New Web site aids career planning

Federal employees who want to get the most out of their career and retirement have a new source for information and assistance on the Internet: Career Manager, a Web site developed by the Interior Department's human resources office. The site is located at www.doi.gov/octc.

Although the site was created for Interior employees, other federal employees will find much of the information useful. Well- organized and easy to follow, the site provides a career transition course map-steps to take to change career paths or advance on your current one.

Career Manager will help keep you from getting bogged down in endless lists and pages and sites. You can click your way through the site, taking advantage of each "chapter" of information and assistance, or skip directly to specific chapters. The course map lists all topics and recommends who should consult them.

The course map recommends everyone complete the online Keirsey Temperament Sorter to identify your basic personality type. The Keirsey instrument is a long series of multiple-choice questions, but is not a test and has no "right" answers.

Keirsey uses your answers to define your temperament and personal tendencies in office relations, decision making and other business factors. The site presents a list of suggested careers suited to your temperament. It also shows interesting profiles on some earlier high achievers.

You may find you're already in the right career field. Or you may find a job you've often considered switching to better matches your temperament than the field you're currently in. Either way, the "quiz" only takes a few minutes, it's fun, and it may help you confirm you are or aren't where you should be from a career standpoint.

If you think you might want to switch to a different career, the site provides several ways to explore the possibilities. Check out "Growing Occupations," which covers the fastest growing occupations and regional trends, as well as occupations in decline.

If you're looking to change jobs or advance in your current occupation, sections on networking, job fairs, resumes and interview tips and relocation will guide you through the process. The site also links to various federal, state and private employment indexes. Finally, the site offers guidance for employees planning retirement in five to 10 years. It covers retirement planning in four major sections: financial aspects, health resources, life style and general information. It also provides links to OPM pages covering the Federal Employees Retirement System and Civil Service Retirement System and the Thrift Savings Plan.

A link to the Social Security Administration provides full Social Security and Medicare information and an online form for requesting a Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement. It also links to Internal Revenue Service Publication 721, which explains how federal tax rules apply to Civil Service retirement benefits.

The site also includes an online career transition course, which will take you through the process of building a binder of materials to guide you through your federal civilian career. By the end of the course, you'll have completed exercises to clarify your career goals, learned how to use job hunting tools, obtained forms to chart your progress, checked job listings and maybe even applied for jobs.

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