Starting on the Paper Research Trail

What You will Find on This Page . . .
  1. Instructions on How to do Your Paper Research
  2. How to Approach Staff for Help in Libraries & Career Centers
  3. Why do Library Research?

Tips on How to Do Paper Research

  1. As you begin your Paper Research ask the librarian to point out the Career Section of the Library you are visiting. You can spend days just browsing this area. Library Staff will be interested in helping you.
  2. Visit a local career center and see what resources they are offering in the form of bulletins and brochures, career information pamphlets and books on various careers.
  3. Read career articles in newspapers – these are likely to carry the most up to date information.
  4. Be sure to check the original sources they used for their information.
  5. Visit Professional Associations and look at the journals and magazines in that field.
  6. Walk into a Union Office – you’ll find out the problems that people on the job are facing. Pick up their pamphlets to take home with you.

How to Approach Staff for Help in Libraries & Career Centers

A library career center

  • Be polite and treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • Be clear and specific about what you are looking for. Example: “I’m interested in finding out what people do in TV production. Can you suggest the most up-to-date resources in the library to help me learn about that career?”
  • If you are patient and considerate, staff at libraries and Career Information Centers can be very helpful.

Susan’s Experience with Paper Research

During her last job, in Retail Sales at a Toy Store, Susan met a lot of kids coming into the store, and she enjoyed talking to them and helping them find what they wanted. But something was missing. She knew she wanted to be closer to the kids she met, to make more of a difference in their lives. She was looking for a job that would let her do that. Her self-assessments showed she had a warm, sociable personality, a caring attitude, and preferred being in a helping situation.

She and her boyfriend planned to marry and start a family in the near future. Thinking ahead, she decided she’d like to be in a job, which allowed her to be near her own kids, to be able to work the same hours, and to be home when they come home.

Her Occupational Research pointed to a strong interest in the field of Education. But she was not sure, what job exactly, she wanted to do in that field. During her ‘Paper Research’ in the library she came across a book about ‘Careers Working with Children’.
It listed a number of jobs that looked like possibilities. ‘Child Care Teacher/Aide’ caught her attention. She asked the librarian if she could recommend where she could get some more information on this. The librarian was glad to help.
Susan took home some reading material that she would never have found without the librarian’s help.

It opened up some short term programs that would allow her to quickly get into a job working with preschoolers.
Down the road, she could even see herself opening her own Day Care Center.

But first she was going to schedule an interview at a Child Care Center, she had seen in town.
Maybe she could volunteer there for a week to see from the inside, the kinds of jobs being done. She now had an Action plan.

Your Local Library


Your local library will have a career section with a lot of books on occupations. Go with whatever piques your interest. It doesn’t matter where you start with your paper research, you’ll soon find your way. New doorways will open up as you move through the material and sift out the ones that interest you vs. the ones that don’t.

Why do Library Research?

You need to do library research in order to go a little deeper with your research. A lot of the information online won’t give you much depth.

Note: Libraries are notorious for holding onto outdated career material. One of the first things you have to do, when you find a book you like in a library, is to check the publication date. If it’s been more than 5 years since publication, the material is likely too dated. Look for books that are within 5 years from publication.

Of course, everything you find in these books can be confirmed later, when you conduct your “Informational Interviews” with people working in the field. The information you gather here is the background for the questions you will be asking in your interviews.

This paper research gives you credibility. If you go into an interview and expect the person to answer minor questions you could have easily found the answers to during your research, you will be wasting their time and yours.


Are you keeping a list of the jobs you want to know more about? As you do your research, a reassuring thing to remember is, that the people, who work in these areas, who really love their work, will tend to have similar interests, values, personality traits, and motivations. If their’s are close to your’s, you are on to something. If you find strong differences between yours and those who work in a field, take it as a clue that this type of work might not be a good fit for you.


This Link Will Take You Through Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Program

Links to Step 1 - The 5 Career Tests on This Site

Step 1 - Discovering Who You Are
Links to Step 2 - Career Exploration

Step 2 - Exploring Your Career Options
Links to Step 3 - Getting into the Nitty Gritty

Step 3 - Doing the Research For Your Dream Job
Links to Step 4 - Taking Care of Your Career

Step 4 - Managing Your Career - Doing Career Planning
Are you wondering: "What Career is Best for Me?"

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