Exploring new career paths
If you have little or no work experience or are considering a career change, there are several ways to explore new career paths.
Some approaches include:
- Researching companies and learning about careers in your area.
- Attending informational interviews to meet people who have experience with a specific job, occupation or company that interests you.
- Job shadowing at work to learn more about an occupation.
- Scheduling a job tryout.
- Considering an internship or volunteering to gain more work experience.
Exploring new careers can also help you network and gather job leads. Remember that everyone you meet during your career exploration process could be your next employer, so always make a great impression!
If you are already employed and considering a career change, exploring new careers can help you identify new directions for your next job or career.
Whom should I interview?
To answer this question, you must consider your goals. For example, if you’re interested in a job in the healthcare field, you may interview a person in human resources at a hospital. While you can learn about qualifications such an education and experience online, an informational interview can give you the behind-the-scenes information such as what it’s like to work in a hectic clinic environment.
When you have a sense of your career goals, it’s time to network. Make a list of your contacts and reach out to anyone who can help your career planning process including service providers, teachers and family members.
I’ve arranged an interview. Now what?
- Research the company prior to the interview. Ask about topics not covered on company websites or publications.
- You don’t have to ask all of your questions. The interview may cover topics you hadn’t planned for. Be flexible, and don’t be afraid to take notes.
- Treat it like a job interview. Be on time and courteous and dress professionally. Bring a copy of your resume and be prepared to talk about your background and experience.
- Listen respectfully and don’t be defensive or disagree. The interviewer may have advice for you about your career planning and job search process.
- Don’t ask for a job. This is an informational interview, not a job interview. If the company has a job opening, you may be invited to apply for a position, but that is not the intent of the interview.
After the interview…
- At the end of the interview ask if you can stay in touch. Remember to get a business card.
- Follow up with a thank-you note.
- Record your observations and remember to take the time to think about what you learned.