The more occupational research you do, the better
your chances of finding occupations that fit your interests, values, skills
personality type and experiences. These choices will result in greater career and
life satisfaction. Occupational research may:
- lead to a more accurate view of a specific occupation over a
romantic or idealized picture.
- enable you to increase your individual circle of contacts, which
can lead to greater support and job leads.
- help in preparation for job interviews.
- lead to other career options that you had not considered.
Use the Internet, use printed sources, use people, and use experiences.
Nothing beats throwing yourself into the work environment that
you are considering. This can be done through internships,
volunteering, summer or part time jobs, study abroad or service
learning opportunities. Don't miss any of these chances to
test a career.
Internships allow you to do an actual job that interests you, like
a regular employee. Interns usually have more help and guidance
while learning to do a job.
Internships provide more than exposure to jobs. Internship experience
may help you get a job. Employers like to hire people with experience,
and sometimes hire their most successful interns.
Internships are available to college students, whose education
and training may be appropriate for many jobs. Internships usually
last several weeks to a few months. They may offer pay, school credit
or both. Look at Montgomery College's
website for additional information.
You spend a day (or part of a day) at work with someone in a career
that interests you. You follow that person throughout the workday
and observe what she or he does.
At appropriate times during the day, ask questions about the work.
Make a list of possible questions in advance, and make notes of
other questions that come up during the day.
Job shadowing may not give you a complete picture of a job or career,
but it will give you a sneak preview.
Volunteering is a good way to experience many careers. In some
cases, you may be able to do the specific job that interests you.
For jobs that require more education or training, you might be able
to volunteer in a related job that still exposes you to your career
Like internships, volunteering can last from several weeks to months.
You may volunteer a few hours a month or several hours each week.
When asking about volunteer opportunities, talk with the supervisor
about your interests. He or she needs to know you want to work with
or near employees doing the job you are interested in, if this
Many communities have lists of volunteer opportunities in their
area - check at your library and in your local newspaper.
Part-time and Full- time Jobs
Working teaches you a lot about your interests and helps you develop
skills for many careers while earning some money for school and
Many part-time jobs do not require a lot of training and skill
to get started. You may be able to work part time while in school
- but be careful to keep your grades up! During school breaks you
may be able to work on a part-time or full-time basis.