Career Exploration and Informational Interviewing

Researching You: Navigating Your Own Career Exploration 

Investing time in the career exploration process is an important step as you navigate the question that often alludes many of us…”what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Although cliche, the question does bring out an interesting perspective on how much time we are spending reflecting on our interests, the skills we have and what work environments will we thrive in the most. If you don’t have answers to these questions, this article will provide you with resources and tips for educating yourself about different industries and to look at opportunities to connect with professionals as you explore career options.

  1. Part of exploring your interests and career options is educating yourself about the types of job opportunities available. Using resources such as CandidCareer can help you to learn about a variety of careers. CandidCareer has thousands of informational interviews with professionals that can be filtered by industries, job titles, college major or keywords. This resource can help you get an overview of different roles and help to provide direction as you search for internships, volunteer opportunities and full-time employment. CandidCareer is a low-risk informational interview that is often a good first step for students to gather foundational knowledge about industries and careers.

  2. Conducting an informational interview is a step beyond CandidCareer and can be done in a variety of different ways. An informational interview is a conversation that you schedule with a professional to gain more information about careers or industries that you would like more information on. The goal of this conversation isn’t about getting a job, it is about getting learning about different industries, jobs, companies and work environments. As a student, you should be preparing questions beforehand and reaching out to professionals, Binghamton alumni would be a good place to start. Check out the Career Guide (pg. 27) for tips on making contact, preparing for the informational interview and how to follow up afterwards.

Are you still looking for more? 

Check out these resources as well that can help you gain a better understanding of jobs/industries that may be a good fit for you!

Connecting with alumni can be beneficial to learn about their current roles, companies and how they chose their path. 

Mentor Match is an online mentoring platform that helps you connect with Binghamton alumni. Remember, alumni sign up because they WANT to help, so take advantage of platforms like this to build your network and also educate yourself about opportunities.

Completing a self-assessment can also be helpful! I recommend starting with Focus 2 which has a variety of features to help you better understand yourself and the options you have. Start with the 5 career assessments that help to connect your work interests, personality, leisure activities, skills and values to narrow down some of your interests. Focus 2 can also help you dive into career opportunities and their connection to different majors. I highly recommend after taking Focus 2, that you talk with a career consultant who understands the results and how to best interpret them. 

Some final thoughts from me to you…

Identifying what career is the right fit isn’t an easy decision and for most of us, it isn’t something that will just come to you in a dream (although that would be helpful!). It takes time and research so that you have the information you need to make a confident career choice. This doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. I changed my mind quite a few times before I found something that connects with my values, that I enjoy and I feel my strengths align with. 

Taking the time to do research is key to successful career exploration. If you need help, the Fleishman Center is here for you! Schedule a career consulting appointment in hireBING to speak with a career consultant. We can help you explore careers, or assist with any other career-related topics!

By Lexie Avery, MS '15
Lexie Avery, MS '15 Assistant Director, Early Engagement and Exploration Lexie Avery, MS