Career Key

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Career Key Adds New Careers to the Career Test and Websites

The Career Key has added new and more careers to the "match your personality with careers" sections of The Career Key and The Career Key Canada, both on the popular career test and at the websites.

The Career Key’s author, Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, just completed a 2009 comprehensive update of our unique occupation classification system of careers that match Holland’s 6 personality types.

The Career Key now offers the most updated classification of occupations based on Holland’s Theory of Career Choice. We are working on an ePublication for career development professionals with 600+ occupational titles, including those from the O*Net – please comment or contact me if you are interested in being notified when it becomes available.

Dr. Jones added careers and shifted some work groups to reflect changes in technology, the economy, and job titles. To learn more about our unique, practically useful classification system and the updates, please visit our online Career Key Manual. A few weeks ago, we also updated the complete The Career Key Manual with new research studies, the updated classification system, and the new and unique Career Key Map to Career Clusters and Pathways. More about Career Clusters soon...

For technical reasons and to limit disruption to our current users, we are doing this in a gradual way. Here’s our 3 step roll out plan:
  1. We have already updated our paper/pencil version of the test available in our eBookstore. We also added a new, paper/pencil Canadian version of The Career Key test, with Canadian job titles. We also added Canadian careers less common in the U.S.
  2. In May, we will start updating the “Match Your Personality with Careers” section of our Career Key website. The new update is already online at The Career Key Canada website.
  3. This summer we will update the career selection pages of the online The Career Key test. But starting in May, current online Career Key test takers can begin accessing the new careers, in addition to the ones offered during the test.
A small sample of a few of the careers we added:

Realistic: Cartographer or Photogrammetrist
Investigative: Computer or Information Scientist
Artistic: Multi-Media Artist or Animator
Social: Health Educator
Enterprising: Financial Examiner
Conventional: Insurance Underwriter

As you can guess, we've been really busy. Let's just say Dr. Jones and I didn't have much of a Christmas vacation. (or much recent vacation for that matter) But we wanted to get all this information up and out being used. So enjoy! As always, if you don't see a career you think we should have listed or any other feedback, please comment or email me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Top 3 Barriers to Making a Career Decision

Many people choosing or changing a career encounter these top 3 barriers:
  1. Cultural transitions: military to civilian, government to private sector, immigrant working in a new country;
  2. Career indecision: being overwhelmed, fear of the unknown, and/or you’re just an indecisive person.
  3. Practical obstacles to employment: affordable childcare, disability, or finding reliable transportation to work, a lack of job skills or education
Not knowing how to work through and overcome these barriers is the biggest problem of all. Add the stress of tight finances, insecurity about your own abilities, and family pressures, it’s amazing anyone makes a breakthrough. But you can, using the suggestions below and the other resources on The Career Key, Career Key Canada and Self-Employment Key websites.

Whether you find this comforting or not, ultimately you are in the driver’s seat for your career path. I have 3 suggestions that will help you deal with whatever barriers apply to you:

Holland’s Theory of Career Choice.
Don’t try to “reverse engineer” your career choice – like, I can do X, therefore I must be X. It should be forward looking: I am most interested in and my personality fits ________, and how do I make that happen?

Learn about how Holland’s Theory helps you choose a satisfying career. Choose your career first, worry about how to get the job skills and education later while exploring careers and making a high quality decision.

Long-term planning.
If you plan towards a specific career goal, you’ll be more likely to reach it. It will also give you hope and motivation. Whether you’re a gas station attendant, foreign trained doctor, or a laid off executive, it’s possible you have to work in a lower paid job than you're used to while you go to school, network for your dream job, or start your own business. If possible, choose an interim career that matches your personality.

And if you’re an indecisive person to begin with, try finding your specific career goal by using these proven 4 steps to making a good career decision. We offer you a free downloadable “Decision Balance Sheet.” If that doesn’t help, try these other activities including personal career counseling.

Both online and offline, networking offers your best chances at learning about the careers that interest you, affordable childcare options, the best nonprofit and government resources, and getting moral support from other people. If you’re an Internet junkie, get outside and meet people in person. If you’re not familiar with online networking, figure it out – and talk to people who are doing it.

In future posts I’m going to focus on each of these top 3 barriers to career decision-making. Right now, I’m working on post about making a military to civilian transition. If you have something standing in your career path to share, I’d love to hear about it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Well-Organized Career Options: What’s On Your List?

If you are choosing a career, have you ever considered how all your career options are organized? I bet you haven’t – but why not? Being “well organized” isn't just for Martha Stewart wanna-bes or accountants, is it?

Being well-organized is cool. The Container Store has made it acceptable to pay $50 for a plastic storage container made in China that you could have purchased at Target for $10.99. The Container Store version is just more beautiful. Also think IKEA. Love those brightly colored containers.

And you know how financial gurus say treat your physical money with the respect it deserves? (not stuffed loose in your pocket for example).

Being organized means you have your life put together – something to be admired and an efficient way to access your stuff. Smart organization can also help you make a big life decision like choosing or changing a career.

You might want to consider how your buffet of career choices is organized. How else can you be sure that when you choose your career, you’re looking at your options in an efficient, comprehensive way?

The Unhelpful Alphabetical Career Laundry List
How many of you have received an alphabetical laundry list of “matching” careers from a valid or invalid career test? “You should be an: actor, architect, art therapist, author…..” Everybody has.

The Smart, Organized Alternative for Matching Careers
If you want to see a science-based way to organize career choices, visit Career Key’s article “Match Your Personality with Careers.” For each Holland personality type, you can see a list of occupations organized into work groups – related careers with similar worker traits, skills, and abilities. If you’re from Canada, go to the Career Key Canada’s article. Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, The Career Key’s author and a vocational expert, organized this system – not a marketing copy writer.

Go to any other website offering a career test to the public, free or otherwise, and you will not find career options so well organized in a practical and useful way.

You have to be a special person/geek to love classification systems for careers – also referred to as “taxonomies.” Recently I’ve met a few like minded professionals who care about them as much as I do. I appreciate them also because my family is largely made up of geeks, linear thinkers, and engineers.

So I dedicate this post to my fellow taxonomy enthusiasts and career development practitioners who see the value in a well-organized and high quality approach to choosing a career. I think users appreciate it too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choosing a Career in Canada?

Career Key Canada, our new resource for helping Canadians choose or change careers, is off to a great start! Last week I spent 4 days in Toronto at Cannexus 2009, the national career development conference for Canada. Our new site links your Holland personality to Canadian careers and Canadian career information - the only scientifically valid career test based on Holland's Theory to do so.

Here I am holding down the fort. Fortunately I didn't have to worry about my laptop going missing since my neighbors were the Canadian Forces. Don't we all have a renewed appreciation for our Navy folks in light of all the piracy news? Talk about a much needed ego boost for us here in the States, we needed to take out some bad guys...

I gave a presentation in addition to manning the exhibitor table and I have to say this has been one of the best conferences I have been to. The career counsellors I met were very friendly and interested in sharing their goals and challenges. There was a lot of interest and I am working on getting back to the many people I met.

If there are any career counsellors or career development practitioners out there, in Canada or the U.S. who want to try out and evaluate any of our Career Key tests or products, please email me: julietjones at I would be glad to help you.

So I'm back to posting to the blog after a little hiatus. I'm not one of those Twitterers or Bloggers who hires someone to blog under my name - so I have to write it myself. Lucky for you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Practice makes perfect: I hate it when Mom is right

Recently it's been hard to find time to blog. I'm preparing for my Career Key Canada presentation and exhibitor table at Cannexus 2009, Canada's national career development conference, which starts on Monday.

I've been addicted to TED and Slideshare watching better presenters than I am to improve my presentation skills. Even though I practiced law and did courtroom litigation for a number of years, I still have to refresh my presentation skills. And just because you're a lawyer doesn't make you a good public speaker. I was also reminded that practicing, out loud any oral presentation is absolutely crucial.

And as you can see from the photo of the wonderful Julia Child and her monkfish at left, practicing over a few days gave me the clarity that this was not the right picture of her for my presentation. Associating monkfish, no matter how great it tastes, with my company is perhaps unwise. Don't get the Julia Child, Career Key Canada analogy? Sorry, have to attend my Cannexus presentation to find out!

If you're interviewing for a job, conducting an informational interview, or any other oral presentation, I highly recommend practicing what you'll say in front of the mirror or someone else. It takes me a few "takes" before I realize I can talk less and more effectively say the same thing. And you gain confidence each time you present it, which makes success a self-fufilling prophecy.

My mother told me practice makes perfect - when I was learning the piano. And like any good daughter, don't I hate she was right! About a great many things... Publishes Great Review of "What Job is Best for Me?"

I want to say thank you to Ben Eubanks, a writer at the popular site, for giving us such a positive review for our newly updated eBook, "2009 What Job is Best for Me?" He did a great job and really focused on what's important about choosing a career.