

Accounting

Actuaries

  • Be an Actuary – learn about the job outlook, salary, how to become an actuary and more.

Finance

  • Banking Jobs – explore the major job types and employers in banking.

Psychology

Sciences

  • Science Careers – provides exercises to help Ph.D.-bound students examine their skills, interests and values; 20 career paths that best fit their skills and interests; strategic goal-setting tools; and articles/resources to guide them through the process.

Environmental Sciences/Studies

Social Work

  • The New Social Worker – a quarterly newsletter with articles for students on social work ethics, field placement, practice issues, practice specialties, technology in social work, book reviews and more.

Teaching

  • California Teaching Fellows – provides next-generation teachers with after-school programs, summer learning opportunities and scholarship programs.
  • Teach California – provides information on different teaching requirements along with a personal career plan and checklist.
Informational Interviews

What is Informational Interviewing? 

Informational interviewing is the gathering of information about a specific occupation or industry by talking with people working in the field. An informational interview is a step that you initiate, and you need to be ready to ask questions. It can be a very valuable tool in making informed decisions about your career path. 

Job Shadowing

What is Job Shadowing? 

Job shadowing is when students partner with a professional to “shadow” them at their workplace. The student’s goal is to learn from a professional about a typical day on the job. The student observes the employee's work duties, interactions with customers and/or coworkers and other aspects of the job. The student gathers career-related information and sees firsthand how their skills and classwork relate to the workplace. 

Benefits of Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing  

  • Presents facts about an occupation that can assist in making a career decision. 
  • Provides students with a more realistic view of the education, and experience required for the actual job from someone who works in the field. 
  • Exposes students to the actual occupational environment and workplace climate. 
  • Establishes valuable network contacts that could lead to future job opportunities. 
  • Assists students in developing communication skills as they talk with professionals. 
  • Receive tips on how to prepare and land your first career position. 

How to Connect with Professionals? 

FPU Network 

The Fresno Pacific University Network is a group of FPU alumni and friends who have agreed to be available to FPU students to talk with them about their careers. To access this network or find out more information, please call or visit the CDELC. 

Networking Events 

Attend networking events in an industry of your interest. In these events, you will meet like-minded individuals and get the opportunity to build professional relationships. When you are in an environment surrounded by professionals in a specific industry, you’ll have the opportunity to hear about the latest trends and exchange ideas. Networking events will have you leaving with new contacts with whom you can develop ongoing professional relations. You will also leave with new ideas, inspired, and motivated about what else you can do.  

LinkedIn Network 

LinkedIn has tools that you can use to connect with career experts who are willing to provide career guidance and connect with you. Use the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn homepage to: 

  • Search for relevant hashtags such as #OfferHelp, #Careeradvice, or #Mentorship 
  • Join mentorship-based LinkedIn Groups by searching for keywords such as “mentorship, community or advice.” Join the Fresno Pacific University Alumni Association Group. 
  • Send a connection request to potential mentors or mentees. Include a personalized note in your message, mention something you admire about them and introduce yourself. Follow professional messaging etiquette.   

Resources for Conducting Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing 

  • FPU Informational Interview Guide- Use this guide to help you plan and conduct your informational interview.   
  • The LiveCareer Ultimate Guide to an Informational Interview provides information on how to conduct an informational interview and questions to ask. 
  • FPU Job Shadowing Guide – use this guide to help you prepare and plan for a job shadowing opportunity.  
  • Job Shadowing Tips – get the most out of your job shadowing experience. 
  • Sample Job Shadowing Questions – examples of the types of questions you can and should ask when job shadowing. 
  • Job Shadow – website that allows you to shadow real people’s jobs online. 

Follow Up on Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing  

Have an attitude of gratitude! Following the informational interview and/or job shadowing send a thank you letter or email to the professional who made time in their schedule to complete the interview with you. Ask if they know of someone else who can support you with an informational interview and/or job shadowing.  

Career Planning

What is Career Planning?

Career planning is a process of self-discovery and research that allows you to manage the direction of your career. Developing a career plan can help you visualize your overall goal and outline the steps to take in achieving your career goals. In a career plan, you’ll be able to set, track and re-evaluate the steps you are taking towards your goal. The career planning process itself has three main components: 

  • Self-Exploration: The process of self-discovery by assessing your skills, values, motives, and interests in education and occupations. 
  • Occupational Exploration: The process of getting to know the world of work by conducting research on occupations, educational requirements, gathering job market trends, conducting informational interviews, and job shadowing with professionals in an industry of your interest. Building and expanding your professional network and attending networking events. 
  • Educational and Career Plan: Making confident decisions by analyzing and evaluating the research done and information gathered from professionals. Develop a career plan by setting realistic short and long-term goals, and the actions to take to put your plan into action. A career plan will help you track and re-evaluate the steps you are taking to meet your career goal.  

Sample Career Plan – try mapping out your career plan with this example.