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Career Exploration or Industry Coaching: Where Do You Start?

By Jessica Palermo, Career Coach, and Rowe Leathers, GCDF, CCSP, EQ-i 2.0, Senior Career Coach

Career planning can be daunting, and often, it’s hard to know where to start. In Career Services, we approach career planning with a two-step process: career exploration and industry coaching.

Everyone has different needs, and not everyone who needs help will need to begin with career exploration. Whether you are looking for your very first job out of college, want to change careers or plan to transition out of the military, our coaches will meet you wherever you are in your career journey.

While career exploration and industry coaching share similarities, they are two very different steps in the career planning process. Starting with the right preparation will greatly improve your career planning and prepare you to land the dream job you’re seeking.  

What Is Career Exploration?

In career exploration, our goal is to help you identify a viable career path by helping you understand not only your immediate next steps, but also a long-term strategy that will help you become a competitive candidate in your chosen field. Your Exploration Coach can aid you in several ways by:

  • Researching degree options and determining to which career fields that type of education will apply
  • Identifying the required training or licensing needed to pursue a career in your chosen field
  • Determining the next strategic steps in your career plan and preparing you to work with an Industry Coach

If you are still considering career possibilities and are not quite sure how your experience, skills, and talents should come together, our career exploration team is standing by to help you. 

How the Career Exploration Process Works

Our exploration process begins with an in-depth conversation to uncover what you want to do after completing your degree. Starting with assessments, we identify your interests to help you determine what work tasks you would like to do and would be good at doing.

Through research, we gather high-level industry and career information to help you determine viable career options. Next, we explore our findings and review your assessment results to help you develop a solid career plan.

With your career plan in place, you can then transition to your Industry Coach. An Industry Coach works with you to further define your career path, pinpoint your target role, gain relevant work experience and reinforce your candidacy for your chosen career.

Related link: The Great Resignation: Transforming the Life of US Workers

What Is Industry Coaching?

For industry coaching, our goal is to assist you in becoming career-ready. We offer customized virtual sessions, where you work with an Industry Coach who understands your specific goals and needs.

For students and alumni who have an idea of what they want to do and which industry they’d like to enter, our Industry Coaches are ready to help you envision the career you want. When you work with an Industry Coach, you receive one-on-one personalized coaching to explore your chosen career field and dig deeper into the career path you seek.

As you work with your Industry Coach, you will then narrow down your options by researching various career paths in your desired industry to help you pinpoint your target role. Each Industry Coach has specialized knowledge in a specific industry, so you will be working with a coach who understands your field and can provide industry-specific insights, tips, and resources.  

Related link: The New Qualifier: COVID-19 Vaccination Status and Your Job Search

How the Coaching Process Works

Once you have decided on your target role, your Industry Coach will assist you in further developing your career plan. Your coach will tailor this career plan to fit your personal needs and goals. Some of the various services offered in a typical coaching session include:

  • Brainstorming ways to gain relevant job experience
  • Providing resume, cover letter and social media reviews
  • Performing mock interviews
  • Discussing job-search strategies
  • Preparing you to network with industry professionals
  • Helping you prepare for Virtual Career Fairs

Industry Coaches can also provide insight into how to successfully use our exclusive University job board, CareerLink. If you haven’t checked out CareerLink yet, log in to your ecampus and create an account. CareerLink is an excellent resource for job seekers who want to view job postings from a variety of vetted employers across several industries. 

No matter where you are in your career journey, Career Services is here to help you. Our goal is to assist you in becoming career-ready with one-on-one coaching sessions and other career-related resources. In the Student Success Center, you can find various videos, how-to guides and infographics that you can review on your own or with an Industry Coach.

If you’re hesitant to reach out to Career Services because you don’t have a solid idea of what you want to do, please send us an email or fill out a coaching request form. We will meet you where you are, whether you have already pinpointed a specific target role or are still unsure about your career interests. If you’re ready to further define your career path or actively pursue various jobs, reach out to one of our Industry Career Coaches today.

About the Authors

Jessica Palermo has worked for the University since 2018, serving as an Academic Advisor for the schools of STEM and Business before transitioning into Career Services as a Career Coach. She holds a M.S. in counseling from the University of the District of Columbia and a M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

Rowe Leathers is a graduate of San Jose State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in psychology. Prior to coming to the University, she held a position in Career Services with a trade school where she enjoyed performing all the various aspects of Career Services. She holds career coaching credentials as a GCDF and CCSP, as well as the EQ-I 2.0/EQ 360 certification credentials.

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