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5 Steps of Proactive Career Planning – Step 2

iStock_000032886760SmallThis is the third in my series of blog posts on the Five Steps of Proactive Career Development created by the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA)

Step 2. Gather and maintain current, accurate and comprehensive information about your chosen field

Information. INFORMATION! I N F O R M A T I O N !!! Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you’ve gathered on a subject and at the same time still feel the need to gather more? Have you come close to throwing your hands up in the air and screaming STOP! NO MORE! Does this, in any way, describe how you feel about all the information coming your way about your future college major and career choices? If so, please know that you are NOT alone. And, it’s not only young people in your situation who are suffering from information overload. Believe it or not, your parents may experience a similar feeling as they make the effort to keep current in their own chosen fields and careers. The world is changing so quickly that it’s critical for each of us to keep current in our field of choice or run the risk of being left behind. And, the skills you develop today for efficiently gathering and sorting through information about your college and major choices are skills you will need and want to continuously apply throughout the rest of your work life. They are skills that will help you to stay on top of what’s going on in your field so that you can always be competent, competitive and satisfied for the opportunity to confidently contribute your best.

Best Resources

So, with all that information available ‘out there’, it’s important to be aware of what the BEST sources are for gathering the most current, accurate and comprehensive information needed. Here are just a few of those best sources of career information.


is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, contains descriptions of over 900 occupations and is organized around SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) codes.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

is published by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Where the occupational categories may be seen as being more broad than those in O*Net, there is greater depth to the career information provided. In fact, on the Occupation Finder page of this site you can conduct a career search based on government data available in the filter categories of Entry Level Education, On-The-Job-Training, Projected Level of New Jobs, Projected Growth Rate and 2012 Median Pay.

The Riley Guide

describes itself as “The Web’s premier gateway for job search, career exploration and school information, since 1994” and is viewed by many career development professionals as an excellent source of career information.

Job Shadow

was created by a young man named Aaron Stahl who had the great idea to gather and share interviews of people about the work they do. I hope you find the interviews interesting and helpful. And, this last suggestion brings to mind what could be your most valuable source of information, which is people who actually DO the work that you aspire to do. Conducting your own information interviews could be one of the most energizing and rewarding parts of your career search. So, please consider giving this a try.

More Help

Well, this is just a start. Always remember, that where you, certainly, KNOW what you know, you do NOT know what you don’t yet know. So, once you figure out that you don’t know it all and, even more, realize that you don’t know what you don’t know and have accepted it, you might find it easier to ask for help. And when that day arrives, please do consider asking your MCPT Admissions Team members for that help. They can direct you to additional resources for your career search and help you in your decision making efforts.

Donna Sandberg, M.S., NCC, MCC, LCPC, is a career counselor and owner of Career Path, a private practice providing career counseling and consulting services in Naperville, Illinois since 1987. She brings a multifaceted approach to her clients in the career counseling process.

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