Career Services at the Hampton Center
Located in Room 110 A of the Hampton Center.
352-873-5881, Ext. 1395
Regular hours 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Evenings are available by appointment only.
The College of Central Florida Career Center helps students and graduates with career assessment, career counseling, employability skills training and labor market information. Services include extensive career resource library of books and multimedia materials on career planning and occupations and access to employer information.
The Career Center also provides a variety of career assessments for those individuals who want to know more about suitable career options, or are uncertain about career choice and career decision-making. Career assessment is accompanied with individualized career counseling and career planning designed to help meet the needs of each student.
- Career counseling and assessments
- Job placements, local and statewide job listings for full-time, part-time or seasonal jobs.
- Skill & Interest Assessment
- Graduate School Planning
- Interview Preparation
- Resume, Cover Letter and Thank You Letter Review
- Books, CDs and electronic formats to help with interviewing and resume writing.
1. Choosing a Career and Major
With so many majors to choose from, it can be hard to choose the one that’s right for you. Sometimes what you thought was the perfect choice doesn’t turn out like you expected. Then there are the “what ifs”: What if you’re interested in a lot of different things? What if you don’t feel like you’re interested in much at all? What if you don’t get accepted to your major, college, or program of choice?
And there’s a big, wide world of work out there. How do you find out what exists and would be a good fit? Keep in mind that for many fields,your major isn’t the most important qualification.An interest/passion in the field, well-rounded experience (student orgs, part-time jobs, internships/co-ops, volunteer work), and a successful academic record is what matters more than what you studied.
2. Informational Interviews + Job Shadowing
Talking to current professionals is a great way to determine if a career ﬁeld is for you. During informational or job shadowing visits, you get an up-close look at workplaces and the “real job” from an employee’s view. You have a chance to observe daily office activities, ask questions, and consider the potential pros and cons of a particular profession or industry. You will also discover what workplace skills and career-related experiences are essential to being successful in your chosen ﬁeld. Following is a guide for performing informational interviews.
Step 1: Identify the person you want to interview
The first step is finding the right person to interview. Since you should have already picked the field you are interested in, you should have an idea of the kinds of job titles people in this field have. So start by asking family and friends and others in your personal community if they know anyone who has a similar job.
Step 2: Setting up an interview
Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in interviewing, you need to contact them by phone, mail, or e-mail. Begin by introducing yourself (make sure you mention you are a student) and explaining why you are interested in their field. Be sure to mention the name of the person who gave you their name and number.
Step 3: Do your homework
It’s absolutely essential that you be prepare for this interview in advance. The person you’re interviewing is doing you a favor; don’t include questions whose answers can easily be found somewhere else (Human Resources department, company website, or literature).
If you’ve already done informational interviews, you may already have some questions or areas that you want to explore further, based on that conversation. Here’s a list of sample questions to get you started. You should personalize this list to reflect your own interests. The next step is to conduct the interview.
*Sample Questions for Step Three*
Here are some questions you may want to ask during an informational interview, Select 8-10 that are most relevant to the field and your interests, or create your own questions. Try to avoid asking questions that have "yes" or "no" answers; you’ll get more information with an open-ended question.
Remember that you have a limited amount of time, so choose your questions carefully!
- What is your job like? Describe a typical day. Would it be possible for me to observe you sometime?
- What kinds of problems do you deal with? What kinds of decisions do you make?
- Is your workflow steady or do you alternate between being very busy and very slow?
- How did you become interested in this field? How did you get started?
- What kind of jobs did you have before this one? How did they help prepare you for this work? Which jobs were most helpful?
- What is the best educational preparation for this field? Is a recent graduate’s GPA important in hiring decisions?
- What kind of growth patterns are you seeing in this field that I should consider in my decision?
- From your personal experience in this field, what attributes do you think are essential for success?
- What professional journals do you read? What professional organizations do you belong to?
- What part of your job do you find most interesting or rewarding? What parts do you dislike or feel dissatisfied with?
- What skills are needed in this field? What skills should I be concentrating on at this point in my education? What skills are looked for in entry-level employees?
- What experiences have you had that have been invaluable in learning your job?
- What are some of the difficulties in working in this field and what motivates you to stay in spite of them?
- What else should I know in order to make an informed decision about this field?
- Can you recommend someone else for me to talk with in this field? When I contact this person, may I use your name?
- Do you know of any comparable job titles I should be exploring in this field?
- Do you offer experiential learning opportunities such as internships, co-ops, and summer jobs? What level of college students do you consider for these positions? Whom can I contact for more information?
- Would you be willing to critique my resume?
- Why did you decide to work for this company? What do you like best about it? How is this company different from the competition? What is the corporate culture like?
- What kinds of professional development does your company offer? Do employees in this field generally get advanced degrees or special training?
- What would you be doing if you didn’t work for this company/in this field?
Step 4: Conducting the interview
Conduct the informational interview like a job interview:
- Dress as professionally as possible. This includes a jacket and tie for men, and dress pants or a knee-length skirt for women. Wear a watch so you can keep track of time during the interview.
- Arrive at the interview a few minutes early, so you don’t appear rushed or out of breath when you walk in.
- Have your list of questions handy, and bring paper for taking notes and several pens.
- Stick to your schedule. If the interview is scheduled for 20 minutes, make sure it only lasts 20 minutes. If the person you’re interviewing wanders off topic you can politely remind them that you have additional questions and you don’t want to take up more time than is scheduled.
- At the end of the interview, thank the interviewee for his time. Ask if you can contact him/her for additional information and if so, what is the best way to reach him/her?
Step 5: After the informational interview
As soon as you get home, write a thank-you note and mail or e-mail immediately. If there was a topic discussed that particularly interested you or an area that you now want to explore further, let your interview subject know. They’ll appreciate a personalized note, instead of a bland thank-you.
It’s a good idea to keep a list of all the people you talked with, the leads they gave you and other contacts generated along the way. You should also keep a list of the questions you asked and any notes you took with the contact information. You may want to type your notes while the information is still fresh in your mind so you can remember more easily what you just wrote.
The process for setting up an informational interview or job shadowing visit is the same —for a job shadow, you are just asking for a bit more time. Consider starting with an informational interview, and following up with a job shadow if you want to get a deeper view. During a typical job shadowing visit, you “shadow” an employee at work for a couple of hours, or even a full day.