Start Exploring Careers – Here’s How

Career News Jun 14, 2024 No Comments
Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Choosing an initial career path or deciding to change careers starts with exploration. There are a lot of unknowns to contend with and questions to ask when contemplating such a life-altering decision. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to seek out a new career path before committing to it. Networking, volunteering, interning and information gathering from trusted sources within an industry of interest can go a long way to answering whether it would be a good fit for you. Here are some ways to make connections and gain valuable knowledge that could lead to your new career.

Volunteering and Interning

Many non-profit organizations and NGOs offer volunteer and internship positions, which can help you develop your professional network and meet people with similar interests and values. Staff members and other project participants can become valuable connections, offering information, contacts and references that can assist you as you build your career.

Internships are training programs designed to build and strengthen professional skills by providing work experience. Although NGOs and non-profits may offer internships to individuals of various ages and backgrounds, college-aged students and recent graduates most commonly accept these positions. Most internships are unsalaried positions; a few organizations offer stipends or college credit, or (conversely) may require interns to pay for the privilege of working for the organization. Some internship programs, especially with popular or highly regarded organizations, may have an intensely competitive application process that resembles a formal job application. Some organizations also offer virtual internships.

Volunteers typically have a less formal relationship with the organizations they are assisting than interns at those organizations, and the application process tends to be less competitive. Unlike interns, volunteers do not usually receive formal training and are not typically required to adhere to a strict schedule. Volunteers may perform a wide variety of tasks, reflecting the needs of the organization, and those who have worked with an organization extensively may be given significant responsibilities.

The abilities that volunteers and interns develop while working with an organization are often highly valuable to employers — numerous volunteers and interns have translated non-profit and NGO experiences into marketable career skills. In fact, many organizations fill a large percentage of their open positions by hiring current and former interns and volunteers.


  • Business and trade organizations host events that are conducive to networking. Besides professional organizations, there are also groups with a more social focus, such as international friendship societies*, of which there are many throughout the world. Other social clubs include language and country-related clubs, women’s societies, and civic groups such as Lions Clubs International and Rotary International.
  • Chambers of commerce can help you learn about local markets and business opportunities and make important contacts. Check your local chambers of commerce, along with the foreign chambers of commerce that may be available in your area.
  • Career fairs have always been a great way to network and find jobs. They are also a good way to go and learn about various industries and the jobs within them. Career fairs can be hosted by local, regional, national or international companies both in-person or virtually. Job websites or companies that specialize in internet-based recruitment may host them as well. Attending a virtual job fair can be an effective way to connect with career specialists, hiring managers and recruiters via chat rooms, video, streams, and/or email, and all from the convenience of your home country and living space. An in-person job fair allows you to meet face-to-face and make new connections that might be more local.

Staffing Agencies and Temporary Help Firms

Using employment or recruitment agencies is an effective way for you to search for jobs and practice interview and communication skills. It can also be a way to research and ask questions about certain industries, job openings and skill sets. These agencies recruit on behalf of organizations for a wide range of jobs, and often have a wide variety of job opportunities available.

Upon meeting jobseekers in person or by video conference, recruitment and staffing agency recruiters often will refer them to even more jobs. In-person meetings give recruiters a better understanding of jobseekers’ personalities, presentation, communication skills and experience. Sometimes, a recruiter may identify key skills a jobseeker possesses and will directly approach employers to find job opportunities that may not be advertised, a process known as ‘reverse marketing.’ Meeting with a recruiter also will allow you to practice interview and job application skills and learn more about the career opportunities available within that industry.

Online Communities and Social Media

Online communities, like Eventbrite, InterNations and Meetup, can connect people who have similar interests. Gatherings, virtual or in-person, can be purely social, or organized around professions, work interests or hobbies, but they all offer social connections that can be used to make professional contacts.

Similarly, social media platforms let you recreate your existing social network online, make new contacts and display your qualifications and experience for a wide audience. You can also find cutting-edge tips and follow career-advice professionals who can help with your career exploration.

These sites not only host business pages to follow and professional groups to join, but many also post job vacancies before they’re published anywhere else. Some sites, such as LinkedIn and X (Twitter), display the names and professional backgrounds of hiring managers, which can give you insight into their qualifications and skill sets.

Social media is an important tool for job searching in many countries. Follow hiring managers and other executives at companies of interest. Join industry chats to make connections and learn about new opportunities and developments in the field of interest.

* Important Note

GoinGlobal’s detailed and expert-created Country and City Guides have dedicated pages under the “Individual Networking” link for “Social and Service Clubs.” The navigation breadcrumbs, for our country guide is: Career Guides / Country / Individual Networking / Social and Service Clubs

GoinGlobal’s 120+ guides are filled with valuable information for exploring careers close to home and abroad. Approximately 65% of all guide content is unavailable from online resources and is gathered locally from discussions with professional organizations and industry experts.

Access to GoinGlobal’s resource database is provided through subscribing institutions. Contact your college/university’s career center or library for access instructions.



Britt Martin