Monday, 6 July 2015

Active Career Exploration (ACE)

(Chen et al, 2015; Chen, 2015)
So who's heard of the Active Career Exploration (ACE) plan for career development?

I certainly hadn't.

I think that's because some scientists OUTSIDE the career industry wanted to know how to manage their own career paths, so they built a process to cover their needs. This group of people were Ph.D. students and postdoc scholars at the University of Michigan. They created a  plan for career development which they call "Active Career Exploration" or ACE (Chen et al, 2015; Chen, 2015).

This is really an action plan for where informational interviewing intersects with career research, with an out-cross to career development. But it is a great idea.

Their model is laid out as follows. You spend ten hours over a month (whether that is just for one month or each month will depend on you, and the results you gain). Your goal is to meet people to learn about a career or industry of interest to you, so that you can decide if it is something that you want to pursue further. If it is interesting, then you need to build a plan to prepare yourself for actually working in this sector.

Chen et al (2015) suggest that choosing and researching a career should take about two hours in the first month (and they have some tools for that), then you need to spend some time - three hours is suggested - cold emailing or cold calling people to generate contacts in that sector, and communicating with them. The suggesting is that at "least 5 should be people you do not already know". You find one or more people who is on the money for you, and organise an informational interview with them to get the low-down on your career of interest (around three hours). Then your last two hours are spent in building a plan for self-development so you get the "skills, experience, and expertise" for this role... or if this particular sector or career doesn't fire for you, to plan your research for something different next month.

You can read the authors' first article in their series on this career model at the link below.



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