It’s time for another one of my “The Best….” lists.
I think the best way for people to learn English is to find a topic that they are interested in learning about, and then create a situation where they need to use English to learn it. And certainly figuring out a future career is a pretty darn high-interest subject for most students.
And even though one of the key criteria I used to place a site on this list was if it was accessible to English Language Learners, the vast majority of these sites have also garnered high marks from my mainstream native-English speaker students as well. In fact, I think you’ll agree that all of the sites except for number ten are definitely engaging for young and adult students of all ages.
You might also want to explore The Best Places For Students To Write Their Resumes.
Here are my choices for “The Best Websites For Students Exploring Jobs and Careers”:
Kids Work is number nine on my list, and is from South Carolina Public Television. It has a number of engaging and accessible activities about careers in health, television, and the theater.
GCF Learn Free is the eighth-ranked site, specifically for their Job Application exercise. There are numerous high-quality and accessible activities on the site designed to teach life-skills.
Emurse is in seventh place. This is a free and accessible online tool to create resumes. It walks you through the process of making one. They basically have a series of text-boxes to fill-in, and have instructions written in simple English. You then end-up with a professional-looking resume.
California Career Zone (which, despite its name, is useful for students everywhere) is number six on the list and has three separate sections — Assess Yourself, Explore Industry Sectors, and Reality Check. They are all well-designed and accessible.
Fifth place is held by BioWorksU, a very accessible series of activities focusing on health occupations.
Hot Shot Business from Disney is number three. It’s a great interactive site where students have to start virtual businesses.
Number two is Career One Stop. The primary reason I’m rating this site so high is because of its numerous closed-captioned videos about every occupation imaginable.
And now, for the number one-ranked website for helping students explore jobs and careers…..The Learning Edge. You’ll find eight issues of animated newsletters with text and audio support, and most of it is about jobs and careers.
I’d also like to share two good sites that were submitted by readers but didn’t make my list. One is Workforce Development, suggested by Sonja. The other is Visualcv, which comes recommended by Nik Peachey, whose blog should definitely be on your RSS Reader.
I’ve written several times in the past about the Sacramento Bee’s great job of making information accessible through their innovative Databases.
They’ve just added a new one on our regional Job Outlook. English Language Learners, and everyone else, can now easily research and find the average pay for jobs and what the need for those positions will be in the future. Even though this database is just for our local area, it’s an example of what more and more newspapers are doing online.
I’m adding How To Write A Resume to this list. It lets students create their resumes. It’s free, very “scaffolded,” and provides multiple ways to download and print a hard copy. Emurse is the other resume-builder on this list, and it’s very good. However, it’s more difficult to print a hard copy using that site than at this one.
I’m adding Salary Zone to this list. By using its “Salary Wizard,” you can find the salaries for many different occupations in different regions of the country. It’s an excellent way for students to research the pay for various jobs. It’s pretty accessible, though it might take a minute or two of teacher explanation to Intermediate English Language Learners.
The New York Times has a feature called Salary that lets you pretty much identify any job you want — in any location (in the United States) you want — and tells you the base pay for that occupation. The application is very accessible to English Language Learners.
I particularly like that the videos are divided into separate sections answering specific questions, which makes it a lot easier for English Language Learners to follow. In addition to that, you can see the transcript of the interview right below the video. Ordinarily, I don’t think video transcripts are that helpful to ELL’s who also need the visual clues being shown — it’s hard to look at both (which is why closed captioning is so much better). However, these interviews are just “talking heads,” so students really don’t need to watch the videos and, instead, can just listen to the audio as they follow along on the transcript. The site is just beginning, so it doesn’t have a huge list of careers, but they promise to be adding more.
The Virginia Educational Wizard is a cool interactive guide to careers and colleges. It’s obviously geared towards students in Virginia, but their Interest Assessment is one of the most engaging ones I’ve seen and would be a useful tool for any students exploring potential careers. I like that particular tool so much that I’m adding it to this list.
The “Get Schooled” website has a very accessible interactive called I Want To Find A Career that I think English Language Learners (and all students) might like.
Earning Power: A Visual Survey of 80 Occupations is a nice infographic listing occupations and their average salaries. It’s very accessible for English Language Learners who are trying to do some job research.
Best Markets for Young Adults is an intriguing interactive from Portfolio.com. It ranks 67 cities (including Sacramento) on numerous categories that might show how attractive an area it is for young adults, particularly related to jobs. Even thought it doesn’t quite fit, for now I’m going to add it to this list.
The Economy’s Toughest Task is the title of an infographic from TIME Magazine that shows what occupations will be growing and which will be shrinking as the economy recovers. It also gives assessments of different geographical areas.
“Exploring A Path To A Profession” is a simple Wall Street Journal interactive that guides users through a process of investigating possible careers.
My Next Move is an interactive from the U.S. Department of Labor that’s designed to help users identify potential careers.
Storytelling to help your career is a useful article from CNN that would require modification to be made accessible to ELL’s.
10 Things Job Applicants Should Know is from The New York Times.
Paws In Jobland is an excellent interactive site for young people to explore careers. It’s designed for younger students, and is also very accessible for English Language Learners of all ages.
GCFLearnFree.org is on a number of “The Best…” lists because of all its great sites and tools. I recently learned that they have recently updated their Career Exploration page with interactives and videos. It’s looks very good.
Here is a list of 25 tough interview questions from The Huffington Post.
The state of Michigan has a nice collection of closed-captioned videos talking about different health careers.
What Career Should I Choose? is an interactive that lets you pick a career and then shows you how it ranks in “potential salary, competition and market stability.” Obviously, other criteria need to be taken into account, but it still could be useful.