It’s wise for students to begin researching job requirements for a typical career in their chosen field before they proceed very far in their education or, even more certainly, before they graduate and start their job searches. But, because they’re new to the field, they may not know how or where to begin finding the type of relevant and timely information that will truly help them on their journeys. Thus, they would welcome and value some “on the ground” guidance from knowledgeable and experienced professionals.

As an educator with a breadth of experience, you can offer quite a bit of knowledge, wisdom, and insight with regard to getting prepared for a career in your field of expertise. However, you likely don’t have time to offer individualized career advisement to each student who takes your courses. Even so, you can still help students become as prepared as possible for their first foray into the job market.  One way: use your course itself as a platform for discussing and reinforcing the importance of exploring the various requirements and qualifications that employers expect to see when individuals embark on a career in the field.

This activity, drawn from the Instructor’s Manual to accompany Gwenn Wilson, MA’s 100% Job Search Success, Third Edition, walks students through an important part of the process of researching job requirements: determining the expectations laid out by the professional organization associated with your field. You may choose to assign this as an in-class activity to spark conversation or as a take-home activity that prompts further exploration outside of class time. If you don’t have time to address this topic in class, you might encourage students to follow this process as individuals.


Activity: Professional Requirements Research

The goal of this activity is to increase students’ awareness of professional development resources and processes.

Advance Preparation

    • Familiarize students with resources. If students are not currently aware of requirements and resources in their field, research and identify those that pertain to entry-level professionals in their field.
    • Variations. Divide the class into small groups and assign each an element to research. Upon completion of the assignment, share information in short presentations and compile a comprehensive resource that can be distributed to students.

The Activity

    • Step 1. Identify the professional organization(s) that defines certification and continuing education requirements for your field. Instructors and your program chair can assist you in finding this information.
    • Step 2. Locate the organization’s Web site. Explore the site to find the requirements for certifications and continuing education. Include entry-level requirements such as minimum degree requirements and others such as internships. Make a note of the requirements.
    • Step 3. In addition to the requirements, note resources such as publications, e-mail lists, and other tools that you can use to remain informed of continuing education and other professional development opportunities. (Wilson, 23)


Reference: Wilson, Gwenn. 2015. Instructor’s Manual to Accompany 100% Job Search Success, 3rd ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

© 2015 Cengage Learning.


What are your tips for students who are beginning to research job requirements in your field? Share them in the comments.