The bad news: One of the toughest challenges for new grads is finding the direction they need to create a clear, focused, and ultimately successful job hunt. In a world filled with both thousands of career options and serious job competitors, even knowing where to start can be overwhelming, right?
The good news: There are tools to help. You are probably familiar with the personalities tests and job boards, but there’s one resource that’s often overlooked: career exploration sites. With descriptions of jobs, salary statistics, work environment, and more, these pages act as centralized hubs of career information.
So, how does this sort of tool help you find direction?
You can investigate a range of possibilities.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who knows exactly what career path to take from day one; yet, if you’re like many job market newbies, all you know for certain are the skills you can offer. Hyper-organized? Good with people? Need a social work atmosphere? Career exploration sites let you sort jobs according to certain traits, strengths or desired work space. Casting a wide net can open your eyes to a whole slew of job options in fields you may never have considered or even heard about.
I know, you’re saying “I don’t need to explore, I need a job!” However, the more opportunities you’re aware of, the more likely you are to find a good career fit. In the long run, taking more time to land a job that truly aligns with your skills and values is much more beneficial than scooping up the first offer that comes your way.
You get industry-specific information.
Once you’ve pinned down a general area of interest, career exploration sites supply you with in-depth information about specific positions. Using the job profiles as a jumping off point, you can thoroughly research your target industry.
This investigative work will help your job hunt in three ways. First, you’ll need to have a strong grasp on the ins, outs, and current climate of the field in order to impress at interviews.
Second, understanding the industry will help when you’re looking for good contacts to ask for informational interviews. The more exactly your chosen expert’s job matches your interest, the more accurate and valuable the interview will be.
Third, having a firm idea of how your desired job fits into the industry will give you the best estimate about which work experience you need to highlight on your application.
You can see your next step.
Maybe you need an internship, externship, or apprenticeship before applying directly to positions. Or maybe your career path is the kind where you just have to dive into the deep end of the job pool and start swimming. Either way, career exploration sites can point the way toward the best steps to take when breaking into an industry.
Direction isn’t easy to come by. However, by doing your research and using the right tools, you can gain a better sense of where you want to be going and how you’re going to get there.
Annie Favreau writes for Inside Jobs, a career exploration site where people can discover what opportunities exist and learn what paths can take them there.