The Process for Achieving New and Improved Resources for Career Development Practitioners
By Janet Wall and Amanda Sargent
As part of its service to members and others, NCDA has typically provided on its website a listing of career development Internet resources for counselors, coaches, and advisors. Initially, the resources included were sourced from what is now an out-of-print book titled "The Internet: A Tool for Career Planning". However, with the proliferation of new sites, updated career-related information, and changing web addresses, it became clear that a major overhaul was needed. In the fall of 2016, we, Amanda Sargent and Janet Wall, took on the task. The result is a completely new list of links that can be used when serving clients. The new webpage can be found at www.ncda.org on the right side of the top navigation bar, under Resources: Internet Sites for Career Planning.
Process for Updating the Resource Webpage
First, we developed categories that would form the framework of the new site. The goal of establishing a new framework was to make the NCDA web resource page easier to navigate by ensuring resources were classified into relevant categories in a streamlined fashion. The framework consisted of many same or similar categories from the previous version of the NCDA website with some additions (e.g. videos, internships, and certain special populations). The information was then organized into umbrella sections and subsections for easier navigation. The umbrella sections include
- General Occupational Information
- Industry and Occupation-Specific Information
- Education Topics
- Employment Trends
- Job Search
- Special Populations
Contained within any umbrella section may be appropriate subsections, for example, the “Education Topics” section contains subsections of “Post-Secondary Education Information and Training Options, Free Training Opportunities, Financial Aid Resources, and International Education”. Organizing the information this way helps people access resources in a faster, more efficient manner. A new search function is also available, for use when specific categories are not known.
Once the framework solidified, we identified experts in each of the categories and asked them to participate by researching, curating, and describing resources in their area. By posting on NCDA’s LinkedIn Group, we solicited additional volunteers to handle categories for which no expert was initially identified. In addition to the authors, the volunteers who so kindly offered their time and effort to this project include:
Next, we established criteria by which Internet sites would be judged and selected for inclusion. Some criteria were created after reviewing the Consumer Guide for Evaluation Career Information and Services developed by the Association of Computer-based Systems for Career Information (ACSCI) now the Alliance of Career Resource Professionals. To be included as one of the resources, the site must be:
- Related to career development and the mission of NCDA
- Free to anyone with Internet access
- Comprised of accurate, factual, unbiased and current information
- Relevant to our students and clients
- Easy to navigate and find the resources
- Professionally prepared and executed with working links, correct grammar, free of typos
- Comprised of multiple resources, not just a single document
- Judged by professionals to contain useful resources.
Keeping these criteria in mind, the volunteers identified resources for inclusion on the new site. For each resource selected for inclusion, the volunteers submitted site information in a pre-determined format: title of the site, the website address, and a 2-3 sentence, non-biased, description of the contents. We asked that the description be sufficiently clear to help others determine if the site is worthy of a visit.
Updates and Limitations
One additional issue with the former resource site was the lack of a methodical update process. To remedy this, we developed an electronic form now available on the NCDA “Internet Sites for Career Planning” landing page through which anyone can suggest a site for future inclusion. The submitted sites must follow the same criteria as listed above. The goal is for the suggestions to be reviewed approximately every six months with new sites included where and when appropriate.
After a seven-month process of searching the internet, examining sites, writing descriptions, reviewing content, and editing, the site was launched in a presentation at the NCDA 2017 conference in Orlando, where it was welcomed with much praise. The results can be found on the NCDA website, under Resources: Internet Sites for Career Planning.
We faced several limitations with developing this new webpage. Obviously, not every potential site could be identified and reviewed. Also, descriptions had to be concise, which may not allow for full explanation of the worthiness of the site. One noted change from the original site framework related to the category of Career Development Associations. This category was eventually determined not be directly useful to students and clients and was deleted from the final NCDA resource site, but is available here: https://careerdevelopmentmusings.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/career-development-associations/ Finally, the webpage is still a work-in-progess, in terms of achieving the most effective and efficient layout and links. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions as it continues to develop.
Stronger Career Delivery Service Resulted from Collaboration
This project required a great deal of time, effort, and collaboration among the authors, volunteers, and NCDA. We are grateful to all involved in this endeavor and hope it will contribute to stronger career service delivery. We encourage you to visit the Resources webpage often with your students and clients as well as link to the page to share its usefulness with others.
Dr. Janet Wall, an NCDA Fellow, is Founder of CEUonestop.com, a National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)-approved continuing education provider. She offers online self-paced courses, and live and recorded webinars from experts in all aspects of career development. The clock hours count for various recertifications such as the GCDF, LPC, NCC, CWDP, BCC, DCC, CRCC and EVGP. Janet is an independent consultant specializing in assessment, technology, and career development. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/careerfacilitator/
Amanda C. Sargent is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte studying Organizational Science. Previous work in career development includes career counseling, administrative, and teaching roles at the Florida State University Career Center, Northern Virginia Community College, Marymount University, and George Mason University. Amanda holds an MA in Counseling from Marymount University in Arlington, Va as well as NCC, DCC, GCDF, and JCDC credentials. She may be reached via email at email@example.com.