12/01/2003

How the NCDA Internet Sites for Career Planning Web Link Can Benefit You

By Gail V. Lange

First, here's a question to think about. Since the late 1960s, what is one of the most revolutionary technology introductions? This author would answer the Internet. This tool has changed so many things about our everyday lives -- the way we conduct business, the way we communicate with each other, and the way we entertain ourselves. The Internet also has changed the way we address career planning. Let's agree on the premise that a critical component of career planning is conducting research. In pre-Internet days, Career Service Providers would counsel candidates to trek to the library to conduct research on a potential occupation, industry and its trends, employer, or geographical area. The search was limited by the sophistication of that particular library - sometimes the information was available and other times it was not. The search also was restricted by the library's hours of business --most local libraries are not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Overall, there are several benefits in using the Internet to assist with career planning.

  • Saves time. The candidate conducts research from his or her home at any time without travel using a personal computer with Internet access.
  • Makes available all web-based published information to the researcher.
  • Provides a wider, cross-cultural view on topics, i.e., web-based information published by an author in Bangladesh is reviewed by a resident of Boise, Idaho.
  • Is relatively easy to use. Most websites have a common structure that makes navigation easy.


There often is a key drawback in using the Internet to assist with career planning - information overload. For perspective, if a candidate searched www.yahoo.com on the topic of "career planning", the result would generate over 450,000 hits. Likely no candidate has the time to review all of these write-ups or to identify the best source. So, what's the recommendation? Use www.ncda.org as the source for focused and reliable career planning research.

As an analogy, let's pretend that you've just arrived in town, and you're staying at a nice hotel with concierge service. You want to make the most of your trip by seeing the most interesting tourist spots and dining at the best eateries. Therefore, you choose to use the concierge service because it provides you with focused information.

The concierge service is analogous to the www.ncda.org website. The NCDA website's goal is to achieve customer satisfaction - to enable users to have immediate access to the most helpful Internet information focused on career planning. A wide range of topics is available via the Resources web link for all levels of candidates from the college student to the mid-life career changer. Each one of these topic areas incorporates several of the best websites available. The user can maximize time by linking to this single NCDA website as opposed to viewing 450,000+ different articles from the general Internet. Think of this as "one stop shopping" to best meet your career planning needs. The topics included within the NCDA Internet Sites for Career Planning web link are:
-Self-Assessment
-Career Development Process
-Occupational Information
-Employment Trends
-Salary Information
-Trade and Professional Associations
-Military Information
-Educational Information
-Distance Education
-Seminars, Short Courses, and Certification Opportunities
-Financial Aid Information
-Apprenticeships and Other Alternative Training Opportunities
-Job Search Instruction and Advice
-Job Banks
-Industry and Occupation Specific Information
-Researching Employers
-Directory of Online Employment Information
-Online Counseling


The NCDA Internet Sites for Career Planning is growing in popularity. Some of the most popular and/or interesting links include:

 

      -University of Missouri Career Center Interests Game (find under Self Assessment topic). This game, based on Holland's work, is designed to match interests and skills with occupations. The Career Center at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) developed a separate web page for each of the six Holland groups (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional), each of which gives full information about this group and includes a list of possible occupations to pursue. This is a simple way to start career discussions and thought processes.

 

      -America's Career InfoNet (find under Occupational Information topic). This link is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. It provides an unbelievable range of information on occupations, trends, skills, employer locator, and more.

 

      -Job Star Salary Surveys (find under Salary Information topic). Job Star has designed what many consider to be the finest collection of online salary surveys and research.

 

      -Career Journal from the Wall Street Journal (find under Job Search Instruction and Advice topic). This website is especially useful for the more experienced career candidates. Well-written articles range in topic from employment trends, networking, the 50+ job search, best MBA programs, and more.

 

    -JobHuntersBible.com from Richard Bolles (find under Job Search Instruction and Advice topic). This website is sponsored by Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? This link provides many self-assessment exercises, job search hints, and research hints from the book.



This above list of focused career planning links is excerpted from the book The Internet: A Tool for Career Planning (Second Edition, 2002) by JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey, Margaret Riley Dikel, and James P. Sampson Jr. These authors granted permission to the NCDA organization for use of this material. On a periodic basis, Margaret Riley Dikel conducts website reviews for accuracy and usability, submitting feedback to the NCDA Web Editor. Separately, additional websites have been added where noted, based on a links policy created by the NCDA Website committee. As with the use of any Internet site, the Legal Notice and Disclaimer should be read first.



Gail Lange
has over 20 years of diverse business management experience gained in a Cincinnati-based Fortune 50 company, a liberal arts college, and international outplacement firms. She is skilled in coaching and training groups and individuals in all aspects of the outplacement process from skills assessment, resume development, interviewing, networking, negotiation, and more. Gail has facilitated numerous training workshops and presentations to a wide array of groups with contrasting career paths such as college students, machinists, social workers, market research analysts, information technology programmers, and finance executives. In addition, she has consulted with hundreds of individual candidates, providing tailored coaching and job search assistance.

Gail is a Fellow Practitioner of the International Board for Career Management Certification (IBCMC). She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Northern Kentucky University.

Email: gvlange@aol.com


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