Free Career Management Tools and Resources: Your Go-To List

Some 70 percent of employees are somewhat likely to accept a job with a company that’s known for investing in employee learning and career development, according to a national survey from Instructure (and conducted by The Harris Poll).

But instead of relying on someone else, wouldn’t it be better to take charge of your own career progression, professional development, and future? To make sure that you’re up for the challenge, here are some free resources and tools to help you navigate each step in the career-planning process.

Career Skills and Competencies Profilers

Any successful career-planning endeavor starts with an assessment of your current state. Creating an inventory of your capabilities will not only help you identify suitable next roles, but any major skill gaps you need to close.

One solution to help you identify, rate and assess your current skillset: It’s Your Skills.

The profiler provides a comprehensive list of technical and soft skills, previous domain experience, certifications and specialized knowledge across 34 areas, explained Ramu Govindan, the firm’s CEO. The app will also help you identify other jobs that utilize your skills.

Not sure how to evaluate and rate your interpersonal skills such as listening, communication, EQ and team work on your profile? Complete this self-assessment questionnaire on SkillsYouNeed.

Other options include FreeSkillsMatrix.com, the self-assessment on the Agile Skills Project Wiki, or this low-cost template from Techno-PM. You may also be able to create a skills matrix by registering for a free trial or freemium version available on approximately 132 different competency and skill mapping programs.

Personality, Interests and Values Assessments

What matters most to you now and in the future? Money? Work-life balance? Professional growth? To figure out what kind of job and career path you want to pursue, you also need to understand your interests, temperament, values, and ideal work environment.

This is a critical step if you happen to like working in tech, but not your company’s culture. Alternatively, this could also help if you’re wondering whether you should deepen your technical skills, branch out into management, or transition into an emerging specialty.

The Life Values Self-Assessment Test (LVAT) can help you figure out your priorities (and what will make you happy) in about 15 minutes. The Sokanu career assessment uses interests, work history and workplace preferences to find your ideal match among 800 careers.

MyPlan.com provides another option: The test asks you to rank different aspects of work and presents you with a list of occupations that match your values.

Personality assessments can help you measure and understand your optimal work style and team. For example, 16Personalities is a simplified personality test based on the Myers-Briggs theory and frameworks such as Socionics, Keirsey Temperament Sorter and Linda Berens’ Interaction Styles. Or take the real Keirsey Temperament Sorter test, which divides people into four temperaments: guardian, idealist, rational, and artisan.

Research Sites and Action Planners

The analysis phase is just the beginning of the journey, explained Yvette Steele, who leads the Future Leaders Community for CompTIA as director of Member Communities.

The next step is to research the market and identify a few roles that mesh with your interests, goals and abilities. From there, you can see any skill and experience gaps you need to close, and create an action plan or roadmap to get there.

Use these sites and tools to explore jobs, occupations and industries for the skills you already have or are interested in learning:

  • CareerOneStop is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor that provides in-depth details about nearly 900 occupations.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a large amount of information on employment and wages by occupation; you can also query the database.
  • O*NET lets you search occupations based upon work performed, skills, education, training and credentials. The site also provides MyNextMove which suggests careers that match your interests and training.
  • ed2go provides job descriptions and average salaries, as well as skill and education requirements on 154 IT occupations.
  • PathSource recommends careers that match your interests, personality profile and lifestyle requirements.

Once you decide on a new job or career, create a career development plan or roadmap that defines the specific time-bound action steps and resources you will use to acquire the necessary experience, skills and contacts to get to your destination.

Don’t just rely on data or research sites to map out your career path. Network with people in your targeted role to see what it will take to get there, noted Steele, who created this individual development plan form for CompTIA. Other templates are available here, or create your plan on your mobile device using gocanvas.