With The Scariest economic meltdown since the Great Depression still clearly visible in the rear-view mirror, many Americans are getting a good look at what happens when career plans, goals, and aspirations run headlong into a jobless recovery. But there’s hope.
Going Global is perhaps the most unique product reviewed here. It combines detailed guides to working in nearly 90 domestic and international settings with a custom database of state, metro, and national level records from the Labor Department relating to the hiring of skilled foreign workers, an international employer directory, and a new job search feature listing 16 million openings worldwide.
Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center excels in career advice and research, with sections on job and industry profiles, job-hunting and workplace skills, and career and industry resources, complemented with a career interest assessment tool. EBSCO Associates Programs Source Plus targets the research needs of vocationally oriented two-year colleges and provides comprehensive coverage of the most relevant associates program–level content.
ProQuest Career and Technical Education is the most conventional product we examine here; it is a full-text database of vocational information for practitioners and researchers, but the content mix—with magazines and trade publications, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, blog postings, videos, and “how-to” type ebooks—sets it apart from virtually everything else on the market.
Going Global, Inc.
Going Global combines Career Guides to nearly 90 worldwide locations with a custom database of state, metro, and national level H1B records from the U.S. Department of Labor and then adds an employer directory and job search feature, both international.
The database also includes Country Guides that offer information for those job hunting in one of 38 places around the globe. A career specialist in each country contributes original content that organizes information on job search resources, not-for-profits and volunteer organizations, industry and employment trends, and top companies. There are sections on professional and social networking, embassy listings, and information on the financial considerations (cost of living, housing, health care, taxes, pensions) that should inform the search. Detailed content on work permits and visas, résumé/CV guidelines, and interviewing advice is available too. The guides conclude with a section of cultural suggestions, covering daily life, office protocol, management styles, business practices, and hints on how to “act like a local” (where all kinds of fascinating nuggets are tucked away; for example, French recruiters may require handwritten cover letters because they engage graphologists to discern a candidate’s personality traits). The guides run 85 to 100 pages in length each and are updated annually.
The City Guides area includes 65- to 85-page reports on 45 U.S. and six Canadian cities, organized along lines that facilitate the job-seeking process. There is information on not-for-profits and volunteer organizations, a city overview, and cost-of-living data (including prices for common expenditures).
For each city, the database also offers job search resources, industry and employment trends, top companies, H1B visa information (with companies ranked by the number of H1B visa petitions for that location), listings of professional and social networking groups and chambers of commerce, information on work permits and visas, résumé guidelines, and interviewing tips. The cultural advice section is the same for each city. Visitors to America are advised to say, “Bless you” if someone sneezes, for example, and “Please” and “Thank you” for even “seemingly insignificant actions.” Additionally, visitors should be aware that “While Americans typically use utensils and napkins when dining, designated foods may sometimes be eaten with the hands, such as sandwiches, burgers, chips, tacos, pretzels, and other dry foods in small pieces.”
Developed by Going Global, the H1B Info database, which offers information at the state, metropolitan area, and national level, includes 400,000 Labor Department records for companies that applied for visas the previous year. H1B is a nonimmigrant visa that permits U.S. employers to hire foreign workers with highly specialized skills on a temporary basis, so this portion of the database offers material that will be incredibly valuable to foreigners earning STEM credentials from U.S. schools. The database is updated quarterly.
Also updated quarterly, the Employer Directory includes 450,000 records, which may be searched or browsed by state or country. The new Jobs/Internships component, listing 16 million worldwide openings, is updated daily.
The Going Global interface is straightforward and easy to use, with links to key features, the blog, and the newsletter. There’s a demonstration video outlining the basic content, a training video, and webinars for staff and students.
Arrayed across the top of the page are the links to various components of the resource, which are all displayed—with graphics and a little descriptive text—in the main area of the home page as well.
Country Guides are arranged alphabetically, and there is a basic search feature. We searched for “gift” in United Arab Emirates using the pull-down country menu, which took us to the Cultural Advice area called “If you want to act like a local,” where it said, “Chocolates, traditional sweets, and dates make good gifts. A personalized gift from one’s home country is much appreciated. Giving a bottle of wine to an Arab host is not considered appropriate.” Searching is limited to one country at a time. Similarly, conducting queries in the City Guides is limited to a single city. Looking for not-for-profit organizations in San Antonio gave a results list of four items. There are no truncation, wildcards, or Boolean operators, so terms need to match exactly in order to return results. Also, search results are unfortunately not highlighted, so it can be hard to spot them in longer entries.
The City Guides contain links to the H1B information by metropolitan area and by state, with an H1B Plus feature offering several search options: by industry, job title, company, city/state, and metro area, along with an advanced search option.
Searching by industry in the category “Computer and Mathematical” produced 241,158 job titles. Advanced search allows the user to select from nearly two dozen industries via a pull-down menu. Job titles may be entered as keywords, and state and metro area are available via the pull-downs. City names may be entered as keywords and may include places not on the City Guide list. We found 364 job titles in all industries for Albany, NY. The results list gives job title, occupation, company name, wage, and number of petitions.
The Employer Directory may be searched by keyword, location, company name, NAICS code(s), annual sales range, and number of employees. The Jobs/Internships feature may be searched by location, job title, skills or keywords, industry, academic degree, company name, job type (i.e., full-time, part-time, internship, or contract). This section contains custom search engines for jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships internationally with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) via Idealist.org and Devex.com.
Going Global comes in a variety of subscription packages, with consortium discounts as high as 50 percent off. Additionally, there is special pricing for schools with multiple campuses, state schools, and institutions with two- and three-year subscriptions. Pricing starts around $1,500. The H1B Plus component is extra. Trials are available.
There’s a lot under the hood here, and much of it is unique to Going Global, which makes this a very attractive resource. The search features are pretty rudimentary, but the organization and straightforward navigation make all of Going Global’s content easily discoverable. We suggest only that the guides be available as PDFs so that job seekers and new employees heading away from home can more easily take this valuable information with them.
Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center
Facts On File
This award-winning database is a gold-standard resource for vocational guidance. Easy to navigate, with a wide range of authoritative content, Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center is well organized into three main sections: Job and Industry Profiles; Job-Hunting and Workplace Skills; and Career and Industry Resources. A wealth of material is integrated throughout the site, from nearly 80 authoritative sources published by Ferguson Publishing Company—an imprint of Facts On File. Titles include Career Discovery Encyclopedia; the “Career Opportunities,” “Extraordinary Jobs,” and “Career Skills Library” series; Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance; Guide to Résumés and Job-Hunting Skills; 101 Tips for Graduates: A Code of Conduct for Success and Happiness in Your Professional Life; and Career Resource Guide to Apprenticeship Programs.
The “Job and Industry Profiles” section, arranged into 16 “Career Clusters,” contains information on nearly 3,400 jobs and 94 industries, presented through overview articles, 200-plus job videos, and profiles from select “Fastest Growing,” “Highest Paying,” and “Most In-Demand” jobs in the current market. A “My Life” series includes interviews with representatives of more than 70 of the more interesting professions, such as hurricane hunter, cryonics researcher, and test-kitchen chef. Current job ads, organized by career, are provided by Indeed.com.
The “Job-Hunting and Workplace Skills” area offers advice on applying for a job, interview strategies, and professional behavior in the workplace (subheads here include “Communication Skills,” “Learning the Ropes,” and “Problem Solving”). More than 60 sample résumés (chronological, functional, curriculum vitae format, etc.) and 22 cover letters (cold call, response to ad, direct mail) are available, while 60-plus videos present essential career development topics such as “Knowing One’s Skills,” “Preparing for a Career,” and “Job Hunting Strategies.”
“Career and Industry Resources” has featured articles, contact information for hundreds of organizations, listings of state job centers, scholarships, internships, and specialized awards. This section also includes an extensive list of recognized career assessment tests such as Birkman Method, Holland Code, Myers-Briggs, and VARC, with material on how to find them.
From the welcome screen, users can explore a college planning and financial aid segment—with school search (data provided by Peterson’s Nelnet on more than 4,500 schools in the United States, Canada, and related regions that offer two-year and/or four-year degrees) and financial aid directories by major. Additional listings include “College Planning Timeline,” “Choosing a College,” “Choosing a College Major,” and “Applying for Student Loans.” Among the special features are access to Career Opportunities News, a bimonthly newsletter from 2009 to the present, and The Facts On File Student’s Dictionary of American English.
Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center presents information in a very straightforward manner. Users can either browse, which is simple, or take advantage of the database’s basic or advanced search options. A top navigation bar remains present throughout, allowing users to access content from the three main sections displayed on the opening screen, as well as to have search tips and help close by at all times.
We initially tried taking the “Career Interest Assessment,” but with 180 statements to mark as “Dislike,” “Like,” or “Unsure,” we browsed the survey instead. Sample activities that users must rank include operating a dairy farm, giving CPR, and scheduling conferences for an organization.
Patrons can peruse job profiles from a simple search box, which combines all the job and industry entries as well as the job videos. The system recognizes standard phrase and Boolean searching and also includes “Did you mean?” assistance.
We entered “actuary” in the “Search Job Profile” box and retrieved 14 records, including job and industry profiles for actuaries, insurance examiners, and mathematical technicians. Each profile has a position description, history, and current professional organization and association listings. A sidebar offers quick facts relating to salary range, employment prospects, skills/traits, education/training, advancement prospects, tips, requirements such as certification or licensing, and links to related careers.
For more precise results, advanced job search allows users to choose one or more pre-selected career clusters, educational levels, or job skills. In addition, one can opt to browse jobs using the career index search, which includes National Occupational Classification (NOC) Index and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET)-Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC) index. The O*NET-SOC index was created by the U.S. government; the NOC index is Canada’s equivalent. Records can be printed, emailed, or saved to a folder (with a personal account) for later retrieval, and all videos are iPad/mobile friendly.
Pricing is determined by full-time enrollment for schools and by number of cardholders for public libraries. All prices are for unlimited usage within the institution and include remote access privileges. Free trials are available.
Chock-full of valuable content, Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center is well suited for secondary school guidance centers, college career centers, and public libraries. Resource entries are searchable, and extensive links to directories are well incorporated in this easy-to-navigate package.
Associates Programs Source Plus
Vocational Studies Complete
Designed specifically for the research needs of students at two-year colleges and career and technical schools, this database provides comprehensive coverage of the most relevant associates program–level content—with more than 2,300 full-text magazines and journals including titles such as Accountancy, Adolescent Psychiatry, Animal Sheltering, Bon Appétit, California Construction, Dermatology Times, Economic & Financial Policy Review, Funeral Service Insider Newsletter, Heating & Ventilating Review, International Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and National Tax Journal.
Associates Programs Source Plus (APSP) offers information from many trade sources that are unique to this database, with over 350 full-text books, market research reports, blog entries, country reports, and newspapers. The variety of topics is illustrated by titles such as Agricultural Pollution, ASHRAE Handbook: HVAC Applications, Careers with the Pharmaceutical Industry, Diagnosis in Social Work: New Imperatives, Fire Chief Expert Blog, and Wireless Networks. Titles range from practical how-to guides (e.g., How To Run a Dog Business: Putting Your Career Where Your Heart Is) to government publications, handbooks, and titles from academic university presses.
Key areas of focus within APSP adhere to current junior/community-college program listings and include alcohol and drug abuse counseling, audiology, biotechnology, catering, ceramics and pottery, computer-aided drafting, computer and data processing, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, electrical technology, fashion design, forensics, graphic arts, hospitality, interior design, law enforcement and criminal justice, mortuary science, nursing, paralegal studies, photography, robotics, travel and tourism, and welding.
Institutions on a budget can still meet the needs of their vocational students by subscribing to Associates Programs Source, with an offering of 1,000-plus full-text journals and 45 books, reports, and other documents from 1961 to the present. Subscribing institutions have the option of making this database available to their users under the Vocational Studies Complete/Vocational Studies Premier name.
Associates Programs Source Plus and Vocational Studies Complete are the same product, just licensed under different names. Both are searchable on the EBSCOhost platform. Users can choose additional EBSCO databases if subscribed and cross-search for breadth and depth on a particular topic. EBSCO encompasses a growing number of ebooks that are freely available to subscribers and can also be added to a particular query for further results. Further, institutions can complement their vocational and career offerings with the purchase of ebook subject sets, such as dentistry and oral sciences, criminal justice, and nursing.
A basic search box allows patrons to select the “Search Options” link in order to use optional search modes and expanders such as “Apply Related Words” and “Also Search Within the Full Text of the Articles” and limiters including “Image Quick View” and “Image Quick View Types.” The advanced option affords additional restriction to publication and document type, Lexile reading level, and cover story and provides an “Add Row” feature for more complex searching.
We started with a very basic search for welding to explore information for someone thinking of finding a suitable program. With more than 14,000 results—the majority from trade publications—we initially selected a current article titled “Learning Real-World Welding” from the magazine Assembly, which discussed certifications offered by the American Welding Society (AWS). Refining the search with the Subject “welding—study & teaching” brought the number down to a reasonable 167 hits, most displaying a clear focus on teaching as well as attending welding trade schools, with articles from Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, Career & Technical Education Research, and World of Welding.
Searchers may also browse ten indexes, such as author, document type, geographic terms, and journal name to select terms and add them into the search strategy.
The usual EBSCOhost features apply to this database, affording users the option to create personal accounts (My EBSCOhost), set and save preferences, organize citations with folders, share folders, save and retrieve search histories, and create email alerts and/or RSS feeds. Setting preferences allows researchers to control the look and feel of the result list. Once the user is signed in, personal preferences are applied, and any changes made to preferences are saved for future use.
Pricing is based on a variety of factors including FTE, existing EBSCO databases, consortium agreements, and/or buying groups. Free trials are available.
The emphasis of Associates Programs Source Plus is on the major courses and programs available at junior college and community college institutions, providing a range of material that supports transfer, career, and certificate areas of study. A great offering for high school guidance centers as well, APSP also pays heed to current trends and new vocational career demands, such as ceramic technology and funeral services.
ProQuest Career and Technical Education
ProQuest Career and Technical Education (PCTE) is aimed at both students and instructors who are looking for vocational information and/or conducting research in a broad array of areas—computer science, nursing, construction, auto mechanics, forestry, retailing, accounting, graphic design, and criminal law—relating to careers and technical training.
Information in PCTE is delivered in a diverse range of formats. About 130 recent ebooks (including 16 “Dummies” titles such as Communicating Effectively, Cool Careers, Cover Letters, Living Well in a Down Economy, Personal Finance, Presentations, Public Speaking, and other “how-to” guides), 120 magazines (such as Plane and Pilot, Practical Horseman, Fire Protection Engineering, and Cabling Installation and Maintenance), roughly 125 scholarly journals (Comparative Technology Transfer and Society, Drugs and Alcohol Today, Veterinary Medicine), and more than 400 trade publications (Marketing to Women, Florida Grower, Emergency Nurse) appear on the title list. Additionally, PCTE includes some 18 videos (“Idea Generation,” “Shedding Light on Failure”) and the full text of more than 30 blogs (Hydrogen Cars Now, Patent Baristas, Silicon Valley Sleuth). The availability of nearly 550 of the 650–plus periodicals titles in full text is a distinct plus, too. Periodicals coverage extends back to 1975.
PCTE delivered tens of thousands of hits on burgeoning career fields such as nanotechnology and gerontology and a results list of 2,531 items for a search on “iPhone OR android OR smartphone AND app AND developer*,” all of which should come as no surprise. It also gave us nearly 9,000 hits for “activists,” almost 6,000 for “personal shoppers,” 600-plus for “forensic accountants,” and a couple of dozen hits for “turntablist,” the much hipper and more artistic update to the career of DJ. There is also material on baristas, repo men, and even garbologists, and so it’s safe to say that virtually any career or vocation is searchable within this resource.
We took a look at the issue of the under-representation of women and minorities in the computer science field using the following search strategy: “computer science” AND (gender OR race) AND (difference* OR equity OR inequity OR stereotyp*). This produced 279 hits—19 of which were from 2013—and the subject facet suggested the term “female employees” as a way to examine one aspect of this topic as it plays out in the workforce.
Thinking that PCTE might be a useful tool for planning one’s career, we typed in “worst company” and took the auto-complete feature’s suggestion “worst company to work for,” which produced more than 65,000 almost completely random hits. Again, using the subject facet option, we narrowed the search with the term ratings and rankings, which imposed some useful order on the results but didn’t truly identify employers to avoid. The lesson, we suppose, is that the user shouldn’t assume that auto-complete is anything more than a tool that anticipates what the user is likely to type, thereby saving a few keystrokes.
ProQuest, by including material from blogs, gives PCTE a fresh and immediate quality that most resources can’t touch. A search on the term “infographics” uncovered a number of postings on Gizmodo, including one called “How To Pick the Perfect Typeface,” which reads, “Need to find a typeface for your next design masterpiece? Follow this intricate—but brilliant—flowchart by Julian Hansen and you will never go wrong.” Unfortunately, since the post is text only in PCTE, the brilliance of the process is completely lost. A link to the original site would make a world of difference.
Marking, emailing, exporting, and creating bibliographies in a number of common styles are all simple procedures, as are setting up alerts and creating RSS feeds for individual titles.
Subscription prices are based on library type—FTE for academic libraries and population served for public libraries. Consortia pricing is available, and institutions may arrange free trials.
It’s hard to imagine a community college or vocational school setting that wouldn’t benefit from having a subscription to ProQuest Career and Technical Education, given its close match with the curricula in those types of institutions. The content mix is also pretty compelling, with magazines and trade publications providing real-world insight into various careers and vocations, peer-reviewed scholarly journals adding the theoretical component, blogs keeping things lively and contemporary, and the “how-to” type ebook collection keeping things practical.
Gale, part of Cengage Learning
Career Transitions provides guidance and essential activities for job seekers and those exploring new career options. From the welcome screen, users can search all job types, including internships, apprenticeships, entry level, and temporary listings; browse 16 career paths from agriculture, food, and natural resources to transportation, distribution, and logistics; and view the “A Day in the Life” video series to see what people do in certain occupations, such as plant breeder, federal judge, or web developer. Other features include “Interview Simulation” and step-by-step assistance for résumé and cover letter writing, with “best practice” examples and application and interview advice. Users can also find new career ideas based on past experience, with “Match Experience to New Careers.” A Featured Videos section includes “How to Ask for a Raise,” “Tips for Job Hunting,” and “How To Write Your Résumé.”
CareerArc Group, LLC
With offerings for both career centers and recruiters, CareerSearch provides access to almost 12 million key contacts from a database of nearly five million companies that includes company descriptions, addresses, names, titles, and email addresses. Users can integrate contacts with their LinkedIn connections. The opening screen offers “New Job Opportunities,” the ability to “Search All Job Openings” by keyword or location, a “Getting Started” section with commonly run searches, and news from PR Newswire services. Navigation to the main menu remains constant throughout, allowing users to jump to another type of query, as well as access “My Account” information with saved searches and news alerts. Patrons can perform U.S. and international company searches by industry; people search to locate key contacts within a company; access research tools, with top-rated cities, salary wizard, and business information resources—a research tool for identifying associations, trade shows, and publications in a selection of industry categories. A “Career Tools” option offers a drop-down menu of industry profiles, location overviews, and tips on networking. Advanced search lets users run queries by name, NIC, NAICS, and size. Searches can be saved as reports or downloaded with customized data, permitting users to select which fields to include.
Promoted as a suite of “K–12 career exploration products,” the ccEngage platform bundles all of Career Cruising’s innovative tools into one package, including age-appropriate resources for elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary students. The system also contains options for those already in the workplace looking to change careers or find new employment. Users can explore content on selected careers and watch multimedia interviews with real people in every career, search for colleges and financial scholarships (updated yearly from Peterson’s database), and develop a short- or long-term career plan. Primarily aimed at students in middle school and above, the system provides key material about careers, including core tasks, earnings, and education and training requirements. Tools include an interest and skills assessment, career profiles, multimedia interviews, college and financial aid information, an education development plan (EDP), an electronic career portfolio, and a résumé builder—integrated with the portfolio to help students format and print professional-looking résumés. The portfolio section also allows users to save information from one session to the next. All sections can be accessed from Career Cruising’s main page or by clicking on the appropriate link in the menu bar near the top of every page.
Job & Career Accelerator
LearningExpress provides an all-in-one career selection and job search resource, offering a variety of tools, including a résumé and cover letter builder—with more than 120 model and sample letters, occupation matcher, occupation profiles, and job and intern search. The service offers personalized, step-by-step job search assistance for all levels of job seekers—from exploring and matching suitable occupations from 1,000-plus detailed profiles to finding available jobs in their area via a comprehensive database of more than five million up-to-date job listings and internship opportunities. Users can compare salary and job growth data, access online interactive computer skills tutorials for a wide range of office applications and platforms, create professional targeted résumés, master interviewing and networking techniques, improve work-related skills, prep for occupation-related exams, and track multiple job searches at the same time. Colleges can brand the platform with the institution’s logo and present links to additional career resources. A “Personal Dashboard” lets users keep track of their progress and of all saved items, such as jobs that are of interest, résumés, and cover letters. “Job & Career Accelerator” is also available for integration with the Blackboard Learn platform, offering a single sign-on for access to information.
Testing & Education Reference Center
Testing & Education Reference Center (TERC) provides detailed information on colleges and universities, graduate and professional programs, distance learning, corporate training, available financial scholarships and awards, preparatory entrance exams, and numerous tools to help users identify occupational opportunities. Aimed at high school and community college students just starting on a career path, those transitioning out of the military, and employed adults looking for a career change, the database gives users 300-plus online practice tests—including certification and licensing tests, ebooks containing study material and practice tests, and information on more than 4,000 accredited schools. Organized by high school, college prep, career, grad school, and international tools, the database has something for many types of learners and even features U.S. citizenship test prep materials. Sections include additional resources (word of the day, quick quiz, tips and strategies, and test info), articles, and related links.
TERC is now available with Career Module, which consists of career assessment, a résumé builder, and a virtual careers library. The career assessment helps users map a career path using a brief multiple-choice exam that determines their Holland Type, which matches their answers to suitable job categories, industries, and occupations. The virtual careers library provides résumé, cover letter, and interviewing tips for all levels of job seekers.
Vault Career Insider Online Library
Vault.com licenses content to colleges and universities under the name Career Insider for use by registered students. Career Insider provides a comprehensive research library that includes snapshot profiles and rankings for 2,500 companies; in-depth industry and career field guides describing a wide range of occupations and industries; ebook employer guides; and user-generated content on companies, industries, and career issues via access to discussion boards, industry blogs, and news on the latest trends. The platform presents company profiles with reviews and ratings of industry reputation, information on quality of life, salary, and compensation; school profiles with reviews and ratings of admissions, academics, campus life and diversity; industry and profession profiles that offer background information and tips to entry; internship profiles with full reviews and ratings of the interview process, salary and compensation data, and full-time employment opportunities. A one-time registration is required.
Vocations & Careers Collection: An InfoTrac Collection
Vocations and Career Collection provides articles from nearly 400 general career guides to highly specialized industry journals such as Advertising Age, BMC Medical Education, Career Guide to the Horse Industry, Computer Graphics World, Hotel Management, International Journal of Training Research, Journal of Education for Business, Marines Magazine, Physical Therapy, and Social and Legal Studies. Job searching, looking for a new career path, and finding an appropriate college or vocational program are all topics covered by this collection, which contains current and pertinent content for all types of users. Choosing from basic or advanced search, subject guide, or publication, users can find a range of document types, such as audio files, blog posts, biographies, graphs, obituaries, podcasts, reviews, topic overviews, websites, and more. The database also features videos from a variety of sources including AP Video News, PBS Online NewsHour, NOVA, and WNET.org’s Worldfocus. Updated regularly, Vocations & Career Collection currently has nearly eight million articles published between 1980 and 2013.
Gail Golderman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Electronic Resources Librarian, and Bruce Connolly (email@example.com) is Reference & Bibliographic Instruction Librarian, Schaffer Library, Union College, Schenectady, NY