How to Research Careers
There are many ways to research careers. First, you may have taken the free career interest tests on this site and narrowed down the career categories you are interested in. You may have gone online and even started your research.
To continue your research and gather data about a career’s projected growth rate and median salary, we recommend continuing your research on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s website.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has a free online Occupational Handbook. Visit this site and type in the name of the career you are interested in.
Salary and Growth Rate: Check out the summary of the career to find out salary and growth rate. You can also view the educational requirements.
Offender State Resources
If you have a criminal record, there are resources available to help you gain employment or cross-train for a career. O*NET OnLine created a Ex-Offender Local Resources pdf (link opens in a new tab) that you can download and reference to connect you with the local resources in your area. CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and also provide a Job Search Guide for People with a Criminal Record (link opens in a new tab).
Visit an Online Job Board
You can also conduct career research by reviewing online job boards. Career postings on these sites will give you an idea of what employers are looking for in qualified candidates in your interested career field. You can also check out career postings for your local area or closest metropolitan city to scope out whether there are many career opportunities and gain an estimate of how much you might get paid.
Looking at job boards is a proactive way to research careers and ensure your education and experience will align with employer needs. You may be able to pick up a volunteer or intern position over a summer that will give you the experience you need to gain a competitive edge. Or perhaps there is a technology that would be useful to learn that will make your resume stand out from others.
By the way, career descriptions on job boards can be overwhelming sometimes. Often, the description lists all of the expertise an employer would like a candidate to have with the understanding that most candidates may not have 100% of those skills. Do not lose confidence if the description of skills seems impossible to attain. Review the job postings for common skills requested and focus on the most important.
Job Shadow or Interview Someone
If you know someone who is already working in the career you are interested in, interview that person. This is a great way to research careers you may be interested in. Ask what they like and what they don’t about the career field. It’s also a good idea to ask their advice when starting out in the career field and what employers are looking for. A bonus would be to ask if you can shadow them at work one day.