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How to classify and search careers resources?

September 4th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

More news from the excellent icould web site which “gives you the inside story of how careers work. The icould storytellers relate, in their own words, their real life career journeys. There are over a thousand easy to search,varied and unique career videos as well as hundreds of written articles. From telecoms engineers to police officers, from landscape gardeners to web designers, from engine drivers to zookeepers; they talk about what they do, what it’s like, how they came to be where are and their hopes for the future.”

the problem with any such site is how to classify information and even more so how to make it searchable. Yes tag clouds help. And of course you can search by keywords. But when we are talking about careers (and many other topics – for example Open Educational Resources) it is not so easy. On the one hand there is the need to make specific information easily accessible, on the other hand the aim to let people explore options they might not have thought of. And of course much depends on qualification requirements. My own very limited research found that most young people do not go to official careers resources but just enter search words into Google – with very variable results.Furthermore, they seemed to have a limited ability to judge the varci8ty or authority of search returns.

A press release from icould Director, David Arnold says:

In response to a major piece of user testing and feedback earlier in the year, conducted for us by the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby, we have completely revised our homepage, changed the structure of our content and made our functionality more explicit.  This will make it easier for our users to personalise icould content, search out what is important to them and find what they need to inspire the next step on their career journey.  As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions for further improvements and are grateful for your links, tweets, likes and recommendations.

I tested their new search wizard which asks users

  1. What types of job are you interested in?
  2. What subjects do you study, or enjoy most?
  3. What type of company would you like to work for?
  4. What kind of working lifestyle would suit you best?
  5. What qualifications do you have?

It came up with probably too many results. but they were genuinely career directions I might have been interested in. And I far prefer this broader exploratory approach to many of the very dubious psychometric tools on the market, which seem to provide all kinds of strange results based on algorithms which make a lot of assumptions around our lives and interests which might or might not be true.

 

 

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