Career exploration may be the most important step in the career development process, and it is the step that most people fail to take. When making a career decision, you often create an image in your mind of what that career will be like. Career exploration allows you to determine if the picture in your mind is accurate in light of reality. Career exploration also allows you to learn about careers that you may not be familiar with at this time.
During this step you will gather information about the careers you are considering. You will research careers through:
There are numerous books on various career fields. Take the time to visit the library or do an Amazon search to learn what books are available concerning career fields of interest to you. Also check out our “What Can I Do with a Major In…?” Sheets (linked text and submenu item.)
Attending Career Fairs
Career Fairs can be a great way to learn about career options. Be sure to attend the career fairs offered by the Career Development Center and the Jordan College. Many of the fairs include a special session for students who are only looking for career information. Who knows, you might even land an internship or part-time job.
Talking with Faculty
Your faculty have strong ties to industry and many of them had careers in industry prior to their careers in academia. Take advantage of their wisdom and schedule time to talk with about your career interests.
Read blogs of people who work in careers of interest. They are a great source of
information about the realities of a particular career. When searching for these
blogs simply include the word “blog” and then the name of the career field (i.e. “farm
manager”) in your search terms.
In addition to blogs, there are always a variety of web articles on different career fields. Get out there and search the web!
Here are some websites to get you started exploring:
Professional Association websites can provide you with information about the issues that are important to an industry or career specialty. They often include information careers in their area of specialty. It’s highly recommended that you obtain a student membership to a professional association related to your career goal. Below are some of the professional associations related academic disciplines in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. To find associations not listed here visit the Directory of Association at http://www.directoryofassociations.com/
- Ag Lenders Society of California - http://www.aglenders.org
- American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers - http://www.asfmra.org/
- American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers – California Chapter - http://www.calasfmra.com
- California Grain & Feed Association - http://www.cgfa.org/
- Center For Growing Talent by the Produce Marketing Association - https://www.centerforgrowingtalent.org/
- National Agri-Marketing Association - http://nama.org
- Risk Management Association Student Resource Center - http://landing.rmahq.org/SRC/landing-94UZ-1964NX.html
- Agricultural Relations Council - http://www.agrelationscouncil.org
- National Association of Agricultural Educators - http://www.naae.org/
- American Society of Animal Science - https://www.asas.org/membership-services/student-resources
- American Meat Science Association - http://careers.meatscience.org/
- Association of American of Veterinary Colleges - http://aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Careers-in-Veterinary-Medicine.aspx
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association - http://www.beefusa.org
- National Pork Producers Council - http://nppc.org
- Poultry Science Association - https://poultryscience.org/
- National Association for the Education of Young Children - http://www.naeyc.org/
- National Council on Family Relations - https://www.ncfr.org/
- National Retail Association - https://nrf.com/
- Institute of Food Technologist - http://www.ift.org/careercenter.aspx
- Research Chefs Association - http://www.culinology.org/
- Association for Manufacturing Technology - http://www.amtonline.org/
- California Manufacturers and Technology Association - http://www.cmta.net/
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers - http://www.sme.org
Nutrition & Dietetics
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/career
- American Society for Nutrition - https://www.nutrition.org
- American Society of Agronomy - https://www.agronomy.org/
- California Association of Pest Control Advisors - http://capca.com/general-information/
- California Seed Association - http://www.calseed.org/profiles.html
- Crop Science Society of America - https://www.crops.org
- Western Plant Health Association - http://www.healthyplants.org/
Viticulture & Enology
- American Society of Enology and Viticulture - http://www.asev.org/
Know of another association or organization that should be featured on this list? Email Imelda Santacruz Dudley at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know.
Conducting Informational Interviews
One of the best sources for gathering information about what's happening in an occupation or an industry is to talk to people working in the field. This process is called informational or research interviewing. An informational interview is an interview that you initiate - you ask the questions. The purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.
The following are some good REASONS TO CONDUCT INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS:
- to explore careers and clarify your career goal
- to discover employment opportunities that are not advertised
- to expand your professional network
- to build confidence for your job interviews
- to access the most up-to-date career information
- to identify your professional strengths and weaknesses
Listed below are STEPS TO FOLLOW TO CONDUCT AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW:
1. Identify the Occupation or Industry You Wish to Learn About
Assess your own interests, abilities, values, and skills. Then evaluate labor conditions and trends to identify the best fields to research.
2. Prepare for the Interview
Read all you can about the field prior to the interview. Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation/industry. Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered.
3. Identify People to Interview
Start with lists of people you already know - friends, relatives, fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, neighbors, etc... Professional organizations, the yellow pages, organizational directories, and public speakers are also good resources. You may also call an organization and ask for the name of the person by job title.
Additionally we have two resources to connect you with friends and alumni of the Jordan College :
- Fresno State’s Career Connection - https://alumni.fresnostate.edu/careers.html
- The Mentor Database in Jordan Connect - http://www.fresnostate.edu/jcast/student-success/login/index.html
If you need assistance connecting with someone to informationally interview, please contact Imelda Santacruz Dudley at email@example.com or 559.278.4019.
4. Arrange the Interview
Contact the person to set up an interview:
- by telephone,
- by an email followed by a telephone call, or
- by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you.
5. Conduct the Interview
Dress appropriately, arrive on time, be polite and professional. Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion. Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use your contact's name when contacting these new contacts.
6. Follow Up
Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered. Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within 24-hours of your visit.
NOTE: Always analyze the information you've gathered. Adjust your job search, resume, and career objective if necessary.
As you research careers of interest to you, you have to ask questions:
- How does this career fit with my interests?
- Does the career utilize the skills I enjoy on a regular basis?
- Is the career in line with what I value in terms or work environment, work relationships, work content and the career's contributions to society?
- How does the career vary in different settings (i.e. working as a marketing executive with a non-profit organization vs. a for-profit organization).