The following example is intended for students who are in the process of exploring careers, but have little job experience. As such, it focuses on how students can use Pennsylvania CareerZone to learn about career paths and develop a plan to achieve their goals.
Before beginning your career exploration, it is recommended that you create an account with Pennsylvania CareerZone. While this step is not required, without an account some of the tools listed below, like the Journal, will not be available. Registering for an account will enable you to pick up where you left off each time you return to Pennsylvania CareerZone.
To register, use the Register button on the main page to bring up the registration form. You may also select the Sign In link in the top right hand corner of any page, and then select the Create Account tab to get to the form. Once there, fill in the requested information and click Create. When your account has been created, you will see your name replace the sign in link in the top right corner of the page.
Pennsylvania CareerZone features several assessments that can help you determine occupations that may lead to job satisfaction. The Interest Profiler allows students with little work experience to answer questions based on what they like to do, rather than past job experience. As an exploratory tool, it offers a simple way to narrow down the list of occupations.
To take the Interest Profiler, click the Explore menu, then select Interest Profiler under the Assessments heading. Follow the instructions on screen to complete the assessment. When you finish, you will be presented with a listing of occupations that you can use to begin your exploration.
If you completed the Interest Profiler in the previous step, you will already have a listing of occupations that may be suited for you. If you have not, you can find a list of occupations that might be suited to you by visiting the following activities:
- Quick Assessment - The Quick Assessment will provide you with a list of occupations that match your self-reported interest code. This is the same code that you might receive after completing the Interest Profiler but does not require a full assessment.
- Job Family - Job families are lists of occupations grouped by the industry type they are in. You can look at the job families and find a grouping that you might be interested in.
- Job Title - If you know the title of an occupation you would like to explore, you can enter it in the search box in the top of the screen.
As you look at the listings, you will see a filter at the top of the page. You can use this to refine your search to find occupations that meet your preferred salary or to find jobs that are STEM occupations. Use these options to help you drill down to find the best occupations for you.
As you find occupations that you might like, use the Bookmark feature to save them to your account, so you can come back and review them at a later point.
When you are looking at each occupation, be sure to utilize the Journal to take notes on what you do and do not like about it. Do any of the skills match up with ones you think you have? Is the salary in line with what you would like to make? Are there a lot of projected job openings? These things may seem trivial and easy to remember, but as you view 10, 15 or even 20 profiles those details become harder to recall. Taking notes is a great way to keep it all straight, and you will be able to jump directly to the occupation when you look at your journal entries.
Many other sections in the system allow for notes as well. Anytime you see the Journal entry at the top of the page, you can take notes and use them jump back to that page later.
Once you have found a few occupations that you would like to pursue, the next step is to figure out how you can obtain the skills and education necessary to perform them. Pennsylvania CareerZone can provide you with a list of colleges that offer training or degrees that will qualify you for a particular field. There are several ways you can explore colleges in the system, but since we have been looking at occupations, we will focus on the link from the profile page.
As you look at the occupations in your listings, you will notice that many have a section called instructional programs. These programs are roughly equivalent to college majors and represent courses of study that will prepare you to work in that field. Click on the program title to view more information about it, or click the institution icon to find colleges in your area. You will be able to refine your search to look in different areas and at different types of institutions.
As you find colleges that you might want to attend, use the Bookmark feature to save them to your account, so you can come back and review them at a later point.
After you have identified occupations and colleges, you can print out a summary of your exploration. Select Portfolio Summary Report from the Grow menu.
Use your report to talk with people about your potential plans. It is good to get your parents, teachers and/or counselors involved so they can give you feedback. The contact information on each college profile will allow you to contact the schools to follow up and find out about applying.