Researching your options and exploring careers is not just about gathering information. It's about getting excited and getting yourself motivated about the possibilities. It's about understanding that there are worlds of opportunity that exist, just waiting for you to discover them.
Here, the research focus is on using published information. Later, when we get to the job search Strategy phase, you will learn how to research your career options by going out and talking to people, using contacts and informational interviews. Both types of research are important.
In theory, the research phase of your career plan should come after you have completed the self-assessment, after you have identified your skills and interests. But that's not how it works. The research has to start in advance of skill identification, and has to continue in an interactive fashion as part of the self-assessment process.
We have already talked about Awareness in terms of keeping yourself informed about the world around you. Here, the task is to start developing an Awareness of the world-of-work.
You will find that the work you do here is important when you begin to assess your skills and interests. When you begin to Focus on gathering information about yourself, you will need to constantly check to see how what you learn fits with different types of careers.
You probably already have a number of ideas about what type of job you're looking for. In order to Focus on what you really want to do, you need to find out more about the career ideas you already have in mind.
It is impossible to make decisions about what you will do with your life if you do not have information about occupations that correspond with your interests and aspirations. For any career you might consider, you need to know what a typical work day is like, what training and education is necessary, and what industries provide the best opportunities.
There are certain things that allow people to achieve success in specific careers. Different jobs require different skills, interests and temperaments. This is part of what you will be looking for as you start exploring careers.
You also need to know the working conditions for different jobs, where those careers are located, how much demand there is for those workers, what the future holds and what type of salary you should expect.
Information is power!