Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services   

Career Exploration & Choosing a Major 

Are you Undecided as to a major or program of study? 

The Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services encourages undecided students to explore their options.  It is okay to not know what you want to do with the rest of your life.  No matter where you are in your career development, in order to make informed decisions, you need information about yourself and about the world of work.  There are many free resources on the campus to help you in your exploration process.

Some students begin career counseling with the expectation that the counselor or a particular career interest test will decide a career path for them.  While your career counselor or academic advisor can assist you in exploring what careers are available and even what careers fit your interests, only you can make that final decision to pursue a certain career.  Finding a satisfying career requires a time commitment on your part.  You need to be willing to work with those who are helping you to create an action plan to find the career path that best suits you.  You need to be willing to work at the steps in your action plan and understand that this is a process, not an overnight realization. Remember, it is okay to explore all of your options.

For more information on how to get started, stop by the Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services in Warner 226L or see your academic advisor today. 

Career Planning Resources

These are tools to assist you in your exploration process, but they will only help point you in the right direction.  You are responsible for ultimately deciding what career path to choose.  Remember that the Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services is here to assist you, as is your academic advisor.

Resources available through the Office of Career Development:

FOCUS 2 is a self-paced, online career and education planning tool for college students.  It will enable you to self-assess your career-relevant personal qualities and explore career fields and areas of study that are most compatible with your assessment results.  FOCUS 2 also provides valuable occupation information.  Click Here to access FOCUS 2.  For more information contact the Office of Career Development at 740.366.9453

The Self-Directed Search (SDS) is an easy-to-use personality inventory that enables you to relate your “occupational type” to career possibilities.  Contact the Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services to obtain an SDS Assessment Booklet and to schedule an appointment to review your SDS scores.

On-line Resources:

What Can I Do With This Major?

Wondering how to connect majors to careers? Click to see outlines of common career areas, employers, and strategies designed to maximize career opportunities.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, training and education required, earnings, and expected job outlook.  This publication is prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Ohio Labor Market Information – Explore Careers

This site maintained by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides a variety of links to labor market information including job prospects, occupational trends, and guides to industries.

ACT Student

Information on career planning tips, how to choose a major or career, the world-of-work map, and finally, apprenticeship information.


Based on your interests and achievements, this web site will generate majors for you to explore.  This site provides you information on those majors, what types of courses you would have to take and finally what types of jobs you could attain with the degree.

Keirsey Temperament Sorter

Complete a questionnaire of about 70 questions which is automatically scored on the Web.  Your results will be in the form of Myers-Briggs Types, and suggestions of appropriate careers are made.

Jung-Myers-Briggs Typology

HumanMetrics specializes in online testing in the field of human typology and relationships.  This site provides a type formula, preference, and type description using the Jung-Myers-Briggs typology for free, plus several other tests for a fee.

Self Assessment

When considering a career path, major or program of study, it is important for students to consider and reflect upon the following questions:

Regarding interests

·         What gives you energy?

·         What do you avoid?

·         What reading or activities are you attracted to when there are no requirements?

·         What books cause you to fall asleep?

Regarding abilities

·         What comes naturally to you?

·         What talents have you not had enough opportunity to test or develop?

·         What are your strengths?

Regarding values and environment

·         What is most important to you in an academic environment: support, competitive challenges, reputation, flexibility?

·         What is most important to you in a work environment: creativity, security, independence, helping others, job outlook?

·         What role do you want work to play in your life?

Regarding personality

·         What characteristics make you unique?

·         What majors, careers, or work environments would support your characteristics?

·         In what situations have you felt a good "fit"?

Regarding academic information

·         Do you know the complete range of majors, minors and concentrations available to you, even relevant ones in other academic colleges?

·         Are there particular courses or experiences that would be most useful in testing your skills and interests?

·         Have you discussed your interests and options with an academic advisor?

·         Have you sought information from a variety of upper-level students?

·         What are the ranges of career options that are open to a particular academic path?

Regarding career information

·         Have you explored a wide range of career options that match your interests, abilities and values?

·         Have you investigated different academic paths to meet a particular career goal?

·         Do you know the actual day-to-day activities of an occupation that you are considering?

·         Have you spoken with anyone actually working in that role?


Once a career goal and/or an academic plan of study has been set, write it down and keep it in a prominent place at your residence.  It will keep you motivated in accomplishing your goal.  But also have a back-up plan, especially if you are considering a career in a health field.  The health programs are highly competitive nationally and at The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College, which means you may not be accepted into the program.  If that happens, you should have a back-up plan as to what else you would like to do for a career.  Remember that it is okay to change your major.

Majors and Programs of Study:

Central Ohio Technical College

Central Ohio Technical College Students - Courses to take while exploring:

After completing the COMPASS Assessment, you will want to focus on courses in which you have placed, such as Basic Math, Basic Reading, College Success Skills or Basic Writing.  Other courses to

begin taking are communications courses, such as Composition I and II; social science courses, such as General Psychology, Sociology or Cultural Diversity; and science courses, such as General Biology, Human Biology, Environmental Science or Chemistry.


Another great way to explore offerings at COTC is to take a course in an area in which you are interested.  For example, if you are thinking about becoming a student in Drafting and Design, take a Computer Aided Drafting course.  Keep in mind that if your major is declared as General or Undecided, you will not receive Financial Aid for the courses in which you enroll.  For more information on courses available to you or COTC majors, see your academic advisor.

The Ohio State University at Newark

All Ohio State University Programs of Study

Ohio State Newark Students – Four Year Plan:

The Office of Career Development recognizes that students can have a difficult time in thinking about their post college goals and options, and that first year students can quickly become overwhelmed examining all of these issues.  We encourage you to think of your career development as a four-year investigation full of leads to explore and clues to uncover.  Be sure to set aside time to reflect upon these issues and to track your progress.


Conducting an Informational Interview

One of the best sources for gathering information about what is happening in an occupation or an industry is to talk to people working in the field.  This process is called informational or research interviewing.  An informational interview is an interview that you initiate.  You ask the questions.  Remember, the purpose is to research and obtain information, not to get a job.


Reasons to Conduct a Research Interview:

·         To explore careers and clarify your career goal

·         To discover employment opportunities that are not advertised

·         To expand your professional network

·         To build confidence for your job interviews

·         To access the most up-to-date career information

·         To identify your professional strengths and weaknesses


Steps for Conducting a Research Interview:

·         Identify the occupation or industry you wish to learn about.  Assess your own interests, abilities, values, and skills, and evaluate labor conditions and trends to identify the best fields to research.

·         Prepare for the interview.  Read all you can about the field prior to the interview.  Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation/industry.  Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered.

·         Identify people to interview.  Start with lists of people you already know, like friends, relatives, fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, neighbors, etc.

·         Consult professional organizations, the yellow pages, organizational directories, websites, and public speakers.  You may also call an organization and ask for the name of the person by job title.

·         Arrange the interview.  Contact the person to set up an interview by telephone, by a letter followed by a telephone call, or by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you.

·         Conduct the interview.  Dress appropriately, arrive on time, be polite and professional.  Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion.  Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use your contact's name when meeting these new individuals.

·         Follow Up.  Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered.  Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within one week of the interview.


Twenty Questions

Prepare a list of your own questions for your informational interview. Following are some sample questions:

1.      What training or education is required for this type of work?

2.      On a typical day in this position, what do you do?

3.      What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?

4.      What part of this job do you find most satisfying? most challenging?

5.      How did you get your job?

6.      What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?

7.      What entry-level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?

8.      What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?

9.      How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?

10.  Is there a demand for people in this occupation?

11.  What special advice would you give a person entering this field?

12.  What types of training do companies offer persons entering this field?

13.  What are the basic prerequisites for jobs in this field?

14.  Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field?

15.  What do you think of the experience I've had so far in terms of entering this field?

16.  From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?

17.  If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?

18.  With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields or jobs would you suggest I research further before I make a final decision?

19.  What do you think of my resume? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it?

20.  Who do you know that I should talk to next?  May I use your name when I contact them?


Finding Someone for a Research Interview

The first thing you must do before conducting an interview is identify an occupation you are interested in learning about.  Secondly, make a list of friends, family, and important area businesses that can help you.

Here are some tips for locating people for an informational interview:

·         Ask fellow students about information.

·         Check the yellow pages for leads.

·         Search the Internet for the occupation in which you are interested. Locate businesses or people.

·         Professional organizations, as most majors have organizations that allow students to meet professionals or other students.

·         Talk with the department of the major that typically leads a person to this career. Ask them to identify anyone working in this occupation or business.

·         Professors can help because they have many business or organizational contacts.

·         Alumni who are working in your field of interest are generally willing to help current students.

·         Previous employers

·         Clergy

·         Neighbors

·         Area Chambers of Commerce

·         Newspapers

·         Books/periodicals

·         Local businesses

·         Career Counselors


Guides for Approaching the Employer

By Telephone/In Person:
Hello, my name is _______.  I am conducting a career research in your field.  I would like to meet and talk with you for about 30 minutes so that I can find out more about your field of expertise.


By Email:
My name is ______and I am a student at The Ohio State University at Newark/Central Ohio Technical College. I am working on a class project that has to do with talking to someone who is in the ______occupation.  I would like to conduct an informational interview to find out what you do in your occupation, your like/dislikes, how you ended up in your position, etc.  This interview can be conducted via e-mail and will only take a short time for you to complete.  If this can be arranged, please e-mail me and I will send you the questions I would like answered.  My deadline for this assignment is ______.


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