Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

3 Creative Approaches to Gathering Career Option Information

With such poor or varying quality career information found online, it’s important to adopt a creative approach online. Here are 3 approaches to getting more useful, reliable & locally relevant information about the career options that interest you.

Listening to a public radio show this morning, I heard about the future of nursing. The pros and cons of associate degrees vs. bachelor’s & higher degrees in nursing was one topic. They had great information that I would definitely pass on to someone considering a nursing career.

How can you find information like this? Many might suggest Google “nursing” or “nursing career” but the career information on the web can be so poor, biased or locally irrelevant that it’s often best to try a different approach.

That’s true, especially in highly regulated careers that put you into close contact with other people & children like nursing, social work, fire fighting, teaching, etc. State and provincial governments are likely to have different requirements so where you intend to work is a big factor in your research.

Start first with our basic tips in “Learn About Occupations” and “Learn About the Jobs That Interest Me.

Next, try these creative approaches (I used nursing as an example): 

1. Find Hot Topics
Find out the “hot topics” in a career field. Are you interested in learning about some of them - which ones and why? Ask yourself, what do my topic interests tell me about what part of this field might fit me best?
(Nursing examples) Healthcare reform, long term care, child nutrition, infection reduction in big hospitals, your state or province’s current issues with changes in government funding.

Find hot topics through informational interviews, subscribing to newsfeeds, social media, and Step #2 below.

2. Make Contact with Policy Making Organizations & Non-Profits
Look up the local and national policy makers & nonprofits related to a career field that interests you. Join up with them on social media and learn their language.  What are they talking about? What problems need to be solved?  Want to be part of the answer?

To find national organizations related to a career field (it's quicker than using a search engine), find the career's listing in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and click on "Sources of additional information". For local groups, do an Internet search using your state/city and the career field.  Like "Washington state" nursing.

3. Go Off the Reservation

Are there career options within a field that complement your other strongest Holland personality types you haven’t considered or know little about?

Don’t Limit Your Career Exploration to the “Nurse” Job Title
Average grades in biology, intimidated by nursing curriculum, don’t like needles, but still interested in nursing & health care? You can still work with nurses or in the health care industry (and with other Investigative personality types) without taking heavier science courses - if you truly don’t think you’re cut out for it. 

What about:
  • getting involved in financial aspects of health care (If you’re also strong in Enterprising or Conventional)?
  • lobbying local, state, or federal government on behalf of nurses? 
  • Working for a union that represents nurses?
  • Starting a business that helps improve nurses' and patients' lives?
These are all jobs that can pay well, where you work with the nursing community, but do not have to have strong science schooling.

Just to show how one thing leads to another...
Just using this Nursing radio show as an example, I looked up one of the presenters listed on the radio show website, who works for the Washington Center for Nursing.  They have a whole section describing Nursing Education in Washington. This section leads to other valuable information:
“You have various options to develop your career as a nurse. Which path you choose will depend on a combination of factors, including your location (or ability to relocate), which career you are planning (link to Nursing Practice - Roles in Nursing), your financial means, acceptance into a nursing program, and many others.”
That same webpage they even have a free PDF of “questions to ask when investigating nursing schools”.

One Last Career Information Recommendation: look for unbiased, non-commercial sources for career information. Know your source.  For example, be a skeptic when a school gives you information about a career (salary, job requirements, job outlook) while marketing itself as a direct route for a popular career area (nursing, construction, web designer...) Make sure you double check claims of strong need for certain jobs in your area.  Nonprofits have their biases too.

1 comment:

Adam said...

A great article, with a lot of useful information, thanks