Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Wanna Work with ... Babies

No, not me! Gadzooks, no. This is strictly hypothetical.

The client has said that she wants to explore jobs that involve babies. Here's one way that can work, and it works even if the client says she wants to work in a different area, say, artillery.

Start at the (Canadian) National Occupational Classification complex search page. As of just now it's here. If it's not where I just said it was then do a quick Google search for it, ok?

Keep the default selection of 'Keywords' and key 'babies' into the edit box. And before we come back to the keywords field the easiest way to handle the rest of this form is simply to check the box labelled “Search all the following fields”.

I did a search for computer-related occupations by putting the word “computers” (plural) in the keywords box and received no results like computer programmer or web designer at all. Clearly the NOC search engine is not very clever about dealing with plural and singular forms of nouns and, by extension, it probably does not include a thesaurus capable of looking for all of the related words you might hope for.

In the present circumstances then, we need to think of synonyms and other alternatives for 'babies'. I used 'baby' and 'infant'. Having done that it is obviously important to indicate that these are alternatives by selecting the 'Or' option under the keywords box.

The NOC search engine returns a neat enough list of possibilities. However, there are two problems with it.
  1. One would like to be able to give the client her own copy of the search results. A printed copy is not of much use because the client cannot follow the links. I am of the belief also that we should not be expecting job finders to become adepts at using specialised pages like the NOC search engine when their interests lie elsewhere. We are supposed to know about these things.
  2. A much less important concern in this case is that there are references to irrelevant occupations in the army infantry. One would like to be able to remove these. In fact, one would like to be able to blot away all of the stuff from the search results that are of no interest to the client. What’s more being able to put in a couple of helpful notes, as necessary, might be nice, eh.
First, if you’re not using Firefox you should be. (Alright so I'm insufferable.) There are lots of accessories to help a career developer that can be added to it. One of these is called Aardvark, which I used to whittle down the results page.(1)

Now go to and create a new page for your client. Highlight the content from the search results that you want to present to your client, right-click to obtain the equivalent HTML and then copy and paste this stuff into the new disposable page. By default, the disposable page will be held available for 90 days. You can give the client the URL.

Here's a page I made earlier today for an American client, based on the United Stated SOC:

This was slightly more involved because the SOC does not seem to provide the neat search facility that the NOC does.

(1) Open Aardvard from the Tools menu. Highlight an item to be removed and press 'R'. Keep doing this until you have only what you want left. Press 'Q' to close Aardvark.