Career exploration is the process of researching and increasing one’s understanding of various industries, career fields, job roles and functions. This process requires reflection and clarification of one’s personal and professional interests, values, and goals. As a Global Citizen Scholar, it is important to evaluate potential career paths that align with these goals and explore them with intention. This experience provides structure to your personal, professional, and academic goal reflection and career exploration, while challenging you to incorporate phenomenological research methods. Phenomenological research is qualitative research focused on the commonality of a lived experience for a specific group of people. In this case, we ask you to research the experience of professionals within your career pathways of interest. Learn more about phenomenological research.
For this honors experience, you will complete a reflective research essay on 3 career pathways of your choice. You will also reflect on the impact this research and experience has had on you and your future career aspirations.
This experience should take at least 75 hours of planning, execution, and reflection. For most students, this will take 3-4 months to complete. Essays and showcases will be reviewed by honors advisors after the 5th of each month.
- Identify and reflect upon your values, interests, and career goals. Clarify how or why they inspire the careers or career pathways you will choose.
- Choose 3 careers or career pathways you may want to pursue in the future. You will use the activities in steps 3-5 to research and reflect on the careers or career pathways you choose.
- Examples of different career choice may include but aren't limited to accountant vs. actuary, editor vs. writer, teacher vs. graphic designer, engineer vs. computer scientist, or artist vs. museum curator.
- Examples of different career pathways may include but aren't limited to emergency, family, or obstetrics doctors; family, corporate, or civil lawyers; civil, mechanical, or chemical engineers; graphic, industrial, or interior design.
- Make an appointment with UC’s Career Studio for career coaching or a service of your choice.
- Services include resume review, interview support, cover letter review, major exploration, or career exploration.
- Identify, integrate, and cite at least 4 academic resources (documents, articles, videos, books) related to the career or career pathways of your choice. Utilize the University Library’s research guides by discipline.
- Conduct 2-3 interviews related to the career, academic discipline, or work community you are interested in pursuing. We suggest using the Career Studio informational interviewing guide.
- Create or update your LinkedIn account.
- Create or update your resume and add it to your LinkedIn Account.
- Compile these career exploration activities into a research and reflective essay of at least 1,500-words, including your cited research, and submit it to the UHP database.
- Showcase this experience on your learning portfolio.
At least half of your interviews should come from sources outside of your household. While phenomenological research relies heavily on interviews, we understand that they may be hard to find 2-3 primary interview sources, so secondary interviews can be used as sources. Please utilize the University Library’s website for research guides by discipline and a guide on evaluating the quality of sources.
The reflective essay must be at least 1,500 words and should follow the University Honors Program’s What? So What? Now What? model of reflection. Please use the questions below to guide your reflection. You should not attempt to answer every question; instead focus on those that draw the most meaningful reflections to your experiences.
- What are your personal values and interests?
- What are your career goals?
- How do your interests, values and career goals inspire the career paths you researched?
- What makes it challenging to decide future careers or career pathways? What obstacles do you come across?
- What type of community do you hope to build through this career path?
- How do your careers or career pathways of interest align with your definition of Global Citizen Scholar?
- What experiential learning experiences (jobs, co-op, internship, research, etc.) have shaped your career goals so far?
So What? (Post-Research)
- What are your long-term personal or financial goals and how will they be impacted by this career?
- How did your academic and/or professional goals change because of the research you conducted?
- If your academic and/or professional goals change, how might the communities you engage in evolve?
- How has your research impacted the way you view your academic discipline, professional field, or community? What did you learn that surprised you?
- Do you have new strategies for searching for co-ops, internships, jobs, or other research opportunities?
- Based on your research, how has your definition of Global Citizen Scholar evolved or changed?
Now What? (Next Steps/Looking Ahead)
- How do you envision your careers or career pathways of interest impacting your engagement in various communities (on and off campus)?
- How will you develop yourself as a leader in the profession you choose?
- If you remain unsure of your future profession, how might continued reflection and research support your confidence in this decision?
- What impact has this career exploration had on the way you prepare for your post-graduate life?
- How do you envision your next steps in career exploration following this experience?
- What are your plans for future co-ops, internships, research, or other career development opportunities?
- How has this career research helped you progress toward becoming a Global Citizen Scholar?
We've compiled a list of options or resources you can use toward completing this experience. You can use this as an excellent starting point before searching for more specific options that might be more tailored to your experience.
How to Submit the Experience
Submit the reflective essay to the UHP Database
Submit a 1500 word reflective essay to the UHP Database. This essay should contain evidence of phenomenological research on your careers or career pathways of interest via the use of at least 4 academic resources and 2-3 interviews. Utilize the What? So What? Now What? questions found in the Reflective Essay Guide to guide your essay.
- Log into the UHP Database.
- Go to the Self-Designed Experiences tab.
- Click “Create.”
- Enter “Career Pathways Research” as the title & fill in remaining sections.
- Click “Choose File” to upload your reflective essay.
- Complete E-Signature.
- Click “Save.”
Showcase the experience on your learning portfolio
Write a 200-word summary of this experience to briefly explain what the experience involved, what you learned, and how it has impacted you. Include samples of work from the experience for your learning portfolio showcase; specifically, post or link your updates resume and LinkedIn account. You may also include a sample cover letter, Career Studio headshot, interview excerpt, or any other work samples from the experience that you choose.