Career exploration strategies offers insight on employers wants, employment trends, and exploring a variety of job opportunities.

Purpose of Career Exploration

By investigating the world of work, you'll learn about career exploration considerations, what employers want from employees and how to explore new opportunities. The most important step is to determine what career best matches your skills, interests, values and personality. In addition, understanding the employer’s vision and concerns will make you a more competitive job candidate.

Important reasons to investigate the world of work:

  • Obtain realistic and accurate information about different occupations.
  • Discover what educational classes and training to pursue.
  • Gain confidence by becoming familiar with the language and concerns of the world of work — an important quality in any job search.
  • Hear about the hidden job market through networking — jobs that are available but have not been advertised and how and where to apply for them.
  • Make contacts so that when you’re ready to look for work, you’ll know who to call.
  • Identify work industries and jobs that interest you and can utilize your skills.
  • Learn about recent job trends, the fastest-growing jobs and other information that can impact your career planning.

What Do Employers Want?

  • Analytical Thinking: The ability to generate and evaluate a number of alternative solutions and to make a sound decision regarding a plan of action.
  • Researching: The ability to search for needed data and to use references to obtain appropriate information.
  • Organizing: The ability to arrange systems and routines to streamline work and maintain order.
  • Speaking: The ability to express oneself fluently and intelligently.
  • Writing: The ability to use proper spelling and grammar and the ability to express ideas clearly.
  • Interpersonal Skills: The ability to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ethical Applications: The ability to apply moral standards and appreciate values in the work setting.
  • Technology: The ability to apply basic principles of technology, including using computers competently and working with data.
  • Career Planning: The cultivation of a personal sense of direction and desire for improvement, including a willingness to learn.
  • Diversity Awareness: The demonstration of respect, equity and empathy for a diverse community.
  • Teamwork: The ability to encourage cooperation, collaboration and partnerships.

How to Explore Career Options


Beginning to explore the opportunities in the vast world of work can be done in a variety of ways.

  • Public Libraries: Your local public library has a wealth of career-related information, including job-hunting books, publications about specific companies and staff trained to help you conduct research on any topic.
  • Professional Career Counseling Services: Beyond your support network, there are plenty of professionals whose job is to assist you in your career management. At UC Davis, employees are eligible for free confidential career counseling. Private career counselors can be found through online yellow pages or through the National Board for Certified Counselors website.
  • Exploring Online: There are many online resources that will help with career, job and occupational searches. They include labor market information (e.g., wages, job growth and decline, training and education providers, increasing employable skills). Resources and their internet addresses change fairly frequently, therefore you can visit the resources section of the California Career Zone for up-to-date information. The National Career Development Association is another great resource.