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5 Best Kept Secrets Of Career Exploration

Whether it's freshman year or senior year, you can start this process at any time. You don't have to wait ... and it's never too late!

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1. When in doubt, ask someone!

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You don't have to figure this all out on your own. You can contact people in a career field that interests you to see what they have to say about the profession. It's great to contact a variety of people too, so that you'll have multiple perspectives. Check out our Informational Interviews page to learn more about using LinkedIn to find professionals and see a few sample questions you can ask!

2. You can learn by shadowing

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If you want to make sure a career is right for you, then take the time to shadow someone in that role so that you can see it first hand! Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break can all be good times to seek out shadowing opportunities or an externship (shorter term than an internship). Read on for more of our tips on trying out a career field!

3. Getting the inside scoop is easier than you thought

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If you Google career fields and job titles, it can take a long time to get decent information. Your search can stop here; we have just what you need! Vault provides industry overviews and links for related careers, while the Occupational Outlook Handbook gives background information on a given job (telling you whether graduate school is needed, how fast growing the job market is, salary data, and more). If you have any questions, CAP Career & Academic Advisors can help you navigate these tools.

4. Even if you're not job hunting, use job postings!

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When you're still trying to explore careers it can be really easy to get caught up in the abstract, instead of looking at the actual positions that are out there right now. So even if it's your freshman, sophomore, or junior year, feel free to check out job postings on Recruit-A-Duke or our other recommended job search sites to understand what employers are looking for. This can help you get a better feel for the types of positions you prefer as well!

5. Get to know your preferences

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Many of these tips have focused on researching career fields, but it can't hurt to do a little reflection too... and research you! Using a self-assessment website called FOCUS, you can take quizzes to learn more about your interests, values, personality, and skills. You can then use that information to find compatible careers, either within FOCUS or on O*Net. We're happy to help interpret your results as well and talk more about careers that may be a good fit for you.

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