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:

  • skills required
  • education or training needed
  • your needs and goals
  • the demand for the occupation in your area

Where to look for career information?

  • Look through detailed career profiles in the Ohio Occupational Profiles site.
  • Look through the detailed occupational profiles and videos online.
  • Do informational interviews with people working in those fields to get inside 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:

  • to explore careers and clarify your career goal.
  • to discover employment opportunities that are not advertised.
  • to expand your professional network.
  • to build confidence for your job interviews.
  • to access the most up-to-date career information.
  • to identify your professional strengths and weaknesses.

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.

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