Whether you are thinking about going back to school, looking for a new job, or planning for career transition, the resources at CareerOneStop.org are a great place to start.
Produced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, CareerOneStop.org should be part of your overall career development efforts. With so many tools to choose from, it’s important to find the ones that are most relevant to you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways to find the support you need, with your career needs in mind.
Career Exploration Basics
CareerOneStop.org has been around for a while, and offers some of the standard career exploration and job search tools we’ve all come to expect from free job search sites. But this site’s tie in with the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the O*NET Resource Center, all of which use the same set of job categories and titles to organize information, make it particularly helpful. Explore some of the following resources:
- Salary expectations: Do you know what you can expect to earn after graduation? Or in a position similar to your current one, but in another part of the country? Use “The Salary Tool” to research and compare annual and hourly wage trends based on your industry and location.
- Employment trends: See which industries and occupations are in demand now, and learn more about the requirements to enter these fields with different levels of training and education. Green careers, which focus on energy conservation and environment preservation, are also featured.
- Workplace expectations: The career and industry video series offers a brief overview of what employers are looking for and what it’s like to work in each of more than 500 fields.
- Skills Profiler: Select the skills you already have from a list that includes items ranging from social skills to computer skills. After rating your level of expertise with each one, you’ll see a list of job titles and occupations that match what you already know how to do.
The Latest and Greatest
It’s these new features and more unique tools that recently attracted my attention to CareerOneStop.org. Take a look at some of the resources that make this site especailly relevant in the context of today’s career development concerns:
- Find Associations: Use this tool to identify professional associations and organizations in your career field. Then visit the linked sites to learn more about available services, such as professional development opportunities, networking events, and job boards. I first heard of this feature via Twitter and had my doubts, but when I searched for associations in my own field – both using “instructional technology” as the keyword and with the tool’s “by industry” filter – I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Certification Finder: In some fields certification can make you a more competitive applicant, or even be required by employers – even if you already have an academic degree. Find out what types of additional job training may be valuable to employers in your industry of interest.
- MySkills MyFuture: If you are contemplating a career change or have been recently laid off, this tool is designed to “build a bridge to your new career.” Enter a previous job title and the system generates a list of careers that require skills and knowledge that you’ve developed in the past. The results include job titles and descriptions, salary and education information, as well as links to current job listings.
One of the benefits of having so many connected resources available at CareerOneStop.org, is personalizing the information based on your combination of qualifications, preferences, and interests to get a more custom experience. Experiment with some of the following:
- Employability Checkup: Select your State, education/training level achieved, and desired salary or hourly wage, then follow the prompts to create an “employability profile” that includes trends and projections for the kind of work you are interested in pursing, in your local area.
- Guided Self-Assessments: Through a series of exercises you are encouraged to identify your past accomplishments; take online assessments to further define your abilities, interests, and values; understand time management; and create career goals.
- Competency Model Clearinghouse: Many fields have established lists of skills and abilities that are required to do the work. Find out if your industry is included in this database and learn more about what employers are expecting in terms of workplace, academic, and personal effectiveness competencies (e.g., business operations, problem solving, creative thinking, initiative). Use these lists to review your resume, prepare for an interview, and guide your decisions about professional development activities.
- Employer Locator: Not sure where to find hiring companies in your area or in a location where you plan to relocate? CareerOneStop.org’s database isn’t a complete listing, but includes employers that have added their information to the database, and you can search by industry, occupation, and location (by zip code).
- Financial Aid Advisor: Use this interactive tool to prepare all of the information you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and find out what additional types of funding you might qualify for before you apply.
- Scholarship Search: Federal financial aid and student loans aren’t the only options out there if you are thinking about higher education. This database includes more than 7,000 funding opportunities, which you can search by type (e.g., scholarship, internship, grant), level of study (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, vocational), location, and special affiliation.
Find Career Support Offline
Interested in meeting with someone in your local area? CareerOneStop.org provides a searchable list of over 1500 American Job Centers nationwide, where you can access job search and training support in your community.
A job club directory is also available to help you connect with other job seekers and career guidance. (Hint: try searching for job clubs by “State”.) Contact information is posted for additional workforce centers, libraries, private organizations, and community groups that provide services related to jobs and careers.
These are just a few of the many support options available through CareerOneStop.org. Start by identifying just a few activities that help you with your current career decisions and add them to your schedule. You’ll find that this site offers a variety of materials that you can revisit as a student, job seeker, and working professional in the future. Follow @Career1Stop on Twitter for updates on the latest tools and career development tips.
While CareerOneStop.org does provide a wealth of information, don’t rely on it for all of your career development and job search questions. Work with your school’s career center to further customize and refine your approach.
What are your favorite online resources for career exploration? Share your recommendations with us here.
Source: Inside Online Learning Blog