How to Explore Academic and Career Interests

Exploring careers can be overwhelming, but with the Fleishman Center on your team, the process can also be fun! The Fleishman Center wants all students to be confident and to find clarity in their career decision making. Take a look at the steps in the exploration process below and see how the Fleishman Center can help you! 

Research YOU: All exploration begins with a really solid understanding of yourself. By identifying your values, your interests, what motivates you, and when you are at your best, you are able to better align those personal qualities with specific careers. 

Some things you can do if you find yourself needing to research yourself more…

  • Take a look at the Career Exploration Guide. This workbook was created to help students reflect on their involvement, skills, and connections, and then integrate that knowledge of self with their academics.
  • If you need more structure for researching yourself, consider taking CDCI 200, the Fleishman Center’s career exploration course. This course helps you to dive into your own interests, values, and strengths and how you can leverage those to identify career opportunities. 

Guided Exploration: Career exposure and research is key when trying to understand what career opportunities would be in alignment with your values and goals. In guided exploration, our goal is for students to narrow down their interest areas through research.

Some of the things you can do if you find yourself in need of some guided exploration…

  • Informational interviewing is a great way to gain knowledge about certain industries, as well as expose yourself to specific career paths. If you need help finding someone to conduct an informational interview with, please reach out to the Fleishman Center through a walk-in, Monday-Friday 12-4 p.m. 
  • Find a mentor! Mentor Match is a great resource to find and connect with alumni who have relevant experience and can provide you with advice about different career paths. 

Expand and Reflect: Expanding career knowledge through action is the next phase to ensure students gain the necessary skills and confidence in their career exploration. Students can gain experience through a variety of ways, including internships, job shadowing, and mentorship opportunities. 

One of the things you can do to expand your career knowledge and gain experience…

  • Forage is a great starting place for students to expand their knowledge. Forage is an online resource which offers virtual experience programs designed by actual companies. These virtual experiences help you develop your skills and help you explore different roles and sectors you might be considering. 

Plan and Dive Deeper: Once you have narrowed down your interests and expanded your knowledge through action, it’s time to dive deeper and make a plan! Start thinking about what skill sets you need to develop, how to articulate your personal brand, and how to continuously advance your network. 

One of the things you can do to enhance your brand further…

  • The Fleishman Center offers personal branding appointments! We will help you articulate and enhance your personal brand so that you can dive into more meaningful professional relationships. We can also work together to ensure that the path you are following is in alignment with what you discovered about yourself in Research You! 

At the Fleishman Center, our goal is to help you find confidence and clarity in your career decisions. The steps above can guide you through your career exploration process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point, don’t worry–the Fleishman Center is here for you! 

To learn more, check out our Exploration Day celebration! From noon-4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, the Fleishman Center staff will be specially available to help you create an action plan and identify helpful resources. Check it out here

By Lexie Avery, MS '15
Lexie Avery, MS '15 Senior Associate Director, Student Engagement and Career Readiness