Career information is abundant on the internet – so how do you decide what is useful, what is relevant and what is a waste of time? Googling a topic can result in a number of highly valuable resources but it can also be overwhelming.
As a CDP it is my duty to be thoroughly fluent in the resources available; I need to know the strengths and limitations of websites, and I need to know how they are meant to be used, but my real strength will lie in my ability to access the most relevant websites quickly.
Here are some strategies to successfully maneuver through this vast maze of resources.
1. Know your Tools
Use all of the websites. Browse them and click on links. Become familiar with the look and feel of each site. Find strengths and weaknesses. Try to look for anything that might not be obvious at first glance – I have often found a link briefly mentioned in the right sidebar that turns out to be a rich resource later down the road.
Once you have grasped a basic understanding of each site try to think how it is different from other sites and how is it similar? Is it also targeting students but with a new spin on the information? Try to think of categories that mean something to you personally – ex. instead of ‘Student’ use ‘Older Students’, ‘Recent BA Grads’, etc.
Don’t be afraid to use more than one category for a page. See if there is another way the information can be used – ex. “Interview Skills for Students” can also be a great resource for others who need basic interview skills.
Bookmarking sites can be your best friend or your enemy if you don’t do it well.
Plan your folders / sub folders ahead of time. Avoid saving all of your bookmarks to one large folder named “Career Planning”. Try to think of folders and sub folders ahead of time ex. Folder: Student Career Planning; Sub Folders: School Information, Interview Skills for Students, Resumes for Students. You might think of additional folders later on but it’s easy to add if you already have a good structure
Take advantage of the ability to rename links – use a key term that means something to you – ex. “Excellent Trades Job Descriptions” is much more effective than “Stats Can JD’s”. It might be months before you need a link again and abbreviated names or names of companies will probably be meaningless by then.
Bookmark specific internal pages rather than just home pages. This will help you quickly maneuver to your favourite pages with one click rather than trying to find internal pages on a website.
Now go back and have fun. Search websites and bookmark them to their designated folders. You will find yourself looking at pages in a new way – how can I use this? When will I use this? Who will this information help? This process will help to create a rich personal resource library that you will be able to use quickly and efficiently.
– Cecylia Anderson