Explore Interesting Careers

By Lucy Shapiro, M.Ed.

The process of career exploration (career information gathering) helps you discover interesting jobs/careers/organizations that match your personal criteria and interests; is also important preparation to determine your job search objective(s); and continues throughout your job search process.

Utilize the Advantages of Career Exploration

  • Career exploration helps target and focus your job search efforts to be more productive.
  • Increases your chances of choosing more desired careers
  • Decreases stress of the unknown by bringing interesting careers into focus
  • Narrowing your options and making informed decisions saves important job search time and energy.
  • Networking for information gathering helps build job search contacts.


Gather Career Information

  • Job descriptions and requirements
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Salary ranges
  • Job location(s)
  • Typical career paths
  • Company/organization/agency information such as size, reputation, philosophy, training, position descriptions, and relationship to competitors
  • Inside information from sources who work in the field, company, agency, such as work environment, reputation, supervisor information
  • Decide what information is most important to you based on your goals.


Review Many Career Information Sources

Internet Career Information Sources

  • Online Telephone Directories
  • Online Newspapers
  • Online Journals
  • Online Listserves
  • Online Associations
  • Online Agency Webpages (www.loc.gov/rr/news/fedgov.html )
  • Government Web Resources (www.loc.gov/rr/news/extgovd.html )

Networking Resources

  • Friends, family, community groups, professors/advisors, librarians, career counselors, fellow professionals/volunteers, organizational members, alumni, competitors, anyone you meet

Print Resources

  • Directories
  • Annual Reports
  • Magazines (Forbes, Fortune, Business Weekly)
  • Newspapers (www.rollcall.com )
  • Journals
  • Government Publications
  • The Yellow Pages (www.yellow.com )
  • Industry Newsletters
  • Public Documents

Employer/Agency/Company Information Sources

  • Business Directories
  • Telephone Directories
  • Associations
  •  Employer Webpages
  • Alumni Network

Labor Market Information Sources

  • Public Sector Directories
  • Government Reports
  • Trade Publications
  • Newspapers
  • Company Literature
  • Telephone Directories


Evaluate Information

Consulting many information sources and comparing findings can help evaluate the accuracy of the collected career information.
Check that the information gathered is current and up-to-date.
Gather complete job information.

Career Exploration Resources

Utilize the following print and online career exploration resources:

National Directories

  • Where the Jobs Are: A Comprehensive Directory of 1200 Journals Listing Career Opportunities
  • The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America
  • The Adams Jobs Almanac
  • State & Regional Associations of the United States
  • National Trade & Professional Associations of the United States
  • Finding A Job In The Nonprofit Sector
  • Hoover’s Handbook
  • Professional Careers Sourcebook
  • The National Job Bank
  • The Complete Guide To International Jobs & Careers
  • The Job Seeker’s Guide to 1000 Top Employers
  • International Careers
  • America’s Fastest Growing Employers
  • Volunteer USA
  • The Hidden Job Market, Peterson’s Guides

Career Reference Guides

  • www.oalj.dol.gov/libdot.htm (Dictionary of Occupational Titles)
  • www.bls.gov/oco/ (Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes
  • www.JobHuntersBible.com (Richard Bolles “What Color Is Your Parachute” online website)
  • Occupational Employment Statistics (U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics)
  • www.census.gov (U.S. Census Bureau - Online Industry/Occupation Information)
  • www.projectionscentral.com/ (State Occupational Projections - Online Labor Market Information from 50 States + DC)
  • www.careerjournal.com (The Wall Street Journal articles and former National Business Employment Weekly)
  • www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/ooqhome.htm (Occupational Outlook Quarterly)
  • www.jobbank.usa (Job & Resume Database Services)

Federal Employment Guides

  • Congressional Staff Directory
  • The Federal Staff Directory
  • Find A Federal Job Fast
  • The Compleat Guide to Finding Jobs in Government
  • The Complete Guide To Public Employment
  • The Almanac of American Government Jobs and Careers
  • Federal Career Directory (Career America)
  • How to Get a Federal Job
  • How To Find An Overseas Job With The U.S. Government
  • www.loc.gov/rr/news/fedgov.html (Official US Executive Branch Websites, The Library of Congress, lists U.S. Government Executive Branch websites)
  • www.iccweb.com/hwgjc/hwgjc3.asp (Internet Career Connection, Federal Departments & Agencies website links)
  • www.federaljobs.net (Federal Government resources, Agency Links, Associations & Organizations, Take Charge of Your Federal Career, The Book of U.S. Government Jobs)