Step 2: ExplorationStep 2:  Exploration

Now that you know a little about yourself, it’s time to do some exploration or researching your options based on what you discovered through your self-assessment.  That’s where NJ Next Stop can really help. 

Look at the list of occupations that were suggested as part of the self-assessment process in Step 1.  Look to see if they match an industry listed under “Are You Ready?” on the home page of NJ Next Stop.   For example, if you found that your interests are a good match for nursing or other healthcare profession, then you may want to click on Healthcare/Life Sciences to learn more about:

  • jobs and careers that are in demand in that field
  • skills and education needed
  • salaries (wages)

Remember, the careers that are featured here are for selected, researched jobs that New Jersey businesses most need to fill. There are a lot of other jobs that are not mentioned here. You can research those by clicking on the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Occupation Explorer or O*NET or by visiting some of the other sites below:

The New Jersey Career Assistance Navigator (NJCAN) is designed to support lifelong career exploration and career planning and decision making.  It provides comprehensive career information, includes tools that encourage self-assessment, exploration, research, goal setting, and decision making.  NJCAN is easy to use and includes an online portfolio for saving information as you go through the career planning and decision-making process.

Career Clusters
The States’ Career Clusters Initiative (SCCI) provides Career Clusters as a tool for transition from education to career in an ever-changing workplace.  Now called CTE (Career Technical Education), the web site provides students with information on a vast number of occupation and career areas to help in exploration and career planning.  It can also help you plan out which courses you will need to take while in school. 

America's Career InfoNet /Informed Career Decisions
This website offers detailed information on numerous careers in more than 20 job families, from Architecture & Engineering to Transportation. There is extensive data on wage and industry trends, with profiles of labor market conditions in every state. The "What It Takes” section provides in-depth descriptions of the skills, abilities and knowledge required to perform specific jobs. Career tools on the site include a Resume Tutorial and a Skills Profiler. Additional career information is found at ACI's sister site:

Dept. of Defense Youth Career Info
Helps young adults, between the ages of 16 and 24,  plan their next steps by bringing together info about colleges, careers and military services.   This website offers info drawn from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education and Labor and includes info on over 1,000 military and civilian careers and 7,000 accredited colleges, universities and trade schools.  It includes valuable info about college admission requirements, employment trends and military benefits. 

What Interests You?
Provides detailed descriptions of 75 occupations (listed A to Z) in areas of career interest such as Math, Science, Social Studies, Computers, the Law, Music & The Arts, Building & Fixing Things, Helping People, Reading, Managing Money, Sports and Nature.

My College Major
To learn about college majors in which you may be interested using exploration tools and information about a variety of majors at a broad range of colleges, check out this site.  (NOTE:  You do not have to subscribe to access much of the info on this site.)

Green Industry Careers
Interested in checking out careers in the green industry.  This web site will show you the latest occupational trends, help you search career paths and find training and education that link to employer-demanded skills.

Career One Stop
Career videos, industry profiles and job information are now available through this compelling web site from the U.S. Department of Labor. It features career opportunities in industries such as Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive, Construction, Energy, Financial Services, Health Care, Hospitality, Information Technology, Retail, and Transportation. The site also highlights jobs in the emerging fields of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, and Geospatial Technology.  Also provides "Connections," a quarterly electronic update from the CareerOneStop suite of web sites including America's Career InfoNet and America's Service Locator. 

My Skills My Future
A careeronestop web site, this site helps users identify work-related skills, then using these skills compares careers, finds training and searches for jobs.  This site translates to view a Spanish version of skills matching and job searching. 

What's Next...
Here's a new 2011/2012 publication from NJ's Department of Labor & Workforce Development, "What's Next: Your Job. Your Choice. YOUR LIFE."  It is packed with info you will want to check out when considering your next steps, like exploring career options, matching jobs to subjects you like, and finding out about jobs that are in demand and what you can expect to be paid.

My Next Move
A US Department of Labor career exploration web site, and companion to the myskillsmyfuture web site above, targets first time job seekers and provides comprehensive career information.  As students and job seekers explore their futures, MyNextMove offers three paths:  those who know what they want to be; those who will know when they see it (browse by industry); and those who aren't sure—which links to the O*Net Interest Profiler.

A Division of CareerBuilder®—an online employment web site—CareerPath® is a career resource center that helps you explore what jobs are right for you and helps you find jobs matching your needs and interests, and also offers career advice and guidance.  It also can help you explore which educational institutions and programs are available that match your interest and plans.

BrainTrack's College and Career Guide
Click onto Career Guide.  This Guide offers in-depth career profiles as well as degree and wage statistics for over 400 occupations that commonly require college or university education.  In the guide are: original career profiles to help those considering specific careers are details on typical responsibilities, activities and requirements; types of degrees and schools; coursework; personal traits associated with specific careers; and how to evaluate schools.  Also include are Scholarship information; student stories that offer advice to those seeking similar paths; Bureau of Labor Statistics career stats on specific occupations with education levels, number of jobs, and annual pay ranges; career voices offer a broad range of career and education advice from experts; a planning guide for setting goals, identifying paths, and job hunting; daily news articles on career and education developments; and a listing of colleges by state as well as worldwide. 

ASVAB Career Exploration
A recommended tool by the US Department of Labor's Tools for America's Job Seeker Challenge survey results, this program is designed to help 10th, 11th, 12th grade and postsecondary students make career decisions.  This free program includes an aptitude test battery and interest inventory.  

Career Exploration Tools & Materials
An extensive list of Internet resources for students, parents, educators and counselors interested in up-to-date career information.

Scholarship Matching
Another career exploration tool recommended from the USDOL's Tools for America's Job Seeker Challenge survey, this website matches users to scholarships.  The site also provides information and guidance as students find their college or first job, using current news on financial aid, college, scholarships, jobs and internships and student life.
NJSTARS and NJSTARSII are scholarship programs exclusively for NJ residents.  NJSTARS covers costs of tuition and approved fees at NJ's 19 community colleges.  NJSTARSII offers scholarships to NJSTARS students who've completed their associate degrees and want to go onto a four-year college or university. 

Career Equity Resource Center
On this new Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, The State University web site, now called Career Equity Resource Center (formerly the Non-traditional Career Resource Center), learn what a nontraditional career is, and check out lots of information for students, parents, and educators about these careers including skills, career paths, internships and apprenticeships, online inquiries to experts in the field, and research and resources on gender equity and career development.


Education Online Search
This web site can provide you with a helpful start in thinking about what career(s) may be best for you.   Offers a variety of articles geared toward career exploration.

Job Shadowing and Internships

Besides using the Web to research jobs, another great way to learn more is by “shadowing” someone in a job that you interests you or by getting an internship in that position.

With a job shadow, you spend the day following someone in a particular career area. Often your school will arrange for job shadow experiences with local businesses. You can also arrange for your own job shadow.

In an internship, you spend time working for a company or organization that is in your career area of interest. Often these are unpaid work experiences that last for a few weeks during the summer. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get a paid internship.  Often an internship will allow you to rotate through different departments in a company so you can learn more about the field.

Below are some great resources on job shadowing and internships to check out.


Once you’ve done some research, it’s time to make some decisions and start planning for the future Step 3: Decision-Making and Planning