These four easy tips will help you research your career

Picture of Student with a career counselor

Before you pick a path, it's important to know where you're going, and it's never too late to get informed. Whether you're in high school, college, or just out in the job market, it's always a good time to do the research. It's an essential part of match-making and deciding what career is really right for you. You need to know that you have the skills for the job, and if you don't, what skills you need to get. You also need to know what the job market is going to be like, and where the career field is headed. Here's a guide to what you need to know, and where to find it.

1. Know what you need to research

Before you begin asking questions, it's important to know what questions to ask. From my personal experience, here's what you'll really want to know when researching a career:

  • Your typical duties and responsibilities. In other words, what you're doing.
  • Personal requirements. In other words, what kind of person you have to be.
  • Information on the labour market, including current job opportunities, and the future of the industry. Are there jobs now? Will there be jobs in the future?
  • What skills you need to make it in the field, including both hard and soft skills. Here's Investopedia's definition of the term.
  • What kind of education is really needed to break into the field, and what extra-curricular requirements you need.
  • The general happiness and satisfaction rates of people in the career.
  • What the easiest and hardest parts of the job are, so you know what's in store for you on both sides of the spectrum.

2. Start with your career counselor

Be it at high school or at college (in Centennial College’s Career Services and Co-operative Education , for example), your career counselor should be where you begin. The earlier you speak to one, the better, so you can align your academic path with where you want to go. They can provide you with research materials, and tell you where to go and who to talk to to find out more.

3. Go to Information Interviews, thanks to Ten Thousand Coffees

An Information Interview is when you find someone who's already in the career you're looking at, and ask them questions directly, typically over coffee. If an Information Interview goes well, you'll be given candid advice about what a career is like, and how to get into it. This shouldn't be the first step in your research, though, but something you do after you've learned a bit about the career, so you know what you're doing going in, and can ask intelligent questions.

  • As to what these smart questions are, Looksharp gave some examples, including:
  • What are the most common entry level jobs in the field?
  • What are some recent developments in the field in terms of both career opportunities and threats?
  • How do people advance in this field?
  • What are the key skills required for success?
  • What types of problems do you deal with in your job, and what types of decisions do you make?

Want to know how to find people to interview? Centennial College can help with that, thanks to our partnership with Ten Thousand Coffees. Becoming a part of the program means you're automatically connected to fellow students, alumni, faculty and staff looking to network, and ask and answer questions, perfect for helping you learn what you need to know.

4. Look to professional associations

As Career Ready points out, many industries and trades have professional organizations where you can get information and resources, on top of meeting people in the career field you want to enter. Some college programs at Centennial, like Public Relations, include membership in these organizations as a part of the program, and even if they don't, joining one of these organizations yourself can help you learn more about the profession, while you network your way closer to the career of your choice.

By Anthony Geremia

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