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Sometimes, planning a career can all seem a bit much, especially without any guidance. And, whilst articles on choosing a career path may be really helpful, they don’t quite cover how to plan or how to start assessing what you want from a career. It’s one thing to choose an initial job, but what about deciding where to go from there? And just how can you know whether or not you’re suited to the area you think you want to work in, short of by starting to work there? Well, here we’re going to talk about some of the available career planning tools, and why you should be using them.
Useful career planning tools
To begin with, you’ll want to take a look at your university's careers service. They’ll have a bunch of tools available, and will be able to point you in the right direction to start. They’ll also be able to help you narrow down what you’re looking at so that you don’t end up taking hundreds of tests or signing up to dozens of websites, only to find little of use. But, while we’re talking about websites...
Useful career planning tools online
These days, many of the most useful career planning tools can be found online. This is useful, because it means you can go back and update your information whenever you change your mind about something, which could mean getting new results that are better suited for you.
Here we’ll take a look through some of the best, and just what they offer.
The National Careers Service has a whole bunch of tools available. It has job profiles, which give an overview of what to expect from certain roles. With information such as what to expect from a typical working day in that position, to the average salary, it should help you work out whether you’re really interested in that role. In addition, it talks about how to get into those roles too! There’s also a skills checker, which allows you to compare your current skill set to the required by your ideal job. This will help you figure out how suited you are, and also work out which skills you need to work on. And, once you’ve narrowed down your options, they have a planning tool. This will help you break your major goals down into lots of smaller steps, and you can even get an advisor to help. Great to help you get working on that new job and ensure you stay motivated.
Prospects Career Planner requires you to sign up. It’s specifically designed for graduates and those in higher education, meaning the jobs listed will certainly be relevant. This career planner won’t, however, choose a particular career for you. Instead, using sliding scales, it will help you identify your motivations, skills and which jobs are possible for you. It’s important when using a tool like this to be completely honest. The sliding scale method means that instead of either/or tick boxes you can allow for multiple important things, but still have preferences. For example, you can consider a good salary and a job that helps people as important, but prioritise the latter over the former. You’ll be given a selection of matches from around 400 possible jobs, and as well as titles, the tool will provide you with plenty of information on your chosen careers.
Target Jobs Career Report also requires you to register. It is very similar to Prospects, and has a lot of different tools, including a career matching tool with around 370 possible jobs. It also focuses on you as a possible employee, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses and showing you what needs work and what strengths to play up. One of its most useful features is the fact that it has tests and then gives feedback on your skills, meaning you can identify which areas you’re strongest in and which need work. These tests look at your logical, verbal and numerical skills, and are the sort of things that you would be required to use in the workplace. Finally, it too has a planning tool, meaning once you’ve worked your way through figuring out what career path suits you best you can start working out how best to achieve your goal.
Of course, none of these tools should be used in isolation – they are used to their best effect when in conjunction with a careers advisor. Having an advisor can allow you to talk through your results, and they can point you in the best direction towards getting a job in your chosen field and led you along the right Career Path.