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Explore with a Purpose


Explore with a Purpose

Career exploration is important for academic success and career satisfaction. Below are tips and resources to help you in your research. Also contact your College Advisor and Career Planning and Placement staff for help.           


Career Exploration Quick Tips:
Why Explore Careers

Many college students are undecided or unsure about their programs of study and career goals. Although college is a time to explore academic interests, choosing an academic pathway and career goal early, significantly improves your chances of completing your degree on time and within Financial Aid limits. Do not wait! Choose an academic pathway then create and stick to a plan for long-term career success and satisfaction.             

Focus 2 Career Assessment

Before you can explore careers, you should know your likes, wants and aptitudes. City Colleges of Chicago offers free career assessments and short quizzes via Focus 2. Focus 2 guides you through questions about your work interest, personality, skills, and values and recommends career options accordingly.             

When answering Focus 2 questions take your time and answer honestly. Students can access Focus 2 by signing into the portal at my.ccc.edu and clicking the Focus 2 Quick Access link. Once you have explored Focus 2, share your results with your College Advisor and Career Planning and Placement staff.             

Click here for more career exploration and assessment resources.

Common Questions to Consider

It's a good idea to create a question list before researching careers. Rank your questions on the basis of what's most important to you. Then compare occupations based on your valued criteria. Your Career Planning and Placement staff can also help. Some common questions to consider are:        

  • What are the main tasks performed? 
  • What is the typical work environment? (Travel percentage, average schedule, location type etc.) 
  • What is the projected job outlook both nationally and locally? 
  • What is the starting and median earnings, or wage, for this field? 
  • What level of education is required? 
  • What are the main skills required?
  • Will I enjoy or find this work rewarding?
Informational Interviews

Once you have narrowed down your list a few occupations you're interested in, it's time to start talking to people. The best information often comes from real people in real jobs. Ask your professors, student services staff and social contacts. Use our networking section for tips. Also, consider conducting informational interviews [PDF]. Information interviews are phone or in-person conversations during which you can ask industry insiders about their jobs.     

Develop SMART Goals       

As you learn more about yourself and your potential career paths, start setting goals. Setting goals helps you stay on track and increases your chances for success. When setting goals make sure they're SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. Click on the link for SMART goal details and example [PDF].        

Use CCC Resources

Career exploration is personal, but you're not in it alone. City Colleges of Chicago has many resources to help you. You can take the INTDSP 101 College Success​ course, attend workshops, and meet one-on-one with your College Advisor and Career Planning and Placement staff. Invest your time and effort into thorough career exploration now, so you can be prepared for the exciting opportunities headed your way.         

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Learn More

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PDF Resources:

SMART Goals
Informational Interviews