Researching Career Options
Career Services provides resources for exploring the many career options in the world of work.
A small library in our office houses more than 650 print publications, with a list of publications available online.
Get ideas for possible career options from the pursuits of previous Southwestern graduates. Look at information about job titles/employers and graduate programs for each year’s graduates, gathered through the annual Post-Graduate Survey.
LinkedIn Alumni Tool
The LinkedIn Alumni Tool gathers profiles of hundreds of millions of members and lets you explore alumni career paths from Southwestern and more than 23,000 other colleges - and build relationships that can help you along the way. Explore Southwestern (or any other school) to see where graduates live, the organizations they work for, and the types of jobs they’ve had. You can also narrow down by graduation date range, what they studied, what they’re skilled at, and how you’re connected on LinkedIn. For step-by-step directions, click here.
You probably know that there is not a direct connection between your particular course of study and a specific occupation, unless you major in accounting or education - the only two professional-preparation majors at Southwestern. For those fields, you actually take tests at the end of your studies to achieve certification that makes you eligible for a specific job.
For all other majors, you have the freedom to craft your own career path, and out-of-class activities like volunteerism, leadership, internships and research/creative works help you develop and “prove” the skills necessary to be marketable for employment upon graduation.
While there is not a one-to-one correlation between liberal arts major and job, having an interest in a certain group of courses may mean you would also have an interest in certain types of work. To that end, we have created a group of handouts called “Major Possibilities” to help you explore the many options. Be sure to look at multiple majors that look interesting, since there is a lot of overlap among the occupations described on each handout. Majors are organized by academic division. Hard copies may be picked up in person at Career Services.
- Classics, Greek and Latin
- Communication Studies
- Modern Languages (Chinese, German, French, Spanish)
There are thousands of websites that offer information about particular occupations. Some specific sites that may help you explore are:
America’s Career InfoNet - A parternship between federal and state agencies, this organization offers information on the process of career exploration as well as occupational outlooks and trends and numerous other tools.
BuzzFile.com - Most job seekers are only aware of a subset of potential employers. Using Buzzfile they are able to discover thousands of additional companies in their field. They can perform proximity searches to a specific address, sort and filter their results based on company size, location, industry etc., and they can generate and share with friends. They can immediately see a list of similar companies nearby, potentially enabling them to meet with additional prospects.
GlassDoor.com - Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies. What sets us apart is our “employee generated content” – anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and more – all posted by employees, job seekers, and sometimes the companies themselves. Now with nearly 3 million salaries and reviews, you have all the information you might need to make your next career decision.
HowtoBecome.com- Detailed information on more than 500 careers, including advice from people working in those fields.
What’s Involved in Career Choice? - Article from Florida State University explaining the career decision-making process.
How to Research Companies on LinkedIn - Did you know you can search for companies as well as individuals on LinkedIn? Some helpful suggestions here.
Research the Company before the Job Interview - From the Wall Street Journal
BrainTrack’s US Colleges and Career Guide - In-depth US college and career profiles as well as degree and wage statistics for over 300 occupations that commonly require college or university education.
JobShadow.com - Read real interviews from people as they talk about the jobs they do and the careers they have to explore career options.
LexisNexis - This academic research database includes a component for conducting company research, as well as a news search.
LifeGuides.me - A Harvard grad has assembled a library of hundreds of videos that explore different career paths, from consulting to teaching. The videos are all from people who have “been there, done that” and wanted to share their experiences with young people who are thinking about what path to pursue.
LinkedIn.com - This fast-growing site features thousands of company profiles. Also, looking at individuals’ profiles can help you identify common career paths in particular industries.
O*NET - The Occupational Information Network makes occupational information interactive and accessible for all. Research occupations using keywords or search for occupations that match your skills.
Occupational Outlook Handbook - The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes this document annually. Browse by alphabetical order or occupational cluster for abundant information on different occupations, including projected growth/decline, salaries, qualifications and descriptions.
PathSource - “America’s Premier Career Readiness Platform” offers career exploration tools such as a lifestyle assessment and video informational interviews with people in a variety of career fields. Contact Career Services for the access code (for SU students only).
The Riley Guide’s Research and Target Employers and Locations - A comprehensive collection of links to help you research employers and occupations to explore career options and prepare for a job search