Exploring Careers

Research: Arm Yourself with Information

After discovering what you’re interested in and what motivates you, the next step is to learn more about industries and careers of interest. There are many ways to determine if a possible path is a “yes,” a “no,” or a “maybe”—from online research to informational interviews to internships. As you’re exploring, you should consider the kind of environment where you’d like to work, from a small nonprofit to a large corporation and everything in between.

Informational Interviewing

During the course of any given day, you have the opportunity to learn about many different careers or jobs—straight from the source. Most people are more than willing to help you learn about their profession. Talking to people who have jobs that interest you, or are in a field or industry that you want to learn more about—that’s informational interviewing. It’s that simple.

The primary objectives of informational interviewing are to:

  • Investigate a specific career field.
  • Identify which skills are necessary to be successful in the field.
  • Learn how to position yourself to pursue a particular line of work, such as academic background, relevant internships, or helpful experience.
  • Broaden your network of contacts for future reference.
  • Create a strategy for entering your field of interest.

Learn more about how informational interviewing works, questions to ask, and other helpful tips.

Career Advice? Ask an Alum

The BU Alumni Association has established a network of graduates who are willing to speak with students about their careers and professional experiences. There are two ways for you to engage with them: the Career Advisory Network and the official BU Alumni Association LinkedIn Group.

Note: Please don’t use these opportunities to ask for internships or jobs or for any kind of solicitation; these are information and networking resources only.

Professional Associations

Involvement with organizations in your field of interest can help in several ways. You can learn more about the field and the types of jobs associated with it, as well as about specific employers. By attending conferences and other events, you’ll also meet working professionals and those, like you, looking to enter the field. This is a great way to build your professional network. Some of those contacts may be beneficial during your search for internships and jobs or later in your career. You may have an opportunity to volunteer at an event or activity. You may be able to present a paper or research. You’ll also have access to up-to-date information in the field as it evolves.

See our Resources page for professional associations listed by industry. The associations, general and targeted, are those that may have student chapters, student membership, or encourage student participation. Investigate their websites, and consider participating or joining. If you don’t see student information, just ask. Some associations also provide free or reduced student rates to their newsletters or events.

In addition, look for city, state, or regional business organizations, like those below, that will list area events, many of which may be sponsored by professional associations.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Massachusetts Convention Center Authority

Implementation: Getting There from Here

You know what you want to do. You understand how you like to work and the type of office environment where you picture yourself thriving. Now…how do you get there?

You need to build another set of skills that you’ll rely on, and build upon, for the rest of your professional life. The foundation consists of learning how to conduct a job search (proactive and reactive), write and target your resume, write an effective cover letter, deliver an elevator speech, network, interview well, negotiate an offer, and more.

Get started by familiarizing yourself with these topics found throughout our site. Then register to attend our workshops and events.