Career Cruising 2.0; Career Cruising;
CONTENT Career Cruising 2.0 is a web-based career guidance system designed to help students choose and plan for a career. It includes self-assessment tools and copious up-to-date information about post-secondary schools, scholarships and financial aid, and effective job searching, along with advice on how to keep a job. The main difference compared to the previous version (LJ 8/10) is that Career Cruising 2.0 focuses strongly on the student’s self-built portfolio (My Plan), with each of the main sections of the system (Assessments, Careers, Education, Financial Aid, and Employment) feeding directly into that plan.
USABILITY The main screen has been redesigned to bring My Plan to the fore, and, apparently, to resemble a Facebook page as much as possible. A drop-down menu links to all the parts of the Plan: Assessments, Careers, Education, Scholarships & Financial Aid, Education Plan, Goals & Plans, Activities & Experiences, Assignments & Activities, Journal, and Advisement Log. Once a student has completed an Assessment or another segment of career planning, it is automatically saved to the Plan.
To the right of the name box is a toolbar with links to Assessments, Careers, Education, Financial Aid, and Employment. Below those links is a personalized welcome, followed by a Focus on Careers section that highlights careers according to interests (“Careers for people who love to drive,” “Focus on careers in fashion,” etc.). To the left of this section are options to Explore My Interests, Learn About Careers, Explore Education Options, Choose My Courses, Find Jobs, and Create a Résumé.
A click on Explore My Interests took me to into Explore Assessments, which in turn offers Matchmaker & My Skills and a Learning Styles Inventory. Matchmaker poses 39 questions to determine what kind of career I might like and the Learning Styles section asked 20 questions before determining that I’m a visual learner. My Careers guides the user through a series of questions concerning subjects, careers, education, and tasks of personal interest, and what kind of money the user wants to make (I especially liked the observation here: “Note: Selecting higher levels of income will eliminate many careers that you might find interesting and rewarding. If money is not a key factor in your career decisions, do not select any of the income ranges”). The system also quizzes users on desirable working conditions (“outside in most weather conditions,” “potentially dangerous situations or tasks”). A separate section for Military Careers allows searches by Job Name, Job Family, and Service Branch.
Career Cruising offers sophisticated scholarship and financial aid selectors, realistic college-planning time lines, a school selector that genuinely focuses on the student’s preferences and predilections, and spot-on discussions of admission difficulty and campus life. A Goals & Plans section asks the student to consider short-term and long-term goals, as well as provides a post-secondary plan, a Journal section, and an Advisement Log that keeps track of who’s advising the student, what their advice is, and related tasks.
The Build My Résumé segment outlines the sections students might want to include in a résumé (Career Objectives, Educational History, Work Experience, Volunteer Experience, Awards & Certificates, Extracurricular Activities, Hobbies & Interests, Skills & Abilities), and the system automatically shares with the Résumé Builder “any information stored in your Plan that may be useful for résumé creation,” a useful extra. It’s also possible to share one’s plan with, for example, potential employers, organizations offering scholarships, and family.
This file will open up unimagined possibilities for students, first by simply making them aware of their options, then by giving them the structures and strategies to select desired goals and create a coherent, practical plan for achieving them. The new focus on the Plan, or portfolio, is a real plus that is rooted in real-world needs and practices.
PRICING For public and academic libraries, subscriptions start at $799 a year for the English-only version and $999 a year for English/Spanish or English/French. The price includes unlimited users, remote access, training, and support. Larger library-system pricing is based on population served.
VERDICT Once again I’m struck by the scope and quality of Career Cruising: it truly offers a way for students to determine their objectives based on their preferences and abilities, and attain their goals, step by step. The redesign to version 2.0 is much more than a mere facelift for the interface: it rightly emphasizes students building a portfolio and devising a career plan based on it.
Cheryl LaGuardia is a Research Librarian for the Widener Library at Harvard University and author of Becoming a Library Teacher(Neal-Schuman, 2000). Readers can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org