After working your way through Step 1 and Step 2, you have most likely developed a good idea of all of the career possibilities that might be right for you. If you are like most people, you probably found many career directions from which to choose.
Sometimes by this stage, a person has found the One True Career for them. Most people, however, need to do a little more digging to find their best match.
Review Your List of Best Career Matches
Start now, by reviewing your list of all the different jobs you wrote down.
Now make a new list of the top five jobs you would most like to do. Then, narrow the list once more so that it includes the top three.
Research the Top Three Job Classifications
Now you are ready to do a little research. This is where you go out and talk to people who are already doing the top jobs on your list. The internet can be a great resource, but talking to people in your area who are actually doing the work every day is best.
How To Conduct Informational Interviews
Informational interviews are a great way to get comfortable with the interview process, meet people in the company you want to work for, and to gain valuable information about the career area you are considering. Most professionals will be glad to schedule some of their busy time to share some hope, strength, and experience about their chosen profession. However, it is important that you go about contacting that person through proper channels and in in a professional manner. Here’s what to do.
Just contact the organization and ask the administrative assistant how you might contact the person you wish to talk with. Explain that you are seeking an informational interview because you are making career choices and want to talk with someone knowledgeable about the profession.
Be your your best professional self, and ask if you might schedule an informational interview with them. If the person refuses, take it with a grain of salt and ask if they might recommend someone else you could talk with. Most professional people, however, are happy to do this, but remember their time is valuable. Be professional, be prepared with several thoughtful questions, and bring a note pad to jot down a few notes. After the interview, be sure to write and mail a thank you card. An actual card–not an e-card. There are very few situations when an e-mail is appropriate for this situation.
Evaluating the Information
After going to several informational interviews and conducting some research on the wage, benefits, and required education for the three jobs that interest you the most, you should be ready to choose a career path that will be satisfying as well as rewarding. However, if you still are undecided, keep searching. While you are searching you might want to “try on” jobs by seeking out internships, or taking temporary employment.
Some things to keep in mind as you search for the career path that is right for you:
- Amount of education or training needed
- Entry-level wage for the field
- Working Environment
- Work hours
- Willingness to relocate to take a job
- Workplace realities