Step Two: Research Careers

Step Two: Research Careers

In the first step of Stage 1: Discover, you assessed yourself to find out what skills, personality traits, and values shape your career interests. Now that you know more about yourself, it’s time to ask: which types of careers suit you best?

In this step, you will conduct research to find the career areas that are most compatible with your personality, interests, and goals.

Why Research Careers? Researching different careers helps you understand the unique requirements and demands of each. The more research you do, the more likely a career direction will become evident. You might discover an entirely new career, or find opportunities in your current career.

In later stages of the career management process, this research will help you make more informed decisions and set the right goals.

Research Resources

There are a variety of research resources available to you. This guide will introduce you to three:

  • online career research tools,
  • informational interviews, and
  • the Office of Human Resources compensation website.

The research process is self-directed, meaning there’s no right or wrong way to do it – let your interests be your guide. While the resources described here can certainly get you started, there are many other resources that you will likely discover on your own. Connect with Career Services for Notre Dame Staff if you need additional assistance.

Online Career Research Tools

There are a variety of websites and other online tools that will help you research career areas of interest. Utilize as many of these resources as you can to gain insight into individual career areas as well as advice on managing your career transition.

Some examples:

  • My Next Move ( allows you to research a variety of career areas.
  • ( allows you to research salary, job, and education information.

Additional online career research tools:

Informational Interviews

What is an informational interview? An informational interview is an interview with someone who works in a position or field you would like to learn more about. It is not a job interview; rather, it simply allows you to gather information about a career from people who are already working in it.
Informational interviewing is one of the easiest and most informative methods of doing career research. An informational interview can be completed over the phone, in person, via email, or over Skype or Google Chat.

Notre Dame hosts a wide variety of career fields, making the University a great place to explore career areas through informational interviews. We encourage you to connect with your fellow colleagues across campus.

Preparing for an informational interview. The following web articles provide useful tips before, during, and after an informational interview.

Office of Human Resources Compensation Website

To round out your career research, visit the HR compensation website ( It provides a wealth of information about the kind of jobs that exist at Notre Dame, the salary ranges for each type of position and the basic requirements for each. You can assess how your qualifications and interests compare to the requirements.


The HR compensation website (click image) offers Career Guides to help you evaluate what level of position you might be qualified for.

Here’s a quick “how to” guide on using the compensation website:

  1. Select one of the 15 Job Families you’d like to explore.
  2. Select a Sub-Family from within the Family you’ve chosen.
  3. Review the General description of the Sub-Family, the three Career Streams (NIC, EIC or M), and the salary ranges for the levels where positions exist.
  4. Review the Career Guides at the bottom of each Career Stream column (NIC, EIC or M).

In the Career Guides, you’ll see the six skill categories that assist in determining the level of a position. These categories are: Level of Knowledge, Problem Complexity, Autonomy & Responsibility, Organizational Scope and Impact, Influencing & People Leadership and Educational Preparation.

Use these Career Guides to evaluate what level of position you might be qualified for. For example, do you have the required problem solving skills to hold an M or EIC position, or are you best suited for an NIC-level position? As you compare your self-assessed skills with the career paths that interest you, these Career Guides will also help you identify the level at which you will likely enter a new career.

What is a “Career Stream?”

  • Non-exempt Individual Contributor (NIC): Typically provides a support function to others.
  • Exempt Individual Contributor (EIC): Typically contributes autonomously on projects or tasks.
  • Management (M): Typically leads a team, work unit, department or division of three or more.

For more information about each career stream, see the Career Guides on the HR Compensation website.

Continue: Summary and To-Do Checklist