Article - Top 10 Tools for Career Planning:

From the moment a child can speak they are presented with the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The answers range from the noble (fireman) to the overrated (another performer) and somewhere in-between lay the truth. While kids are encouraged to hold onto those dreams for as long as possible, adults eventually have to choose a lane in order to support themselves; fortunately there is a myriad of online tools that can help make choosing a career path a bit easier.

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Everyone has a skill or talent that can be used to make money. Craftspeople can find healthy careers in industries such as carpentry and bricklaying, technically minded folks can become electricians or computer science experts and there are countless other options available. However, each and every job is different and the skills and pay associated with a position will vary; that is why researching a potential career path before making steps may be a wise strategy to implement.

Top 10 Tools for Career Planning
  • 10. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Until crystal balls can predict the future with accuracy, individuals have the burden of figuring out their future careers on their own. Since math is based on facts and numbers do not lie, statistics are a crucial device to gauging employment opportunities for the future. The Handbook provides tons of info regarding the fastest growing occupations in America, employment changes by industry and general salary information. By weighing those options against professional skills and personal choices, individuals can find careers including options for those with only a high school diploma to their name.
  • 9. Careers.Org: Online education is big business and more individuals are relying on technology to earn college degrees, associates degrees and other diplomas using virtual institutions. Before committing to any program, researching accredited universities (as opposed to diploma mills) is a must. This tool can help folks in need find that information as well as other tidbits such as educational resources, career planning tools and so much more.
  • 8. While doing something that is loved is an excellent way to figure out a professional passion, it does not pay the bills. This particular website helps individuals gage their potential earnings for an assortment of careers (from entry level to senior positions), allows individuals to see if they are earning competitive compensation from their employers and even calculators that can help individuals figure out their independent cost of living. While having skills is important, knowing how valuable one's abilities are is priceless.
  • 7. MIT Career Planning Tools: While everyone has dreams, talent, effort, luck and timing are all critical to making them become a reality. Before spending years as a waiter/aspiring actress or auditioning for a reality show hoping to make it big, it is better to honestly assess one's skills to help improve the odds of future success. MIT has some review tools that will allow individuals to recognize their true calling, all for free!
  • 6. There was a time where working for one company and earning a gold watch upon retirement was the norm. That is no longer the case and many individuals now work as part-time employees and freelancers. This particular site is job site specifically catering to the needs of employers and employees looking for short time assignments. Marketing pros, programmers and creatives can use the service to find work; career-oriented looking to make a career change or looking to see if they have existing marketable skills can create a resume, post it on the site and see what kind of feedback (including paid work) they get. Those honest opinions can help provide some clarity regarding career planning.
  • 5. The United States Department of Labor set up a challenge to find the best tools for both job seekers and those looking for professional advancement. The results of that massive project has been organized and can be easily accessed in a one stop hub by students, the unemployed and others in need.
  • 4. A resume is the most valuable tool for career advancement as this document is the calling card for job seekers. After figuring out what career path to follow, a custom resume can highlight a candidates existing skills; this particular tool allows free use of resume templates, sample resumes, writing tips and more.
  • 3. Individuals completely overwhelmed about career options may want to start the process by completing a simply test; MAPP tests allow individuals to rank work on their personal preferences and will deliver custom results based on particular answers. The general results are free, in-depth reports are available for a free.
  • 2. Career oriented individuals know that social media is an important tool for career planning. This particular portal is the premiere website for professionals, but novices can also rely on the site to help them develop career goals. Not only is the site brimming with employment opportunities, company info and industry related news, it can help lost souls in need connect directly with business professionals they may admire. Students, employees and everyone in need are invited to post their resume and build a contact list. Those contacts can provide information, advice and even learning opportunities such as apprenticeships or internships. Individuals can then gain valuable work experience and test a career prior to fully making a commitment.
  • 1. Maintaining a level of daily motivation can be especially challenging to those trying to figure out their career or individuals working towards a college degree with a specific goal in mind. Purchasing a novelty diploma can provide those in need with a document clearly demonstration goals and achievements (like a fake high school diploma or masters degrees). These high-quality reproductions are stunning and can be hung on a wall to provide individuals with that little bit inspiration needed to succeed.

Please note, this list has not been constructed in any particular order as no two job seekers have the same exact needs. Instead, the staff used their personal preferences in regards to tools that they have used to improve their careers.

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