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Career Research Worksheet 1. Title of occupation: 2. Brief definition/description of occupation: 3. What is the purpose of this work—i.e., why does it exist, and who does it serve? 4. List a least five primary work tasks performed in this occupation. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5. What functional/transferable skills would be used in this occupation? 6. Education/training/experience: A. What would be the minimum requirements necessary for entry into this occupation? (If a college degree is required, must it be in a specific major or field? If so, which major or field?) B. What would be the optimal qualifications for entry into this occupation? 7. Salary potential: A. Entry-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) B. Mid-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) C. Top-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) D. Expected benefits:

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Page 1: Career Research Worksheet - NACADAapps.nacada.ksu.edu/conferences/ProposalsPHP/uploads/... · 2014-09-16 · Career Research Worksheet 1. Title of occupation: 2. Brief definition/description

Career Research Worksheet

1. Title of occupation:

2. Brief definition/description of occupation:

3. What is the purpose of this work—i.e., why does it exist, and who does it serve?

4. List a least five primary work tasks performed in this occupation. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

5. What functional/transferable skills would be used in this occupation?

6. Education/training/experience: A. What would be the minimum requirements necessary for entry into this occupation? (If a

college degree is required, must it be in a specific major or field? If so, which major or field?)

B. What would be the optimal qualifications for entry into this occupation?

7. Salary potential: A. Entry-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) B. Mid-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) C. Top-level range: From $__________ (low) to $__________ (high) D. Expected benefits:

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8. Projected outlook for this occupation:

9. What would be some possibilities for specialization within this occupation?

10. Describe the work environment: A. Geographical (e.g., part of the country, urban vs. rural):

B. Physical (e.g., outdoors, indoors, small office, large office, home office):

C. People (e.g., co-workers, supervisors, supervisees, customers/clients):

D. Type of organization (e.g., business, government, not-for-profit, large, small)

E. Working conditions (e.g., scheduling hours and flexibility, dress code, safety, management/supervision)

11. What opportunities would there be for advancement? Diversity?

12. How does this occupation fit with your: A. Interests Very well OK Not so well

Specifically:

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B. Motivated skills Very well OK Not so well Specifically:

C. Work values Very well OK Not so well Specifically:

D. Personal/life values Very well OK Not so well Specifically:

13. What else should be known about his occupation?

14. What I like most about this occupation is:

15. What I like least about this occupation is:

16. What surprised me most about this occupation was:

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17. Resources used to collect information about this occupation (at least three): A.

B.

C.

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Interviewing for Information

One of the best ways to gain knowledge about an area of work is to talk to people doing that work.

This handout is designed to acquaint you with one valuable technique for gathering information about the world of work – informational interviewing. It tells you what it is, benefits to be gained and how to go about it. Browse through … read it … adapt it for your own use. Give it a try!

What is Interviewing for Information?

Broadly defined, interviewing for information is talking with another person in a low-stress situation for the sole purpose of gathering information about a particular field of interest.

What’s In It for Me? As mentioned, one of the best ways to gain knowledge about an area of work is to talk to people doing that work. More specifically, informational interviewing can provide the following benefits:

You develop a better understanding of what that work entails. This is beneficial not only for

personal understanding but can help you become a more impressive job candidate.

Information gathered is first-hand and current, an important supplement to printed material.

You gain a perspective of work that goes beyond the limitations of job titles to the skills that are used. This allows greater flexibility in planning options.

Because informational interviewing is comparatively low-stress, you gain confidence in talking with people while learning what you need to know.

Because you are asking only for information, you are in control of the interview – deciding what questions to ask and evaluating for personal use the information given.

Informational interviewing provides you with an opportunity to make a network of contacts which may be helpful in the future.

You begin to learn the wide variety of jobs and the individual personalities of different companies or agencies.

Before Beginning Interviews

Learning about the world of work is helpful primarily in light of personal information such as needs, interests, skills goals, values, etc. Without such information, successful integration of self and the world of work is difficult at best.

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Therefore, before interviewing for information, it is helpful for you to define, in as much detail as possible, your interests, your skills and your values. This can be done individually, aided by a number of excellent resources available in the Career Lab, 203 Grace Wilkie. It can also be done in conjunction with others through LASI 102, Topics in Career Exploration (a two-hour course offered each semester), or through career counseling available through Career Services, 978-3435, or Counseling and Testing, 978-3440. Yes, this process takes time. But since most people overlook many of their assets, and since finding answers to these questions is the basis not only for informational interviewing but for the whole job search process, your effort will be well spent.

How Do I Find People to Talk To? There are many resources available to help you pinpoint people to interview. You might begin with written material:

Make it a habit to clip or photocopy items which pertain to any area which interest you (e.g., articles in newspapers, magazines, journals, etc.), especially articles that describe the person or people in that setting.

Write to organizations for brochures, pamphlets, etc.

Check in the Career Lab (don’t hesitate to ask for help if you don’t see what you’re after). Eventually you will need names of specific people to talk to within organizations. Some written resources will provide such names. For others you may need to call the company and tell the receptionist what you are interested in. Because some receptionists are cautioned to screen calls, it may be necessary to emphasize that you are not interested in a job but in information only. Beyond written material, there are people resources (and if they don’t know someone who can give you information, ask if they might know someone who does):

Friends, family, acquaintances (including professors)

People you’ve heard about – e.g., lecturers, employers, prominent people in a community

Local librarians

Local newspaper editor

Chamber of Commerce staff people

People in professional societies or associations Ask yourself what it is that you want to know and then decide who has an investment in knowing that sort of information.

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How Do I Arrange for an Informational Interview?

Although there are a number of ways to get in to see a person, there are two of the most common:

(1) Telephone the person directly. Be prepared to explain to the person what it is you are seeking. For example, “My name is

__________ and I am a student at Wichita State University. I am interested in ______________ (the work s/he does or the area of mutual interest) and wonder it you might have 20 or 30 minutes during which you could talk with me about it.”

(2) Make contact through a letter and follow up with a phone call. This approach is essentially the same as above in explaining your interest. For the follow-up,

however, indicate in the letter that you will call within a few days to set up a mutually convenient time to meet. Then follow through with the call. If the person with whom you wish to speak is not in your community or within traveling distance, you may wish to arrange for a telephone interview rather than an individual appointment.

What Do I Ask?

If you are not quite sure where to begin, these four questions can give you at least a starting point:* 1. How did you get into this work? 2. What do you like best about doing this? 3. What do you like least about doing this? Or: What would you most like to change about your

position? 4. Where else could I find people who share this enthusiasm or interest?

The whole interview can be just finding answers to these questions. But as you gain practice and gather more information, you will probably think of questions that stem spontaneously from what you want to know and from what the interviewee has said.

Evaluating the Interview

In order to make best use of the information you gather, it is important to evaluate it by asking yourself questions such as: 1. What did I learn from this interview (both positive and negative impressions)? 2. How does what I learned fit with my own interests, skills and values? 3. What do I still need to know? 4. What plan of action can I make? * Adapted from The Quick Job-Hunting Map, Advanced Version, by Richard N. Boles, © copyright 1975 by Richard N. Bolles and the National Career Development Project. Used by special permission. Those desiring a copy of the complete book for further reading may procure it from the publisher, Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707.

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Follow-up Don’t forget the thank-you notes!

These should be sent to any person you talked with. They don’t need to be fancy or long – just a few lines to express your appreciation for their time. This is basic courtesy and is so important!

Recordkeeping In addition to the name, address and phone number of each person you talked with, be sure to

record briefly what was discussed and what you learned. This will help you organize and evaluate information from your contacts. It will also enable you to remember how to contact them in the future, should you choose to do so.

Other Thoughts and Guidelines

Ask each person you interview for suggestions of other people with whom you might talk.

If you ask for 30 minutes of a person’s time, stick to that limit. Respect the value of their time.

Take all information given with a grain of salt. And don’t settle for just one or two interviews about

a given area of work. A broad information base is important.

Avoid forming an impression about an area of work based on the likeability of the person being

interviewed.

The whole process of informational interviewing should take place without indicating primary

interest in employment. Your purpose is to gather information.

When in an interview, ask what you want to know, but don’t control the interview totally. Let the

person talk – it may lead into productive by unanticipated areas of information.

Note your reactions on an objective level, but don’t ignore personal feelings. What you naturally

flow toward or away from is very important.

Ask for reading material which the interviewee might suggest to better understand the profession.

Find out if the interviewee has any insight into the best way to qualify for the kind of work you are

discussing.

Talking to people about their work doesn’t have to be a formal process or one you practice only

when job hunting. Chat with people casually – on a plane or bus, while waiting in lines, at social

gatherings, etc. Most people enjoy talking about the work they do. Curiosity can open a lot of

doors.

Good luck!

Complied by: Jill M. Pletcher

Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas

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Information Gathering Interview

Sample Questions

Below are questions that will help you uncover the answers you need. At least one person in each career area should be interviewed so that you can begin to form your own conclusions.

1. Do you like your work? Why?

2. How long have you been on your job?

3. What does your work consist of?

4. Is it challenging? Why?

5. Is it financially rewarding? Why?

6. How much formal education was required?

7. How much experience is required to be good? Why?

8. What do you like most about your work? Why?

9. What do you like least about your work? Why?

10. If you could do it over again, what would you do differently? Why?

11. If you could do it over again, would you? Why?

12. How important is continued training in your work? Why?

13. What were the main obstacles you had to overcome to get where you’re at?

14. Is there any training or education which you did not have that you wish you did have?

What and Why?

15. Is yours a very competitive field?

16. Does your work allow you room to grow?

17. Does your work allow you to advance?

18. Are you allowed as much leisure time as you would like?

19. Can you suggest someone else who I might speak to about this career?

20. What would you advise me to do to prepare myself for this type of work?

21. Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Information Interview Assignment

Summarize your interview on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet where you will indicate:

Your name and the career/occupation being researched

The name of the individual interviewed and place of employment

What you learned from the interview that related to your work skills, work personality, and work values.

Getting Started After getting a good base of knowledge about a career or occupation, you should be ready to talk to persons who work in these positions. Remember that any one individual may be biased one way or another and that person may give you a nonrepresentative picture of that career or occupation. With this in mind, it may be best to talk to two or more persons in the field in different work settings. Please note that you can get names of individuals to interview from the LAS Advising Center Check sheets. From faculty instructors and advisors. If you do not know any specific individuals in the field you are researching, the yellow pages will list professional associations and companies where such employees may be found. Also, the personnel offices of some companies may be willing to identify employees who could be of some assistance. Once you have identified the persons that you want to interview, call them and explain that you want to learn about their occupation and career and you would like an appointment to talk to them. As a rule, you will find that most of these individuals are pleased with your interest in their work and are willing to give you the time and answers that you need. If at all possible, schedule your interview at the place of work so that you can experience the work environment. Doing the Interview You have been given an information gathering interview sheet with the kind of questions that you need to ask and discuss with the person in the career or occupation that you are researching. Be sure to cover the questions that will give you the information that you need at this point in your life and education: some questions may not apply at this time for you. You may be nervous doing your first interview so it may be helpful to practice with a family member, friend, or faculty member. After the Interview After the interview, you can thank the person by sending the individual a handwritten thank you note expressing your appreciation for helping you with your career research.

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Using General Education

Life Skills in Advising

Two comments regarding the General Education Program are voiced too frequently by students: (1) “I may as well take these to get them out of the way,” and/or (2) “Why do I have to take __________ courses, I just want to be an accountant (or engineer, or etc.)?” Neither indicates an appreciation for the contributions the General Education Program is designed to make in the education of the whole person. One approach used with entering students who tend to be career/job oriented is to highlight the purposes of the General Education Program as preparation not just for the first year after graduation, but for the next fifty years of their lives. To relate to their career orientation and go beyond, students can be informed of what employers increasingly tell us the look for in college graduates: (a) clear career goals; (b) previous work experience; and (c) specific knowledge students have gained from their majors. Given a number of qualified candidates who possess these attributes, employers look for skills that will separate the outstanding from the average employee. They look for transferable, functional abilities that may be utilized in many different situations. These abilities may be acquired through formal education and training and through informal life experiences. They include; decision making; the ability to lead and motivate people; written and oral communication; persistence; initiative; and problem solving. Selection of elective courses aimed at developing these general education life skills may be a concrete way of helping students connect with General Education Program relevance, assist in course selection outside the major field, and assist in charting progress toward increased academic competence. It is one way to help students articulate and appreciate the significance of the General Education Program. A ”General Education Life Skills Checklist” is included for your reference and use with students. Hopefully it will serve as a stimulus for discussion with your advisees. Please note that GEP life skills are not restricted vocational skills. They are more broadly based “transferable skills” which transcend limited contexts. Moreover, they are sufficiently definable to permit progress toward mastery to be assessed, encouraged, striven for, and acknowledged.

Marilyn J. Ryan, Wichita State University

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Life Skills Inventory

The life skills listed below are generally recognized as essential in a variety of careers and life situations. As you begin your “Deciding” process, consider your current skill level in each area on a 1 through 5 scale. One (1) would mean you need a great deal of development and five (5) would mean you currently possess these skills to a very high degree (the level needed for personal and career success in most any area).

Then, in consultation with your advisor, consider what courses, work and/or volunteer experiences would help to develop and enhance your skill level in each area.

Current Skill Level

GEP Courses

Activities/ Work

Critical Thinking Skills: ability to identify important issues; to apply appropriate criteria to strategies for action; to create innovative solutions to problems; to analyze interrelationships of events and ideas from several perspectives

Human Relations/Communication Skills: ability to interact effectively with peers, superiors, subordinates; to generate trust and confidence in others; to teach a skill, concept or principle; to listen objectively and paraphrase the content of a message; to speak effectively to individuals and groups; to use various forms and styles of written communication

Management/Administrative Skills: Ability to analyze tasks; to delegate responsibility; to organize, motivate and lead people to achieve goals; to demonstrate initiative; to set realistic goals; to manage time effectively; to work under time and environmental pressures.

Research Skills: ability to identify problems and needs; to apply appropriate techniques; to use a variety of information sources; to apply a variety of methods to test the validity of data

Valuing Skills: ability to make decisions that will maximize both the individual & group good; to appreciate the contributions of art, literature, science & technology to society; to assess one’s personal values

Personal Development: ability to identify one’s strengths & weaknesses; to persist with a project when faced with obstacles; to accept the consequences of one’s actions; to be punctual

Mathematical/Computer Skills: ability to solve problems having numerical solutions; to determine if data presented is correct; to possess a general knowledge of computer capabilities and be able to use software

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Name: ______________________ Date: ______________________

Integration of Skills, Interest and Values, Etc. 1. When we did the “Party” exercise and moved to some of the six locations (R-I-A-S-E-C) around

the room,

a. My first choice was:

b. My second choice was:

c. My third choice was:

2. My True Colors are:

3. From the handouts that defined each of the six Holland themes, these are the ones that

describe me best:

a. Work Activities:

1. 5.

2. 6.

3. 7.

4. 8.

b. Competencies:

1. 5.

2. 6.

3. 7.

4. 8.

c. Self-concept/values:

1. 5.

2. 6.

3. 7.

4. 8.

d. Environments:

1. 4.

2. 5.

3. 6.

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4. Three things that interest me are:

a.

b.

c.

Three things that motivate me are:

a.

b.

c.

Three things that energize me are:

a.

b.

c.

Two things I “get lost in” are:

a.

b.

5. My top eight self-management skills are:

a. e.

b. f.

c. g.

d. h.

6. From my motivated skills matrix, the ten skills I’d most like to incorporate into a job are:

a. f.

b. g.

c. h.

d. i.

e. j.

7. Some of the specific content or special knowledges with which I use my skills include:

a.

b.

c.

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8. The values reflected in the ten things I’d do if I had one year to live are:

a. f.

b. g.

c. h.

d. i.

e. j.

9. From my values inventory, my top five values came out to be:

a. d.

b. e.

c.

10. My top eight work values include:

a. e.

b. f.

c. g.

d. h.

My Career/Life Goal: ________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________

List the three careers/occupations that you are currently considering researching:

1. _______________________________________________________________________________

2. _______________________________________________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________________________________________