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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Williams

What is career exploration? Your questions answered

One of the most frequent points of conversation we have at Clu is about what to do next - whether that be a student leaving school or someone wanting to transition in their career path.

During those conversations, we always recommend career discovery and career exploration exercises. And without fail, we are asked three common questions:

  1. What is career exploration?

  2. How does career exploration work?

  3. How do you go about career exploration?

In this article, we'll dive into the answers to each question to help you better understand what career exploration is and how to teach it.

What is career exploration?

Career exploration is the process of researching, evaluating, and learning about work opportunities and how you can pursue the career of your choice.

This makes career exploration one of the most important things to focus on in terms of long-term life planning for anyone thinking about their future.

How does career exploration work?

Career exploration is the second stage of the career planning process. During the first stage, you learn to identify your skills, personality, interests, aptitudes, and values. You can either use various tools to gather this information, or you can use Clu to do it quickly and easily. But in either case, you are left with a list of careers that are a good fit for someone with similar traits. Although the careers on your list appear to be suitable, it does not mean you can go ahead and randomly choose any one of them. There are other things to consider. Each occupation has characteristics that make it a better idea to choose some over others. Since you can only have one career at a time, your goal, after learning about all the careers that might be a good fit for you, is to narrow this down to one or two that are the best fit for you, personally. Try not to eliminate any profession from your list until you do some research, even if you think you know something about it. You may be surprised by what you learn when you dig for information. If you cross a career off your list because of some preconceived notion, you could eliminate one of your best options.

How do you go about career exploration?

At first, you will want to gather basic information about each occupation on your list. Let's assume you have a list of ten possible careers. Before spending a lot of time on in-depth research, do some preliminary fact-finding that will allow you to narrow down your list. It will include looking at a job description and labour market information, including job progression routes, job security and long-term outlooks for jobs like this, how salaries improve as you progress in your career and education and training requirements to get the job. Resources like GlassDoor and LinkedIn are helpful for this. After learning about all the occupations on your list, you will find that several don't appeal to you. It could be for a variety of reasons. For example, you may decide that you wouldn't enjoy the job duties of a particular occupation or that you can't or don't want to meet the educational and training requirements. The earnings may be lower than you thought, or the job outlook tells you that employment opportunities will be poor. After completing your preliminary research, you will be left with a list that contains between three and five careers on it. After you narrow down your list of career choices, your research should become more involved. You will want to learn what working in the field is like before you work in it. The best way to do this is to talk to people who do the job, and don't forget to check out the Clu'd Up Careers content via Clu. Figure out who in your professional network knows people who work in the field or fields in which you are interested, or ask around to see if any of them have contacts who do.

  1. Set up informational interviews with anyone with experience in the careers you are considering. Those whose experience is more recent make better subjects.

  2. See if any of those people will let you shadow them on the job for a day or two.

  3. Consider doing an internship to learn about a work field and get experience.

After you complete your in-depth research, you should be able to determine which career is a good match for you. Try not to get too frustrated if you can't decide by this point. You may not have enough information yet. Continue to do more research until you can comfortably choose the ​best career for you.


At Clu, we're helping you find the right job faster. Our product is the smartest way to discover jobs you'd be great at. Use your skills to find your next role at an inclusive and exciting company by signing up through our website.

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