Current career path getting you down? Feel like you’re stuck in a rut? If so, the popular salary-survey website has built a nifty little tool called “GigZig” that can help you ferret out the career shifts that similar professionals to yourself have made in recent years. As to whether this is a new tool the site offers, or something that’s been around a while, we suspect the latter scenario is more likely — and that many people (including ourselves) had simply not noticed this feature previously, since it’s not mentioned on the site’s home page and is more or less buried off to the side of PayScale’s remaining pages.

Regardless of the navigational difficulties in finding it, however, the GigZig tool provides a fascinating slice of data about the modern job search marketplace. Simply type in your current job title, or any title you wish to research, and the system will tell you the most common positions that people held five years ago — before landing the job title in question — as well as the titles that the people who USED to hold the target job title now hold, five years into the future. All of this data is based on the thousands of people who visit each year to research salary information, and as a result, the data strikes us as being much more “real world” in nature than the commonly-available info which is bandied about on academic and government websites.

So again, if you’re thinking about making some sort of career change, pay GigZig a visit and try searching on a variety of occupations relevant to your interests. If you’re a marketing specialist, you’ll see options come up such as graphic artist and event coordinator. And if you’re a technical writer, you might follow in the footsteps of your peers who have become instructional designers or business analysts. Are the career alternatives that come up breathtakingly surprising, in most cases? Not really, but then again, this is consistent with the fact that most people tend to stay roughly within the same occupational “cluster” for most of their career — for obvious reasons — and this information is still useful for validating your most viable options and for researching the salary increases/decreases that would be associated with each move. Give it a try — it’s addicting! :)