If you're like me, you use Google primarily to find information about a favorite topic (e.g. 2012 Presidential election, the Olympics, UFC, best chicken recipes) or answer specific questions: what movie won the "best picture" academy award in 2008?; when was George Washingtron inaugurated?; how far is Winston-Salem NC from Washington DC?; what's the nearest restaurant serving Brazilian food?; what time does the Pentagon City Costco open?
Google can also be used a lot more broadly, but much to my surprise many of the clients coming to me for career counseling don't use it nearly enough; when it comes to career assistance Google can be an incredibly valuable tool. I've dreamed up five random search terms to illustrate how:
1. "How to find a job in public relations"
2. "Job searching for veterans"
3. "Advice on getting along with your boss"
4. The best Executive MBA programs
5. Career transition at 50
How to find a job in public relations:
The first entry that came up: PRSA Job Center, a site specifically devoted to listing PR jobs but also source of information on education and training, including recommended readings, tips on constructing a resume, and articles on transitioning from other careers into PR.
The second? "How to Get a Job in Public Relations: Eleven Tips from a PR Pro." Some of the tips are very generic (e.g. "Think Strategically"), others more practical ("Seek Internships").
The third is a link to the sit entitled "PR Breakfast Club," a smartly written PR blog which offers weekly info and tips on the industry.
Job Searching for Veterans:
The first entry: A job site, veteranemployment.com, a partner site of monster.com. It includes some unexpected features, like "spouse resources" and information on the value of security clearances.
The second is a link to the Department of Veterans Affairs. As is unfortunately typical for government websites, this one is difficult to navigate and even at times inoperable. Nonetheless it has some valuable information (such as required forms).
The third is a link to "hireveterans.com" which looks to be an excellent site, with job listings by category (ranging from automotive and entry-level to journalism and science).
Advice on Getting Along with Your Boss
Entering this search phrase reulted in a long list of "8 Tips on...." "10 tips on," "The five best ways to...," etc. In reading through the list of tips I found them ranging from the super obvious "Develop a positive relationship with your boss" to somewhat more inventive, perspective-shifting notions such as "Remember that your boss just might have some useful insights". The CBS News site had an interesting article on the various styles of thinking that people tend to use, and how to adapt to a boss whose thinking style is different.
The Best Executive MBA Programs
Not surprisingly, the top listings were from the leading business publications: Money, Business Week, U.S. News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal. But each of the sites naturally reported somewhat different rankings, and some had information (median GMAT scores) that were not listed on others.
Career Transition at 50
Here the variety of information from the top search results was extensive. The first, CNN Money, examines twenty top "over 50" jobs and reports median salary, growth rate, and total number of openings. The second, workforce50.com, delves into the process of career transition and offers numerous resources. The third, AARP's, is similar to CNN Money's, but was valuable by simply reminding me that AARP could be a valuable resource on this, and it might well be worth contacting someone there to explore more individually tailored guidance possibilities.
The overall point I hope I've registered here is that Google should be one of the very first places you look to help answer ANY question you may have about ANY aspect of your career. Yes, you'll encounter repetition and very possibly some misinformation or even terrible advice, but the wealth of information you'll be exposed to will certainly help you move forward in novel and productive ways.