These resources provide information about industries or careers you may be considering. Explore opportunities by researching the following topics: required training, job outlook, potential for professional development, typical work tasks, common work context, and salary information.
- O*Net: Contains career descriptions, skill areas, work context, and more.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Provides salary data, job outlook, employment changes, and educational requirements.
- MySkills MyFuture: Offers careers with similar skills to your previous jobs, as well as salary and training information and job listings.
- CandidCareer.com: Penn State has a variety of pre-recorded informational interviews organized by occupation, major, and industry area.
- What Can I Do With This Major: This resource lists career options for various majors and strategies for building marketable skills.
- Informational Interviews: Reach out to practicing professionals to gain a more in-depth understanding of a career. Below are some sample questions:
- How did you become interested in this industry?
- How did you get to this role? What experiences should I look for as I build my résumé?
- Tell me about your day-to-day responsibilities.
- What is one thing that surprised you about this field?
- What is rewarding about this position? How do you stay motivated?
Developing Your Skills
As an adult learner and/or career changer, balancing your life inside and outside the classroom can be challenging. To make yourself as marketable as possible in your new career, you need to develop new skills, gain related experience, and learn how to discuss your qualifications with employers.
Experience comes in various forms, including internships, volunteer experiences, classroom projects, research with faculty, clubs, and professional organizations. Speak with faculty members and staff to determine what activities will be beneficial for you to join and add to your résumé.
Telling Your Story
Make your résumé fit your experience. Recruiters scan your résumé for keywords. Keep the most relevant information near the top. There are multiple types of résumé. Career changers typically use chronological or functional résumés.
Chronological résumés are the most common type of résumé. They list your previous experiences in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent experience and then working backward. If you use this type of résumé, including a "related experience" section heading and also an "additional experience" heading can be helpful. Some individuals will make their heading related to their industry, for example, "Engineering Experience."