Career Research: Online and Off

It is difficult to know what to expect going into a new field. Every industry has its own standards, practices, terminology, and work expectations. When you decide to try a new career path, it can be difficult to orient your skills to seem attractive in that industry, let alone actually know what you’ll be getting yourself into. However, we at Career Solutions Group are big fans of career research, and there are a few different ways to do it. Career research means proactively seeking out information about your field of interest and using it to determine an appropriate career path. It can be helpful in choosing a new job, but also in determining whether or not a field will actually be a good fit. Below, I have listed four ways you can perform career research, often from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Career information websites. Due to the plethora of jobs now available, there are lots of websites that offer job-specific information. I am a big fan of the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find job and industry information. You can also, however, simply do a search for “information about __________,” and you’ll turn up a number of good resources. Be sure to check their reliability (i.e., who funds the website, who the writer is, etc.), but usually you can find solid information on your industry and career choice.
  2. Obviously I had to include it. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms available for job seekers today. It not only allows you to create a profile capitalizing on your background and skills, but also allows you to connect with people in your industry to locate new opportunities. One way to perform very effective career research with LinkedIn is to look up the profiles of people who already do what you want to do. Do you want to be an aerospace engineer? Perform a LinkedIn search and look at the profiles of other people who do that job. See what skills they use and which companies they work for. This can help direct you towards a suitable career path.
  3. Professional organizations. Many career fields are associated with different professional organizations. Human resource professionals often become associated with SHRM, publishers gravitate towards the American Association of Publishers, etc. Identifying and working to join a professional organization in your industry will allow you to network with professionals in your line of work and have an inside track on new opportunities as they become available.
  4. Informational interviews. One of the most up-close ways you can get a sense of the background and experience needed to pursue a field is by conducting informational interviews. An informational interview basically consists of a short (15-30 minutes usually) conversation with a professional in your field of interest. You can ask them what the job is like, what they had to do to get there, and what opportunities for advancement exist in their field. Most people love talking about themselves, so you’ll get some really good information from a clearly reliable source. This is, however, one of the harder research methods because it requires reaching out to other people (often strangers) to set up interviews. If you are interested in performing informational interviews, but unsure how to research and contact professionals to do them, Career Solutions Group can help with that. You can email us at for more information.

Once you start conducting career research, it would be a good idea to compile your findings in one place so you can reflect and analyze your findings. Don’t be afraid to decide a field isn’t a good fit for you: if your gut tells you that you wouldn’t be happy in a given industry, your gut is probably right. And remember that you can do career research for multiple fields. Especially if you’re on the fence about a career, it might be in your best interest to examine more than one.

Career Solutions Group offers job search support through every step of the process. If you’re interested in scheduling a free initial consultation, you can email our office at or call us at 970-224-4042. We have helped hundreds of job seekers make successful, smooth transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group