Welcome to our career blog...

The Career Key's mission is to help people make the best career, college major, and self-employed choices. In this career blog, we share practical tips about:

- Making science-based career decisions throughout your life,
- Choosing a college major, training, or instructional program,
-
Choosing career clusters, fields or career pathways, and
- Deciding whether being self-employed is right for you.

The Career Key's Vice President, Juliet Wehr Jones, J.D., GCDF with input from Career Key author Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, discuss these topics with seriousness and a touch of humor.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Fanshawe College Pathfinder Uses Career Key's Career and College Major Test

We're proud to announce that Fanshawe College, one of the largest colleges of applied art and technology in Ontario, is now using The Career Key's valid career and college major test to match prospective students to Fanshawe's programs of study.  The online Fanshawe Pathfinder is the first college recruitment and admissions tool in Canada and the U.S. to use Personality-Major MatchTM. The Pathfinder gives students valuable information in choosing a program that fits them best and how to make a successful education decision.



Large published research studies show a close personality-major match predicts higher grades, greater persistence in a major, and higher rates of on time graduation. The benefits of this match are described in a free Career Key eBook, Choose a College Major Based on Your Personality.

Fanshawe licensed The Career Key to create the Pathfinder for their admissions and recruitment efforts. The Pathfinder will also be used in academic advising for current students and featured in public open houses and career fairs.


About Fanshawe
Fanshawe’s main campus is located in London, Ontario, about two and half hours outside Toronto. Approximately 17,000 full-time and 26,000 part-time students attend Fanshawe at five campuses. Fanshawe has a demonstrated commitment to student success. Results of the Government of Ontario’s 2013 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) survey show that Fanshawe College is above the provincial average in student satisfaction, graduate satisfaction, and graduate employment (86% of graduates find jobs shortly after graduation). To learn more about Fanshawe, visit Discover Fanshawe.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What the Walmart VP Termination Over a Resume Teaches Us


Yes, it teaches us not to lie on our resume, not to leave a misimpression or omission about our credentials.  But why did Walmart’s former Vice President of Communications David Tovar feel the need to demonstrate he graduated from college?  I can’t speak for him but we know the answer… it’s because he needed the degree. You need to graduate from college if you want to make a living wage working for someone else. Like most employers, Walmart will not hire you for salaried sales or management without a college degree (example).
 
Living wage jobs require college or training degrees.
Want a living wage? Want to be a VP someday? Finish college.
I’ve been reading Michael Ellsberg’s The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful and other anti-college writing. The common position is that people do not need a college degree, pointing to many rich, entrepreneurial people as examples (High-tech company founders, information sales people, etc). And while I found I agreed with Ellsberg on many practical things that are wrong with higher education (and he has some great networking tips), the anti-college argument ultimately fails as a good career planning approach.  

First, a college degree or postsecondary training credential is necessary for most living-wage employment in this country; the statistics about unemployment and salaries do not lie. One reason employers require a college degree or post-secondary training credential in hiring is because it’s an easy way to screen people out, to narrow the hiring pool.  So many people are looking for jobs; employers can afford to be picky. Also, minimum job qualifications like an educational degree are legally necessary in a world where equal rights laws guard against discrimination. So does it really make sense to voluntarily cut yourself off from millions of jobs?

The anti-college crowd argues that you can creatively sell yourself into a job and if that doesn’t work (that employer must be an unimaginative boob), then start your own business. Having been happily self-employed myself at one time, I get the freedom, flexibility and success that can give you.

But self-employment and entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Not everyone has a strong Enterprising Holland personality type, someone who likes to and is good at persuading, leading, and selling things or ideas. Or is an extrovert. And while I agree with Dan Pink and many others that sales skills are needed in nearly every job now, to advise young people that a college degree is unnecessary, substituting sales and marketing skills through self-employment, is a naïve oversimplification of our work world. That's as bad as saying a college degree = a high-paying job.

Self-employment should always be a fallback option, if not a promising option for some. Having practiced labor and employment law for 10 years, I think people should be prepared, as a matter of emotional and financial survival, to be out of a job at any time, for any reason. But being prepared also means having proof of skills and education to support a job search.

Instead of warning people away from college degrees entirely, we can start by helping people approach their college years in smarter ways – identifying majors and programs of study that match their interests and Holland personality, learning more marketing skills, seeking out experiential education programs that don’t require an unpaid internship (that only wealthier parents can afford to subsidize), and adopting a flexible, free agent approach to the world of work.

If Mr. Tovar was so good at his job (it sounds like he was, given his planned promotion), he should not have needed a degree. I believe that it’s what people do, not their credentials, that matter most. But that’s not the economy and human resources legal reality we’re in. I hope and suspect Mr. Tovar will successfully bounce back from his mistake. Tellingly, it sounds like he will start by completing his degree.

5 Tips for Introverts' Success in Career Choices and in School

Introverts face certain challenges to their success at work and in the classroom. Introversion can also be a benefit.  Identifying the right compatible work and school environments can increase your chances of success.
introversion - extroversion
The Introversion-Extroversion Scale with Holland's Hexagon

By combining what we know about introverts with Holland's theory of person-environment match, Career Key author and counseling psychologist Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, NCC gives you five tips for introverts' success in this new self-help article. Find it at the Introverts link above or in our Choose a Career section.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Explore Career Options Using LinkedIn’s New Field of Study Explorer, Especially Liberal Arts Majors


The new LinkedIn Field of Study Explorer is most valuable to students and parents as a tool for exploring possible career options for a particular college major.

It is particularly helpful for students considering liberal arts majors and the humanities because it shows their expansive use in the work world. It’s some form of proof (for skeptics) that jobs do exist for these majors, some with well-known, respected, and well-paying employers.

The Field of Study Explorer has some limitations (see below) but as long as students stick with using it as a “what can I do with a degree in ___” resource, it’s useful.  Here is a short video about how to use it for that purpose.



The Explorer can also be useful for adults changing careers. What else can you do with law degree? Or a massage therapy degree? To what other career fields could you transition that you might not have considered? You may even find connections you could contact for an informational interview.

For more information, students looking at career options related to majors should look on their college’s career services website for a “what can I do with a major in ____” type of page. High school students can look at a nearby state university’s career services website.  The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has a great one as does Kansas State University.

LinkedIn Field of Study Explorer Limitations:

The “Explore More” button has a random selection of majors – they are not related to the one you list in your profile. For example, my major was Politics.  Yet “Explore More” recommended “Home Furnishings and Equipment Installation.” And no, I am not a furniture junkie. So you need to have a “short list” of majors that interest you, ideally ones that match your strongest Holland personality types.

I would not use the Field of Study Explorer to choose a college; in other words, ignore the “Where they went to school” as a limited data set. The more majors a school graduates is irrelevant to quality, even if LinkedIn’s data set were more representative of the U.S. as a whole.

Also see:




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Choose a Career and College Major with Holland's Theory, New Career Key Video Series

Learn how to choose a career or college major with Holland's Theory of Career Choice in a new YouTube video series "How to Achieve Career and College Success" from Career Key.

These short videos cover Dr. John Holland's six main ideas, including the Holland personality types (also known as Holland codes), Holland's work and education environments, and how to use the Holland hexagon. It's based on the popular Career Key web article on Holland's Theory of Career Choice.

How to Achieve Career and College Success Video Series

  • How to Achieve Career and College Success: Introduction
  • The Six Holland Personality Types
  • The Six Holland Environments
  • Holland Environments: searching for and interacting with them
  • The Holland Hexagon
  • Congruence: Making a Good Match

The series is created and presented by Career Key author and nationally recognized counseling psychologist, Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, NCC. It is followed by a series on good career decision making.

All these videos will appear soon in a new section of the Career Key website.

Subscribe to The Career Key's YouTube channel to get notified of new videos as they appear.

Friday, May 9, 2014

New College and Career Readiness Kit for School Counseling

Career Key's new college and career readiness kit is complimentary, designed for school counselors and other education and career development professionals. In this downloadable kit, we included free eBooks and learning activities related to helping students get college and career ready.


Topics covered:

  • Common Core Standards and school counseling
  • Choosing a college major in high school
  • Learning activities that combine ASCA and Common Core Standards
  • Meeting ASCA National Standards using career and college major exploration activities at the Career Key website.
Finally, there is a link to access a free trial of the Career Key career and college major test (a $150 value).

Related articles:

New Career Key Career Test Launched

Career Key's updated career test is now live! This scientifically valid, career interest inventory has a new design, an updated list of career options and now includes college majors and training programs. The Career Key test now helps those wondering "What should I major in?" There are over 400 careers and 700 majors, easy to explore by Holland personality type and Career Key work group of traits, skills and abilities. Each major is described with a link to external sources to find more information and the colleges that offer the major (no promotions or marketing).

Here is a sample report page:


To learn more about group purchases and the new group administration features, see our Group Purchase Discount.