When it comes to educational choices and career direction, young people today don’t know what they don’t know. It’s not their fault; many times, they just haven’t encountered the full range of possibilities available to them. As educators and workforce development professionals, we have the opportunity to open their eyes to the many diverse and rewarding pathways in today’s new economy.
Once young people do become aware of the possibilities in their fields of interest, we shouldn’t stop there. A career is so much more than its title. We should spur them to find out as much as they can about the positions that catch their eye, like:
What’s the salary?
What kind of hours will I work?
What kind of work-life blend will I have?
Is this a field where overtime is available (or mandatory)?
What are the day-to-day experiences like?
Will I be working closely with others or perform my tasks in a more solitary setting?
What kind of education/training do I need?
Where can I get that education?
Will I have to take out loans and if so, how much?
And many others
Whenever possible, students should be encouraged to discover these answers for themselves. To help with this, my team and I have put together a quick list of the top free career resource websites. This is not a comprehensive list, nor are we affiliated with these sites in any way. We’ve just found them to be helpful for our Career Tree® clients and wanted to share them with the broader community.
“Welcome to your tool for career exploration and job analysis! O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!”
“Get in-depth details about nearly 900 occupations. A career profile is a great place to start your career research. The detailed information can help you get a good idea of an occupation. That’s often enough to determine whether you want to learn more or realize it’s not for you.”
“Search, browse or query through over 900 different careers. Read career profiles, job descriptions, educational requirements, and career outlook information. Find out what kind of salary to expect, watch short videos, and even learn about the types of people that typically go into each career. If it’s not in here, it’s probably illegal.”
“Students, imagine you’ve just graduated from high school or college, and you’re about to embark on your life as an independent, adult consumer. Answer these simple questions about what you think your lifestyle will be.”
Confident career direction comes from knowledge and passion, working together to propel the young person forward to pursue their dreams. When we equip our students and trainees with not just information, but also the ability to uncover the answers themselves, we’ve changed their world. I hope you are able to share these tools and others like them with the young people in your sphere of influence — so they can know what they know and take action on that knowledge.
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.