Step 2: Investigation

Step 3: Investigation

The third and ongoing step in career planning is making a decision and creating an action plan. A career decision is any major choice and commitment that you feel is of importance in your life; it may or may not be directly related to work. It is true that some people seem to be more comfortable and effective than others are when it comes to making a decision. Remember that decision-making is a skill and you can improve any skill through practice. A valid decision exhibits the following process:

Gathering Information about the Contexts of Your Call and Career

Why is it important to explore the world of work before making a career decision? We cannot choose what we do not know. There are over 20,000 occupational titles, and the Department of Labor predicts there will be about 6 million job openings each year between now and 2006! That adds up to a lot of choices for the job seeker. Where we live and the kind of work we do are two of the most important factors in achieving a satisfied life. Consider these additional reasons for investing time and energy in career exploration activities: The occupation you choose may determine whether or not you eventually become employed. Post-9-11 labor trends suggest that not all job opportunities expand at the same rate—and some decrease as technology makes certain jobs obsolete and global forces re-shape the world of work. Success or failure may be related to your occupational choice. You must be able to do the work in a specific job. Learning about the requirements of occupations as they relate to your skills and strengths is important. Finally, your choices related to call and career reflect your understanding of your God-given purpose and capacities, and influence every other area of your life: where you live, how often you move, with whom you associate, your economic and social status, your emotional and physical health, and significantly will affect the well-being of your family.Ways of Investigating the Contexts of Your Call and Career Many resources are available for researching specific occupations and industries. The Career Services library is an excellent place to start, and the LeTourneau University Library also offers many valuable resources. Printed materials, videos, CD-ROMs and computer programs offer valuable facts about work requirements and conditions, employment figures, training, advancement, earnings, job outlook, and persons to contact in seeking information, internships, co-operative placements, or full-time employment. Other sources include:

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Industry and government libraries
  • Recruiting materials
  • Trade journals and newsletters
  • State Employment Offices
  • Web sites

The Informational Interview

By interviewing individuals who have jobs like those in which you may be interested, you can get a personal feel for what the job really entails. Career Services can train and coach you in the process of informational interviewing. This experience can serve several valuable purposes: Knowing more about what a career is like is an important step in clarifying your career goals. Gaining this special insight into a field that you are considering helps you to tailor your job search according to what you have learned about current trends on both a national and local level.

  • You learn how to interview effectively and efficiently.
  • You gain confidence and clarity in presenting yourself and your interests.
  • You create an invaluable network of contacts for later stages in fulfilling your call and career.

Internships and Co-operative Placements (Co-ops)

An internship is a supervised work or volunteer experience with specific learning objectives.. LeTourneau University students may register for co-op placements that result in a special notation on your official transcript. These focused experiences represent a wonderful opportunity to develop job skills, become familiar with a career field and its work environment, create a positive relationship with a potential full-time employer, and evaluate your abilities and interest in a given occupation. Internships and co-ops may be arranged during regular academic semesters and/or during the summer. Achievement Center orientations are offered each regular term to help students better understand how to research and set up internships. Students who have previously completed internships and co-op placements are available to share their experiences and to offer advice. Students also can research a nationwide database of internship opportunities at InternCenter. The Career Services library houses internship and co-op information about placements for summer and school year semesters, locally, nationwide, and overseas. Many students have successfully developed their own internships by directly contacting businesses and LU graduates working in career fields which interest them. If you want to develop your own internship, we can help you contact a strategically-placed LU graduate, or the Human Resources office of the company or agency which interests you and get in touch with the person who coordinates internship activities. We can help you introduce yourself and explain your interest in doing an internship, and produce and effective contact letter and résumé.

Employment while attending LeTourneau

Paid work experience while attending college, during summers, and over holidays gives you valuable insight and enables you to interact with other workers. Hiring managers place increasing importance on work experience and internships as valuable indicators of how a college student is managing the career development process. Financial Aid can help you with on-campus employment opportunities. Career Services maintains current listings of part-time and full-time jobs in Longview and nearby, and will assist you in securing off-campus employment when desired.

Career/Graduate School Exploration

LeTourneau career events are excellent ways to network with company representatives and to explore options for graduate and professional schooling after LeTourneau. Career Services sponsors a large on-campus Career Fair each fall, as well as a growing series of smaller on-campus fairs featuring employment and graduate training opportunities for specific majors and in specific career areas. Career Services also advertises regional and national career fairs, seminars, and workshops that provide opportunities for career exploration, and provides opportunities for students seeking internship, co-op, and post-graduation employment through sponsored trips to several large career events in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and at College Station.