Researching Careers

"Find a job you like and you add five days to every week." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

People tend to gravitate towards what they know, which is natural and understandable - but it may limit your choices. So how can you choose a career if you don't know what kinds of jobs are out there?

Here are some suggestions for how to learn about the enormous range of possibilities:

  • Read about careers and organizations. The resources in the Right column will serve as a good starting point. With the global shift from print resources to electronic and web-based media, in our library, we maintain a 'print collection' that presents content that does not change a lot over time. This includes examples of good essays and personal statements, standardized test preparation, and philosophical models of ways to search for opportunities and core advice on self-presentation.
  • Browse the Alumni directory at LinkedIn. What are alumni in your major doing? What was their career path? While doing research, remember to interview several people. A variety of opinions will provide you with a balanced picture of the field.
  • Each year a number of alumni visit campus for academic department and career sponsored events. Attend them!


The following are questions to guide your search:
  • What are the responsibilities of the job?
  • Does the work match my skills, interest, values and personality traits?
  • What is a typical day like? Week?
  • What are the prospects for entering the field?
  • What are the advancement opportunities for women?
  • What are the education and experience requirements to enter this field?
  • What would be the best way to find work/get experience?
  • What kind of salary could I expect to make?
  • What are the positives and negatives about this career?
  • Will I be happy and effective doing this work?
  • What does the physical setting look and feel like? Can I work in such a setting?
  • Are there people like me in this career field? Will I be comfortable with my colleagues?