A career research paper is an essay or term paper demonstrating your thorough knowledge of a given career path. It also must meet the requirements of any research paper, including correct structure, spelling, grammar and references. Your paper should include the information that an average person might need to know before pursuing the career. The professional world is very different from academic life, and a career research paper can be important preparation for the transition from getting an education to having a career.
A basic career research paper will include an introduction, a minimum of three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. Pay close attention to your instructor’s specifics on length, references and the like. Attention to detail is important to any writing assignment.
Some instructors will allow you to choose the career you want to pursue, but others will require a random or unfamiliar choice just to see how you perform outside of your comfort zone. You should approach the topic career as if you planned to make it your own. This approach can open up horizons previously unfamiliar to you, which is one purpose of the exercise.
You should focus on details specific to the career you are studying. Basic, essential details will include necessary education and training, income level, major employers in the field, specific tasks and how and where they are carried out. If researching a particular company, use other sources in addition to the company’s official website or press releases in order to ensure a complete and unbiased view. Your instructor also might want to hear your thoughts about why the career appeals to you or how the process of writing the paper has changed your perception of it.
You might need to interview someone who works in the field for your career research paper. If possible, schedule the interview at a place where your subject feels at ease, such as his or her home or office. Bring a recording device so you can focus on your questions and the subject’s responses. If the career is difficult to get into, you might ask for advice on breaking into it. Otherwise, you could focus on how your subject rose from an entry-level position to his or her current position.
Many careers have their own subcultures and lingo. For example, military and law enforcement personnel often use terms that would be gibberish to those who are unfamiliar with them but are instantly recognizable to others with the job — even those in different locations. Incorporating such information might make your career research paper stand out. If you do, be careful to use quotes or otherwise identify invented words — such as “perp,” a law-enforcement term that is short for “perpetrator” — so your instructor knows that you can distinguish them from proper English.