Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Career Tests: Choosing the right career test to choose the right career

A valid career test can help you in choosing a career. Career testing can give you valuable career help. You can,

• Identify good career options,

• Learn about yourself, and

• Understand how the career you choose affects your job satisfaction and success.

We have worked hard to maximize these benefits for Career Key users. And, quite frankly, I think we are the best on the Internet.

What surprises me is the number and popularity of fake career tests online. These are career tests that "say" they measure certain traits, like your personality, but they don't. A valid test is the result of scientific research; not greed. Their graphic design and claims are often impressive, but they are a hoax. They are created to sell you something or get your personal information to sell to others. Millions use them. And, unfortunately, many people are misled and harmed.

Have you used a valid career test? Was it helpful?

Other than career tests, have you used other methods in choosing a career?

Have you tried any of the methods recommended at our website? Like, Learn More about Yourself or Learn More about the Jobs that Interest Me? How helpful were they?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Career Key Invited to Attend Microsoft U.S. Workforce Readiness Forum

I've been invited to attend in Seattle next week's Microsoft Town Hall Forum on U.S. Workforce Readiness: Building Collaborative and Innovative Partnerships on Workforce Competitiveness, featuring a keynote address by Ed Gordon, author of The 2010 Meltdown. This national forum is a part of Microsoft's Unlimited Potential – Community Technology Skills Program. In addition to discussing partnerships between the public and private sectors, one of the presentations will be:

Education & Workforce: Skill Sets for the 21st Century

Challenges of the 21st Century marketplace. How does America foster a highly skilled workforce in order to remain economically competitive?

I'm looking forward to being a part of this forum because The Career Key has a lot of expertise to offer in the area of career choice. For over twenty years, people have been using The Career Key, first in a paper/pencil form and now online. For ten years free of charge via the internet, we've provided high-quality, scientifically based information about the process of choosing a career.

Dr. Jones and I have been discussing how important career education is to secondary school students; early identification of interests and encouragement of exploration are critical to getting kids to take the classes that prepare them for college. In particular, high level science and math classes are needed to select technical programs and the right college majors.

Our test and website provide affordable, scientifically valid tools to students and educators to help achieve this early identification and exploration. The question is whether career education can compete for time and funding in the curriculum with standardized test preparation, etc.

How do we get the attention of students, parents, educators, and funding sources that high-quality career education is not a luxury, or at worst, a "frill"? Ideas anyone?

And, of course, the shortage of highly skilled workers does not only involve young people, it also involves adults, career changers, and retirees who need or want to continue working. What is the best way to show adults how to make the best career choice as well as all the opportunities and training available for high skilled jobs?

I'll keep you posted on what I learn from this forum.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Career Decision Profile now available

Although the Career Decision Profile (CDP) has been widely used by career counselors for many years, this is the first time it has been available for purchase online.

After receiving so many inquires to license the CDP, we've made it more accessible. In the next few weeks, we will be making the manual available as well. In the meantime, for assistance in using and interpreting CDP results, see "The Career Decision Profile: Using a measure of career decision status in counseling" by Lawrence K. Jones & Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, Journal of Career Assessment, 6, Spring, 1998, pp. 209-230.

One of the most popular uses for the CDP has been as a pre- and post- measure of clients' career decidedness, which can be used to show a counseling program's results (and to justify program funding requests).

If you are interested in seeing a free copy to evaluate, please email me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

CK Publishes Guide to Meeting ASCA Standards

Dr. Jones recently made available for download his free "Guide to Using the Career Key to Meet ASCA National Model Competencies." So far the feedback has been positive, but we'd like to hear from more people. This one-page guide helps school counselors use both our website and/or The Career Key test in creating their own curriculum.

Dr. Jones also gave a powerpoint presentation on this same subject at the Washington and Oregon School Counselors Associations' annual conference last January. If you'd like a copy, please let me know and I will forward that to you.

Differing Gifts...

Differing gifts . . .

My career direction in college? Boy, was I confused. I recall when I was a sophomore. I had just squeaked through Organic Chemistry -- a chemist I was not. I went to the college counselor and he had me take the Strong Interest Inventory. Later, between puffs on his pipe and scratching his head, he said my highest scores were for Plumber, Airline Pilot, and Carpenter; my next highest score was for Social Worker -- "Hmm . . . Larry, I don't know quite what to make of this." I don't remember the rest of our conversation . . .

Years later I learned that I have an unusual personality when viewed from John Holland's theory: Realistic-Social. He would call it "inconsistent". Inconsistent personality types are one of these pairs: Realistic-Social, Investigative-Enterprising, or Conventional-Artistic. People with these combinations are unusual and, you guessed it, have trouble making career decisions! It makes sense, because these personality pairs are largely opposites of each other. More on this . . .

I don't think Holland would use a label like "inconsistent" in career counseling. Words like "special" or "unique" have a much more positive sound. I like the phrase, "differing gifts". We all have them, and they are growing. The challenge is to understand and value them. Fortunately, with thoughtful effort, over time, we can usually find satisfying and fulfilling ways to use them.

I feel I have been successful for the most part, particularly with the support of my wife, but it is an ongoing project . . . I think most people are working on this -- knowing and valuing their gifts, finding a way to use them in their work and life.

What do you think?

Are you aware of your "differing gifts"?

Is it an "ongoing project" for you?

Have you found the activities at the Career Key website helpful? Like the one on Identifying Your Skills?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Top 10 Criteria for Job Satisfaction

When choosing a career, most people want to answer the question, "what career will make me happy?" If you think money and prestige are the top criteria people give, think again. Of the top ten criteria for job satisfaction, #1 on the list is the kind of work that makes best use of your talents and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Read Career Key's article on job satisfaction for more about what it is and how to improve yours.

Here are 8 ways to choose the right kind of work that will satisfy you (visit here for more details about each):
  1. Know yourself.
  2. Learn about the jobs you think will satisfy you.
  3. Consider meeting with a professional career counselor.
  4. Don't stay dissatisfied in your current job for too long.
  5. Be realistic about your expectations of a career. (Do forensic scientists (CSIs) really get to carry guns and wear sexy tops to work?)
  6. Is it the type of work you don't like or the current environment (boss, salary, etc.?)
  7. Can you put up with short-term dissatisfaction for a long-term gain?
  8. How much do you value your career in relation to other life activities?
What is your most important criteria for choosing the right career?

Friday, November 2, 2007

What career do your parents want you to choose?

Parents strongly influence their child's career choice. As a new parent, I now understand better why it would be so easy to get overly involved in my son's process of choosing a career, especially if it were in a direction I did not agree with (i.e. professional skydiver/stuntman). Could you see me approving of and supporting a skydiving career for this little guy? No way. But what about his perspective?

On our website, we suggest positive ways for parents to help their children in choosing a career. But how should those of us, regardless of age (parents still hold power over us no matter how old we are), handle our parents' input? Of course a lot depends on your relationship with your parents. What experience have you had with your parents' involvement in your career search? Has it been positive? Negative? How did you deal with it?

One strategy I suggest for dealing with your parents is to use the decision-making tool we provide at our website. One of steps is to look at the consequences of your choice, including how significant others, like your parents, will perceive your choice. Can you handle their disapproval, skepticism, or disappointment? How do you plan to respond? Preparation and consideration of your own emotional reaction ahead of time will help.

So for my son, he'd better be prepared to tell me why being a skydiving stuntman is the right choice for him...