Finding the Career Pathway You SEEK
Posted: June 27th, 2016
SkillsUSA was the ideal place to beta test the SEEK skill mapping platform, through which users can explore careers based on their experience, education, interests, and skills developed not only from formal work and educational functions, but also from hobbies and other activities. Through SEEK, working learners can mine their occupational passions, making more informed career choices by getting a true perspective on what they are capable of. The tool lets talented workers assess possibilities that exist in the present and imagine a future where they are working everyday using skills they love to constantly improve.
Stephen Yadzinski is founder of Innovate + Educate’s Employment Tech Division, a nonprofit entity that exists to develop technology solutions that help people line up their skills with their interests. He says that his organization partnered with the ACT Foundation to create SEEK because there was a void of technology that specifically addressed the needs of working learners. Yadzinski hears consistently that the most engaging aspect of the platform is the new way it helps users look for jobs, and that it has special appeal for younger workers.
“When we first started the project, we set out to create something similar to the Google maps of career exploration,” he explains. “We wanted to make it visual and relevant to the experiences people have today so that the career options they find resonate with them.”
Perhaps the most impressive feature of SEEK is the personalized “world of work” map, which analyzes a user’s developed skills and interests and creates a visual representation of career pathways. Using a grid for data visualization, career options are shown in quadrants, grouped according to jobs a user is ready for now, and jobs the user can aspire to obtain as they acquire new skills, showing the person what they need to do to get the job they want. Soon, the platform will also provide information about training options to help kick-start the acquisition of those new skills.
SEEK was designed to be aspirational. It is a particularly empowering tool for workers who think that there is a great competency deficit between their current skills and those needed for the career they want. SEEK often shows that worker that the gap between the skills they have and the skills they need really isn’t as large as they perceive it to be. It shows them how to get to the next step, and then the next step, until they have achieved their goals.
According to SEEK’s creators, career progression is traditionally viewed linearly, where people begin in entry level jobs, and then get promoted to the next logical position in a straight path. In reality, SEEK’s creator’s argue, careers normally progress in more of a network pattern, where people move from job to job, sometimes in seemingly unrelated ways, learning new skills along the way. SEEK takes into account the sometimes unpredictable circumstances of life to help users map out the next stage of their career.
“We wanted to build something that mirrored how people transition from one job to another in the real world,” said Yadzinski. “One that works well for wherever you are in your life.”
To learn more about SEEK, visit www.worklearn.live.