ICDA’s Five Steps of Proactive Career Development – Step 2

ICDA’s Five Steps of Proactive Career Development – Step 2. Gather and maintain current, accurate and comprehensive information about your chosen field.

This is the third in my series of blog posts on the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA)   Five Steps of Proactive Career Development  as previously published on the My College Planning Team web site, with a few changes and additions.

Information !  INFORMATION !!   I N F O R M A T I O N !!!  Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you’ve gathered on a subject and at the same time still felt the need to gather more?  Have you come close to throwing your hands up in the air and screaming,   “STOP, NO MORE!” ? Does this, in any way, describe how you feel about all the information you might be feeling compelled to gather if you are in the middle of or considering a career transition? If so, please know that you are not alone.

Where the world is changing so quickly, it’s critical for each of us to keep current in our field of choice or run the risk of being left behind.  Not only is it also critical for you to develop the skills necessary to efficiently  gather and sort through information about your lifework choices.  Skills you will need and want to continuously apply throughout the rest of your work life. They are skills that will help you to stay on top of what’s going on in your field so that you can always be competent, competitive and satisfied for the opportunity to confidently contribute your best.

So, with all that information available ‘out there’, it’s important to be aware of what the BEST sources are for gathering the most current, accurate and comprehensive information needed. Here are just a few of the most popular sources of career information.

O * Net   is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, contains descriptions of over 900 occupations and is organized around SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) codes.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook  is published by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Where the occupational categories may be seen as being more broad than those in O*Net, there is greater depth to the career information provided.  In fact, on the Occupation Finder page of this site you can conduct a career search based on government data available in the filter categories of Entry Level Education, On-The-Job-Training, Projected Level of New Jobs, Projected Growth Rate and 2014 Median Pay.

The Riley Guide  describes itself as “The Web’s premier gateway for job search, career exploration and school information, since 1994” and is viewed by many career development professionals as an excellent source of career information.

Illinois workNet is the “online source for local and statewide resources and tools to help individuals, employers and workforce/education partners achieve their training and employment goals.”

The National Career Development Association (NCDA) has a wide variety of resources under their heading of Internet Sites for Career Planning .  This site includes, with permission from the authors, more than a dozen links from the book The Internet: A Tool for Career Planning (Third Edition, 2011). This list of links include, just to name a few; a Directory of Online Employment Information,  Occupational Trends, Apprenticeships and Other Alternative Training Opportunities,  Resources for Diverse Audiences, Resources and Services for Ex-Offenders, Resources and Services for Youth, Teen and Young Adults, Resources and Services the Older Client, Disabilities, Military.

And, my own state professional association, the Illinois Career Development Association(ICDA)website has an  ICDA Career Resources  page that includes links to resources under the headings of;  Job Search Websites – General, Job Search Sites – Industry Specific, Career Blogs, Occupations Research, Job Search Assistance, Networking Opportunities, Industry and Trends, Special Needs, Volunteering, Skills Development, Advocacy, Professional Organizations, and College or University Career Centers. Where we are always looking to make our resources page more comprehensive, please feel free to make suggestions about resources you would like to see us add to our list by reaching out to us through the Contact Us link on the ICDA website.

And, lastly, you might want to consider that potentially the most valuable source of information about the career(s) you want to research which is people who actually DO the work that you aspire to do. Conducting your own information interviews could be one of the most energizing and rewarding parts of your career search.  Please, DO consider giving this a try.

So, here’s hoping that this blog post has given you some new ideas for where you might gather some of that all-important quality INFORMATION that will help round out your career research and maximize the likelihood that your next move will be to a best fit career and lifework.