Site Review: CareerStorm

As the name implies, this site offers information on how to "navigate the stormy seas" of trying to find a career path in today's world.

Many articles, both on the Next Wave and elsewhere, have preached that the first step in finding the perfect job is figuring out your own aptitudes and goals--figuring out what you want. Although this site is quite simple and doesn't have a lot of content, it provides five very useful and elegant interactive exercises you can do to figure out what you're all about. Once you've done these (somewhat mentally exhausting) exercises and tabulate the results, you should have a better idea of what your ideal job really is.

The thing is, until you actually do the exercises, you might think "This is one step of the job search I can skip: I know what I want." Do the exercises. The results may surprise you. Although everything is coming from you and not really being influenced by the questions asked on the simple tests, the answers you give may surprise you, and (as they did in my case) they may make you start thinking about what's really best for you, jobwise.

CareerStorm offers five self-analysis tests. The first is a skills assessment exercise. Here, you try to write down and visualize what your skills are. According to the authors of the site: "A thorough analysis of your strongest and most enjoyable skills will help you take charge of your career. When you know what you want to do, you can select meaningful responsibilities in your present or future job. Using your core skills you will enjoy your work more and achieve better results." By forcing you to think about and categorize many different skills as either "interesting," "not interesting," or skills that you show some aptitude in, the test makes you think about both what you'd be good at doing and what you'd enjoy. The test is interactive and doesn't take long to write.

The second test is an "interesting fields" test. This test requires you to take a good half-hour to seriously consider any fields you might find interesting. The series of eight steps in the exercise takes you through what areas of knowledge you found interesting at work, at home, and at play. Compiling the most common, the program gives you something to think about--what subject matter would be best suited to you.

The other useful tests on this site include a goal-setting exercise, where you are forced to actually write down what your goals are and where you want to be, a style exercise, where you look at people you admire and try to figure out what parts of their work style appeal to you, and a values exercise, where you take a long, hard look at what the values are that drive you to success.

Doing these tests probably won't help you get a job. But if you're at a transition point; unhappy with what you're doing right now, and not quite sure of what to do next, these tests will be a useful way of visualizing and putting down on paper those subjective attributes about a career that you would find satisfying. Once you've got them printed out, you can use them to figure out what jobs or careers to eliminate from your search.

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