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CAREERinsite: A Guide for Career Counsellors and Educators

CAREERinsite is a comprehensive career planning resource. It is intended to help students and clients of almost all ages and backgrounds.

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Students and clients can explore CAREERinsite without creating an alis account. However, accounts allow them to keep their career plans private, access them across different devices, and save their information more reliably. Alis will keep users’ saved work as long as their accounts stay active. Users can keep their accounts active by logging in at least once a year. They will receive an automated email from alis if their account has gone dormant and is set to expire. At any time, users may come back to the site to pick up where they left off.

CAREERinsite can be used as a self-contained resource, but its power will be multiplied if you help them work through it. The career planning steps may look simple, but career planning can involve hard work, careful analysis, and thoughtful decision-making.

Testing of CAREERinsite shows that high school students, post-secondary students, adult job seekers, and adult career explorers can all use the site independently. However, there are certain areas in which testing shows that your expertise can be very helpful. These areas are highlighted below on a section-by-section basis.

Where Do I Start?

Not everybody needs to start with the Know Yourself section. Some individuals are already very self-aware. Let your students or clients know they can start wherever they want, but that this brief assessment may suggest a useful entry point.

Know Yourself

Interests Exercise

The Interests Exercise not only helps with self-awareness but also begins pointing users to occupations that may be worth exploring. It makes these links by connecting the users’ preferred interests to the occupational profiles within OCCinfo. Some users will have very few occupations returned; others will have a great many in their lists. Some of these occupations will be exactly what the users expected but others will seem like mismatches. You can play an enormously helpful role in explaining why these results can happen.

For example, you can let the high school student who was expecting “police officer” in the list but not expecting “social worker” know how their concern for helping people (“S” for social score) created the connection to “social worker.” You can also point out that their “M” for methodical score was low, and that this is needed to have “police officer” listed.

You can then encourage them to change some of their answers in their Interests Exercise to see the different occupations that may emerge. Most importantly, you can reinforce that the system is not choosing occupations users should enter. The system is reflecting occupations that may be worth exploring further. Also, encourage students and clients to complete the Abilities Exercise (described next) and then compare the results of both exercises.

Abilities Exercise

The Abilities Exercise helps students and clients sort their abilities in several broad categories such as “finger dexterity,” “general learning ability” and “numerical ability.” Once students or clients have confirmed their top 3 abilities, lists of occupations related to those abilities are presented.

This may be quite a different list than the one presented after the Interests Exercise. The Interests Exercise is based on what users enjoy doing whereas the Abilities Exercise focuses on what they are good at doing. When your students or clients do both the interests and abilities exercises, they can choose to compare results and see which occupations match both their interests and abilities.

You can help students or clients by:

  • Encouraging them to do both the Interests and Abilities exercises
  • Inviting them to compare the results of both
  • Talking with them about the differences between what they enjoy, what they are good at and where these 2 things overlap
  • Pointing out that the Abilities Exercise is based on the users’ self-reports—it measures what users think they are good at. It is not an actual test of what they are good at.

Just as you did with the Interests Exercise, make users aware that the Abilities Exercise is providing lists of occupations based on their answers. The system is not choosing occupations users should enter. The system is reflecting occupations that may be worth exploring further. 

Work Values Quiz

This quiz is easy to use. Statements about work are ranked. Users then refine their lists. They do so by choosing the top 5 values. You can help them use this list in activities. Many people focus on what they can do (skills). Other focus on what they would enjoy doing (interests). Here the focus is on what is important to them (values).

This quiz helps identify core values. It’s the values that should be guiding their explorations and decisions. Reminding them that it’s not so important how enjoyable their work is. It’s not so important how successful they may be at their work. What is really important is that their work and values are lined up. Otherwise, users may find themselves feeling unfulfilled at work.

You can encourage them to look at their own values. Then they can look at the values held by companies they might like to work at. What if they value independence? They may be more comfortable in a small company than in a large one. What if they are “motivated by work that will improve the world”? They may look at companies differently than someone who says, “the idea of making money motivates me a great deal.”

Identify Your Experiences Exercise

This exercise makes users aware that experiences make up one’s:

  • Character
  • Values
  • Interests

Users identify only a few of the thousands of experiences they are proud of. Then CAREERinsite asks them, “Why are you proud of this experience?” The answer gets to the person’s core values and motives. Some people find this a difficult exercise. That’s because you have to create broad themes from specific examples.

Many of your students or clients will need to talk with you about this exercise. You can be particularly helpful by asking:

  • Of all the experiences you could have chosen, why this one?
  • What was so important about this experience?
  • What was your role in this experience?
  • What does this experience tell you about yourself?

Even small experiences tell us about ourselves. For example, “When I was in Grade 3, I made a joke in class and everybody laughed.” This may speak to a person’s need for:

  • Humour
  • Attention
  • Opportunities to challenge authority

Students will see the connection here with the Work Values Quiz.

Let users know that this exercise may help them complete the Skills Quiz and Traits Quiz. These quizzes provide checklists for assessing skills and traits. As with all the “Know Yourself” information, this can help users get a better sense of what they can do and what they are suited to do.

Preferred Working Conditions Quiz

This quiz is about the “nuts and bolts” of working. The other quizzes and exercises in “Know Yourself” are fairly global. This quiz is global too, but it also focuses on specific work with specific employers. One can prefer the role of “carpenter,” for example, based on values, interests, and skills. But the choice about where to work and the setting will be aided by this quiz.

Vision Exercise

Creating a vision of the future can be difficult for some individuals. The purpose of this exercise is to help users really dream. What kind of life would they like to live? What kind of work would they like to do? Let them know that a vision is not a goal. A vision is more like a North Star that they can use to set a direction for themselves. You can ask a very simple question. “Will this decision take you closer to your vision, or further away?” This simple question is at the core of all career development.

Multiple Intelligences Quiz

This quiz helps users determine the types of intelligence they have. The 8 types of intelligences discussed in CAREERinsite are:

  • Bodily and kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Logical and mathematical
  • Naturalistic
  • Verbal and linguistic
  • Visual and spatial
  • Musical

Once users have completed the quiz, they can rank their top 3. It’s important to help users recognize that this is not an actual test of their intelligences. It is a reflection of how they assess themselves. Encourage them to think through the connection between learning and different intelligences.

CAREERinsite provides information on learning strategies for each type of intelligence. Be sure to encourage students to check this out. You can talk with them about how to best learn and how to best plan for learning experiences. A person with high verbal and linguistic intelligence may be drawn more to traditional academic settings than someone with strong bodily/kinesthetic intelligence.

A cautionary note, however. The quiz measures users’ self-reports. It cannot perfectly predict how well your students will learn. It should give them food for thought regarding the settings in which they may learn well. They’ll have better understanding about settings in which they will enjoy learning. This information can inform the educational planning work you do with them. Simple reminders to review their intelligences when looking at post-secondary educational programs can be very helpful.

Explore Options

This section has users:

  • Dig up information
  • Talk to people
  • Immerse themselves in selected work contexts

Encourage your students to actually do the work they need to do. Exploring can be very hard work for some individuals. Many people need some cheerleading to get them through it.

Get Ready

Users go through 3 steps to compare a list of occupations:

  1. Users select 3 occupations that they discovered when exploring options.
  2. They choose factors they want to use so that they can compare the 3 occupations. The factors they choose from come directly from the results of their work in Know Yourself (factors include interests, values, and skills).
  3. They identify how each occupation satisfies the factors. For example, the Interest factor “Innovative” may be satisfied in “social worker” and “university professor” but not in “machinist.”

CAREERinsite returns a score for each occupation based on the weighting of the users’ factors. Once again, the system is not choosing occupations for individuals. It is helping users think through the fit between occupations and personal characteristics.

Help your students think through the factors. They may need help noting the connections between jobs and factors. Remind them that the site is not making choices or recommendations. It is helping them sift through a lot of information so they can better narrow down their options.

Take Action

This section helps users develop action plans. It uses information about their preferred  options. You can help by:

  • Helping them think through key and supporting tasks they will need to do
  • Encouraging them to set timelines for their plans
  • Encouraging them to work through their plans

My Career Plan

CAREERinsite saves the information your students and clients enter. The resulting Career Plan, which can be printed off as a hard copy or PDF, includes:

  • Quiz and exercise results
  • Exploration outcomes
  • Networking contacts
  • Favourite occupations
  • Summaries of notes

Career Plans can be added to portfolios. Students can use them when:

If saved in an alis account, My Career Plan will remain available to users as long as their accounts stay active. Users can keep their accounts active by logging in at least once a year. They will receive an automated email from alis if their account has gone dormant and is set to expire. Users can revisit and revise their information as often as they wish as they move along their unique career paths. Users can also request removal from the system at any time.

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