Transitional Programs

The following resources will assist in finding career assessments, outside resources, career planning, and interview and shadowing details.

Click on the tabs below to learn more about Career Planning.

Career Assessments

Career assessments are a common method of exploring career options, interests, values, and personality traits as they relate to careers. The following are some sites that may help with your career explorations.

O*Net - Career Exploration and Job Analysis

Card Sort - A Values Assessment

Via Character - A Strengths Assessment 

Additional Resources

The following web links will help you to acquire more relevant information as to what sort of career opportunities are available to you when choosing an academic major:

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (U.S. Department of Labor)

This site will provide specific information about careers including what the career entails, the education and training needed, the future outlook, and salaries.

O*NET OnLine

This site will provide occupational information and allow the user to conduct a "skills search" to match-up with specific occupations.

MyPlan.com

This site has many useful resources including a Majors Database with "What Can I do With a Major In?".  There are Career Databases and Self-Assessment Inventories.

Jobs Made Real

This website features thousands of videos of people describing their jobs.  Also includes job forecasts and career information.

Career Info Net

On this site you will be able to obtain detailed information about specific jobs. Click on 'Occupational Information', go to 'Occupational Profile' and type in a specific job title, i.e. 'advertising sales agent'. Click on search and you will be asked to choose a state. Click on the appropriate state and continue. You will then be able to find out specific career information as well as salary information for the selected state and how it compares with the entire United States.

The Career Readiness Quiz

With this interactive site, you will be able to assess your skills and experience and how they relate to transitioning to the workforce. The information and websites are representative of typical career paths associated with each major and not a comprehensive list.

The websites listed are not maintained by the Career Development Office but are provided as a convenience to students.

Four Year Career Check-List

This checklist is a guide of things you can complete throughout your time at WIU to help prepare you to transition into the workforce after you graduate. Choose which activities you think will be beneficial to you and check them off as you complete them!
Remember to visit the WIU Career Development Office in the lower level of Memorial Hall - 298-1838 – wiu.edu/careers

DOWNLOAD THE CHECK-LIST HERE

 

Information Interviews and Shadowing

 

Information Interviews and Shadowing

The best way to explore a potential career choice is by speaking with and/or following someone who works in that career.

  • Do an information interview. Learn first-hand about your chosen profession by asking questions about tasks, business environment, and educational background.
  • Shadow a professional. Follow someone in your career choice as they go through a typical day or week on the job. Ask questions and observe the work.

Finding a Profession(al)

Finding someone to interview or shadow is not difficult. Ask your parents and your friends’ parents if they know someone you can interview. Ask your professors for recommendations of professionals in the field. Go to your career center: Many maintain lists of alumni and employers who are willing to help in your career exploration.

Next, call, email or reach out via LinkedIn requesting an information interview or job shadowing. People who like their jobs tend to enjoy talking about them. You compliment the professional by expressing an interest in the career. In your contact, explain how you found the person you want to interview and request time for an appointment. Emphasize that you want to find out more about the career—you’re not looking for a job. If you're lucky, the professional you contact may have other colleagues you can interview also.

Example Email

Here is an example email that you would send to a professional contact or through LinkedIn requesting an informational interview.

Dear Ms. Smith,

We have not met before, but I was referred to you by Professor Cathy Wright from Western Illinois University. She knows you through your mutual experience in Phi Theta Kappa. I am also a member of this organization, and a current Sophomore at WIU! This semester, I am solidifying my plans for after graduation by gaining industry knowledge within the field of communication. Would you be available to meet for coffee in Peoria next Friday to discuss your career in public relations? Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Maggie Jones

Asking Questions

Takes notes during your time with the professional. Here are some questions you might ask:

  1. What is your typical workday like?
  2. What do you like most (and least) about your job?
  3. What skills/abilities are most important to succeed in this job?
  4. What is your educational background?
  5. How did you get started in this field?
  6. What courses were most helpful to you and which would you recommend?
  7. What is the best way to get started in this field?
  8. Do you have any additional advice to help me prepare?
Following Up Your Interview

Review your notes. What was your impression? Did you leave the interview feeling as if you can envision a future in this occupation or were you discouraged—you don’t feel you learned enough about the occupation or the job description doesn’t sound appealing any longer?

Take your thoughts and concerns to the career center staff and get feedback on the next step to take in your career exploration. You may want to do additional information interviews in this career path or you may want to reexamine your goals and find a different path for your interests.

No matter what you decide, send a thank-you note to anyone you interview or shadow. Whether you decide to forge ahead on that career path or find another one, this professional may be a good person to network with when you begin your job search.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder. www.naceweb.org