Explore Careers

Why You Need to Explore Careers

What Career Changers Need to Know

You have many options for your job search: you can change occupations, change industries, or look for a job in the same occupation you have been in. This process also works for job seekers who have been out of the workforce for a long time.
Here are some things you need to know about yourself and the job market before you explore occupations:

Find Career Information

Start researching occupations.

Using the occupations you listed in the Occupations that Match Your Assessments activity in Step 1: Assess Yourself, you can go online and look at Occupational Profiles specific to Ohio to find more information.

For each occupation, pay attention to:

Where to look for career information?

Informational Interviewing

One of the best sources for gathering information about what's happening in an occupation is to talk to people working in the field. This process is called informational interviewing. An informational interview is an interview that you initiate - you ask the questions. Please understand that the purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.

The following are some good reasons to conduct an informational interview:

Listed below are steps to follow to conduct informational interviews:

  1. 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. Prepare a list of questions that concern you.
  2. 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. 
  3. Arrange the Interview
  4. Contact the person to set up an interview: 
    a. by telephone,
    b. by email,
    c. by a letter followed by a telephone call, or
    d. by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you. 
  5. Conduct the Interview
  6. 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. 
  7. Follow Up
  8. Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered. 
    Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within one week of the interview. 

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

Prepare a list of your own questions for your informational interview. Choose 5-7 questions to ask. The following are some sample questions:

  1. On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
  2. What training or education is required for this occupation?
  3. What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful?
  4. What part of this job do you find most satisfying? most challenging?
  5. How did you get your job?
  6. What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?
  7. What entry level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?
  8. What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?
  9. How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?
  10. Is there a demand for people in this occupation?
  11. What special advice would you give a person entering this field?
  12. What types of training do companies offer persons entering this field?
  13. What are the basic prerequisites for positions in this field?
  14. Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field?
  15. Do you think my experience will help me secure a position in this field?
  16. From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?
  17. If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
  18. With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields would you suggest I research before I make a final decision?
  19. What do you think of my résumé? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it?
  20. Who do you know that I should talk to next? When I call him/her, may I use your name?

 Use the Occupational Research Summary (pdf) worksheet to keep track of your research.

Career Exploration Online Resources

What Are Career Clusters?

Exploring occupations in career clusters that interest you is another way to see how your knowledge, skills, and interests might be transferred to different industries. You can explore occupations within these clusters by going to O*Net.

Career clusters are also another way to group occupations. Each career cluster represents an industry that contains occupations. Many occupations can be found within the 16 career clusters and each cluster can include hundreds of different occupations.

The 16 Career Clusters

Exploring Health Care Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the health care industry will grow faster than all other industries. In the next few years 26% of all new jobs will be created in the health care and social assistance industry. This includes jobs in public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, individual care, and family services. That equals an estimated 4 million new jobs.

Below is a short list of some of the many health care occupations that will grow in Ohio. Using your Interest code from Assess Yourself, you can begin exploring some of these occupations.

Occupation Interest
Education Average annual
Average annual
job openings
Dental Hygienist SRC Associate's degree $63,410


Registered Nurse SIC Associate's degree $61,710 5016
Respiratory Therapist SIR Associate's degree $51,480 245
Radiologic Technologist
and Technician
RS Associate's degree $50,950 399
Medical and Health
Services Manager
ECS Bachelor's degree $87,480 555
Mental Health Counselor SIA Master's degree $45,040 199
Health Care Social
SI Master's degree $47,530 339
Dentist IRS Professional degree $170,220 186
Pharmacist ICS Professional degree $107,720 478

To continue exploring health care occupations you can go to the Virtual Career Network. This site will provide you with occupational descriptions, tasks, required education, and the average annual salary for healthcare occupations.

Move on to Step 3: Create a Plan and Set Goals