Searching for Jobs is Easy, Finding Your Career Path Can be Hard

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One key piece of advice I give first-time job seekers is to take time to figure out what you want to do before you jump in and start looking for an internship or job. We live in a great time when jobs are plentiful. Employers in the U.S. are struggling to fill almost 6 million jobs as of February 2018. As a job seeker, you have dozens of great resources such as Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor at your disposal. These sites are great if you know what you’re looking for. The issue with most college students, and it’s the same issue I had when I was in school, is that most students don’t know what they want to do.

Here are some resources I’ve written about in Getting Your First Job for Dummies, to help you figure out what to do:

Paddle
Paddle is a great tool that helps you figure out what you like and gives you insight into what sectors may be of interest to you. The assessment and basic report are free. Paddle takes you through a series of A versus B type questions — about 45 of them — so that it can learn about you.

The science behind Paddle is based on research conducted at Harvard Kennedy School on the topic of nonlinear careers. Although this sounds fancy, the site itself takes a light-hearted approach to helping you find your path.

To use Paddle, go to www.paddlehr.com/careers and click Get Started.

Answering the questions will take you 10 to 15 minutes.In my case, I was classified as a “Captain Prosperity,” which means I’m motivated by building wealth but also by driving change and doing good. This meshes well with what I’ve been doing with my career. I wanted to start my own business, but also do it in a way that has a positive impact on others.

Mercer Match

Mercer Match, powered by Pymetrics, is another great tool that lets you learn more about yourself through games. You can play these games for free on your laptop or on your smartphone. Underlying these games is decades-long neuroscience research that helps you identify top skills and traits as you complete the various games.

To use Mercer Match, just go to www.mercermatch.com, register for an account, and log in and start playing games. In one example, you get to inflate balloons. With each pumping of the balloon, you get some money. But if the balloon pops, you lose the money you’ve accumulated. One of the attributes tested here is your propensity for risk.

After you’ve played for some time, you’ll get a report that shows you your top traits. You’ll get a list of top career matches. Take the top career matches recommended by Mercer Match and plug them in the search box of your favorite job board to see what jobs and internships come up.

AfterCollege

AfterCollege’s Explore is a career discovery tool that uses big data to show you relevant jobs you may not have known about.

Go to AfterCollege and under “Explore Curated Jobs”,enter your college or university, major, and graduation date. You’ll be taken to Explore, which presents you with job or internship recommendations, depending on your graduation year, based on your educational background.

The first thing you’ll notice is a graph of the jobs being recommended to you grouped by job category. You can like or dislike entire categories and Explore will include more or less of those types of jobs. Initially you may agree with some of the recommendations but not with others. That’s because Explore gives you suggestions as best it can based on your background, which it uses to compare you with other similar students who’ve used Explore and have rated jobs. As you give more feedback, Explore will get more personalized to you and the recommendations will get better and better.

The above assessments and tools allow you to learn about possible careers. Use the results as a guide to help you in your discovery process, but don’t let them dissuade you from a possible career or job you may want to pursue. Good luck as you discover your career path.
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