Career software for academic advisors?
May 31, 2011 7:50 AM   Subscribe

What career interest inventory testing procedures and career related computer software programs would a college academic advisor use?

As part of my ongoing job hunt, I would like to apply for an opening as an academic advisor at a nearby community college. I have a lot of the education and experience that they want, but they would like someone who is already familiar with career interest testing and "career-related software programs." I would like to get up to speed on those as much as possible before I apply (the closing date is still a couple of weeks away).
posted by cute little Billy Henderson, age 4 to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sorry for the following grammar mistakes Billy, but I've got an 11:30am meeting, and won't be able to edit.

So, the brain dump: Most career related software breaks down into about 5 different types:

1. Career interest/assessment....... (Almost all break down into some variation of a Myers-Briggs Temperment Inventory or the Strong Inventory).

The MBTI specifically looks at preferences, like "I like seeing tangible, immediate results from my efforts" or "I think it's important feel as if my work is helping others". and from that, a person can discuss with a counselor what types of careers they should explore potential career paths, usually though informational interviews with people in different potential fields. It doesn't so much say, 'you should be a teacher', as here are a cluster of skills and interests that interest you - now it's time to explore potential career paths where these skills and interests are recognized and rewarded.

The Strong takes a different approach - it surveys say, 1000 career counselors about what they do and like: "I like helping people in transition". People can then take the test and it presents a list that says "You answered similarly about 85% of the time as people who are career counselors, 76% of the time as psychologists, 20% of the time as investment bankers.

Students can take these as online tests
(though folks in the field never call it a test, but an "assessment tool", because it isn't something you can fail, but something that helps you consider and conceptualize your values, skills, interests and preferences). The results are then looked at and discussed with a counselor. We use the MBTI, and use the company CPP.

2. Career center services software modules..... to track student usage of your programs, resources, services. (one I know a lot of people use is SYmplicity's career module - you might want to google it to see a demo, which I think might be online). Basically using a student ID card, which can be swiped, your can track student appointments, programs attendance, resource library book check out, as well as interview participation for employer recruiting efforts. It's nice because on one screen, you can keep notes, which other counselors can see. That's the career center's side. The other side is the student's side. Students can log in and register for upcoming events, counseling appointments, career fairs, as well as see if they were offered an interview from a recruiter, etc. Usually these larger ones include an internship/workstudy/job board. Anyway, the link below in google will at least pop up some of what is out there:

3. Career/Professional Skills Development....usually this is something like a piece of software that helps students develop a particular skill. For example, I think there is an software product that lets students practice interviewing, because you can pick the type of interview questions. Then you turn on the video, the software lobs questions as you and videos you, and then you can see how you respond. I can't remember the name of the product, however. Another variation of this is making online tutorial videos that teach students a skill, because they can't get an appointment to see you. (And often they won't - right before a career fair, or deadline, everyone wants to see a counselor, but there is no time. Your website, and resources on it, like a sample CV or ten minute video on how to manage a career fair is your way of still responding to students). Many times the video is then posted on youtube.

4. Facebook..... Check out UGA's career center facebook page........and you'll get an idea of why career centers love using facebook to connect with students. This is particularly helpful when you have a campus situation perhaps like your community college, where people are off campus and disconnected. Or first generation college students, who aren't really sure about all a career center has to offer. Or just super busy, so they aren't look at the campus calendar. Facebook's postings push out information to them "Hey, need to write your resume? Then come to our great session tomorrow!". And people come.

5. The center's website......which hopefully is filled with information about how to write a resume, cover letter, interview well, etc. The software part is that people usually use some sort of software to maintain their webpages. Like Dreamweaver, or Drupal. Really, if you can use word, you can learn these - just ask them if you are responsible for maintaining your website pages, and how they do it.

Also check out career center websites from larger organizations: NYU, UC Berkeley, U Texas, U Florida, etc., and see what they offer students - as if you were a student. You'll get stopped once you need to log on, but it will say something like "students! Join Excellent U's Career Center TrojanLink and you'll learn about jobs, etc!", so you can see what is out there. Look at what video tutorials they have, and what info their website includes. Also look at other community colleges to see what they do and don't offer. Then look at the website of the place you are interviewing. It will give you a sense of what is out there, and what might be possible.

Good luck in your interview! Remember that the software is something that you can learn. But the dedication to helping students self assess, explore their career goals, and develop the skills they need to succeed in a job search if probably what they are going for. Like facebook, it's not the career center software that's the point. There is always new software. It's what it does and how it helps you solve the issues you face as a career center. So, to summarize:

Good career center software should:

1. Help your keep track of how students connect with you, because you need the data to discover trends - hey counseling appointments are up this year!

2. Keep track of the resources in your center - hey - which career center books are the most popular?

3. Help you connect with students, inform them of what you do - "hey, come to our great career fair next tuesday!

4. Help them develop a skill: Hey, our website has sample resumes and interview questions! Or, hey, this video we created using camtastia/ivideo will teach you how to interview effectively.

Son of a biscuit, i'm late! Good luck Billy.....
posted by anitanita at 11:35 AM on May 31, 2011

Argh! Saw that you are applying for an academic advisor position. Please note that all of the information still holds true. As an academic advisor, you'll be connecting with their career center, if they have one, and responsible for the duties, if they don't.
posted by anitanita at 11:36 AM on May 31, 2011

And it's the myer's briggs type inventory (MBTI), not the myers briggs temperament inventory.
posted by anitanita at 11:42 AM on May 31, 2011

Best answer: There are are two more...

1. Self Directed Search
2. O*Net
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 12:29 PM on May 31, 2011

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