Career Key

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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Career Clusters Interest Survey Validity Questioned in Recent Study

The Career Clusters Interest Survey (CCIS) is a scientifically invalid measure for measuring your students' or clients' interests for choosing a Career Cluster or Career Pathway, according to Dominic R. Prime and Terence Tracey's article "Psychometric Properties of the Career Clusters Interest Survey" in the May 2010 Journal of Career Assessment (JCA). It's available through your public or local university library.

The first study ever done of the CCIS, offered by the States' Career Clusters Initiative, shows that the CCIS has serious flaws. For example, it does not measure 3 of the 6 Holland personality types, specifically the Conventional, Realistic, and Investigative personality types.

According to the JCA article, "[u]sing the CCIS to guide students could result in a very restricted examination of occupations." 

If you'd like to use an affordable, scientifically valid measure of Holland's 6 personality types to match students' interests with career clusters and career pathways, please visit our "Choosing a Career Cluster, Field or Pathway" article at The Career Key website. You can download a map that shows how the clusters and pathways are related to interests, the Holland personality types, and occupations.

The Journal of Career Assessment article mentions other scientifically valid measures as alternatives to the Career Clusters Interest Survey if you want to explore more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Which Engineering Career or College Major Matches Your Personality?

If you are considering an engineering career, college major, or training program, Holland's Theory of Career Choice can help you narrow down your choices and specialty. It can help you sort out what kind of engineer or engineering technician you'd like to be.

According to a recent, excellent Wall Street Journal article, "A Career in Engineering",
"Even though you'll have to decide on a specialization while in college, most recruiters say engineers fall into their specific niche by identifying what they're naturally good at, or what they most enjoy."
Holland's Theory gives you a scientific way to do just that - identify your interests. Through 6 personality types, you can measure your interests and see occupations and majors that match.  Research shows a good match between your personality type and your career choice lead to greater job satisfaction and success. If you're choosing a college major or training program, a good interest-major match will likely result in higher grades.

So it's important to choose a engineering career compatible with your Holland personality type.

Not all engineering careers fall under one personality type.  In fact, they fall under two: Realistic and Investigative. More "hands-on", practical and mechanical kinds of engineering careers are associated with the Realistic Personality type. And the more scientific and precise engineering disciplines are associated with the Investigative Personality type.

In engineering, matching occupations can be basically broken down into groups like this:

Realistic Personality Type
"Engineering" Group* (see examples below)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Engineer
  • Engineering technologies (technicians, technologists...)
  • Surveyor
Investigative Personality Type
"Computer Science and Technology" Group
  • Computer Software Engineer
"Engineering" Group
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
You can see all the matching careers for the Realistic and Investigative personality types by visiting our article "Match Your Personality with Careers."

See more "Green Jobs", including engineering-related careers, at a similar article, "Match Your Personality with Green Jobs."

*The Career Key method of grouping matching careers by "Work Groups" within each personality type allows you to explore careers associated with similar worker traits, skills, abilities, temperament, and interests.

Being married to an engineer with a love of Dilbert, I can say that puzzle-solving skills, an interest in science and math, and a sense of humor are also ingredients for success.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Using Holland's Theory and Career Interests to Help Your Clients

I just got back into town from giving a presentation on Holland's Theory of Career Choice.  I focused on how vocational rehabilitation counselors can use career interests to help their clients make good career decisions.

After a passport fiasco (of my own making), I finally made it to the beautiful shores of Lake Waskesiu in central/north Saskatchewan where my gracious host, Jac Quinlan (at left) from the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board was nice enough to let me speak a day late.  The reward was a welcoming crowd and beautiful scenery.

The bottom line questions most counselors or career development professionals helping people make career changes and choices ask are:
  1. How can you make my job easier?
  2. What are the best, most effective, affordable tools for helping my clients?
Without a doubt, Holland's Theory of Career Choice is a necessary tool in the toolbox.  And The Career Key and Career Key Canada websites give professionals the scientifically valid, affordable resources to put it into practice with their clients.

Holland's Theory is intuitive and easy to explain to people. It's visually attractive too:
I really feel passionate about the usefulness of our work based on Holland Theory. It's not the only proven theory out there but it certainly is one of the most easily understood and put into practice; an excellent starting place for clients.  I guess that means I'm "drinking the [Career Key] Kool-Aid." But you already knew that.

Now that the summer is over and my travel is done, I'm ready to start blogging again.