Career Key

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Choose a college major that fits your personality - not someone else's expectations

Don't feel pressured to choose a college major or educational option that you're not passionate about - just because it's a "top" major or it's your parents' choice for you.  But don't shut out other recommendations either, just because your parents suggest it.  Do your own research and make your own major choice - you're the person who has to live with it (and God forbid, enjoy it!).  Start by putting together your own post-graduation plan (see High Quality Decisions).

It’s easy to get drawn in by media coverage and surveys about the “top college majors”, the ones it seems you’re supposed to choose if you want a job after graduation.  For example, according to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, the top 5 academic majors that had the highest percentage of job offers at graduation in 2010 are:
  1. Accounting (46.9% got job offers)
  2. Business (45.4%)
  3. Computer Science (44.1%)
  4. Engineering (41.0%)
  5. Social Sciences (40.5%)
Surprise: When you dig further into the numbers, you see that there are other strong fields: visual and performing arts majors (40.5% got job offers).

This list is great for Enterprising and Investigative personality types - but still limiting, even for them - and extremely limiting for everyone else.  I have nothing against Accountants (please ignore our Facebook Page link to Monty Python's Vocational Guidance Counselor) or Business (as I am a businesswoman now). It's just that there are so many other options to consider alongside them.

So looking at “top” or “best” majors can be a very narrow way to look at the job market post graduation. The most important information is whether a major fits you - your interests and personality. The key is to think outside the box when it comes to choosing a major, and make sure you've truly explored the many options that match your Holland personality type. Then look at job outlook - there are promising jobs for all 6 personality types.

And by exploring college majors, I'm referring to the activities in:

Learn about Occupations that are associated with different majors
Learn More About the Jobs that Interest Me
Learn more about the college majors that interest me.
and don't forget,

Please check out the many other "career exploration" articles on the Career Key website to explore.

Friday, October 15, 2010

John L. Holland's Papers Now Available at the University of Missouri

If you're a graduate student or scholar doing research on John L. Holland, the author of Holland's Theory of Career Choice on which The Career Key test is based, his papers are now archived in the Western Historical Manuscript Collection (WHMC) of the Ellis Library at the University of Missouri (UM).  Read more about his papers and Dr. Holland's relationship to the University at the UM College of Education website.

For a preliminary listing of the collection's contents, please visit the John L. Holland Papers page at the WHMC website.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

8 Strategies for Parents to Help Their Children's Career Development

We just released a new update to our popular eBook, How Parents Can Help Their Children's Career Development, available in our eBookstore for $4.95 a copy, $6.95 for a license to make 25 copies for your group.

A note from Career Key author Dr. Lawrence K. Jones about this eBook:

As a parent, I understand some of the demands you face and the dream . . . that your child have the brightest future possible. My wife and I raised two children who have turned out just as we had hoped.

From this experience and work as a counseling psychologist in the fields of career and human development -- I have distilled eight strategies that will have a significant impact on your child’s career satisfaction and success. These eight recommendations are clear, concise, and practical. Many parent educators, youth leaders, and counselors request permission to make copies. They require self-discipline and work, but following them will repay you many times over.

This eBook now includes a 2-page handout with the 17 Foundation Skills needed for all workers in the high-performance workplace of the 21st century.

Make sure you go to the right hand side of The Career Key home page to click on the parent resource page that matches you:
As always, we appreciate your feedback. Don't hesitate to email me or make a comment on the blog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Refocus Your Career Development: The Power of Connecting In Person

Are you reading the same career networking and “personal branding” advice over and over again - it’s all about your Internet presence and your appearance to others. Blog! Tweet! Update your Facebook/LinkedIn/(fill in the blank here) status. Welcome to 21st century narcissism. That all being said, I appreciate Facebook for keeping up with friends and enjoy writing this blog. But it’s only part, maybe a smaller part than you think, of your career development.

What’s truly important are our connections we make with people, particularly in person. That's true for career networking - meeting people who you can help and who can help you, be successful in a career path.

Think back to the people in your life who have given you the most joy, the most fun, and sparked the most rewarding work.  How did you meet them?  How did you connect with them? Chances are, even if you met through the Internet, your relationship didn’t really gel until you talked by phone or met in person.

Recently, I got out of the office to meet my former Career Development Facilitator (CDF) instructor at a local lakeside walk.  After spending more time than I had anticipated with her, I got back to my office, energized.  New ideas were flowing. Talking with someone outside of my employer but in my same field was invaluable - I needed to escape some tunnel vision.  Plus, she’s a really great person - that positive feeling stayed with me for days.

I honestly never feel like that when I connect with people online - by email or via networking services like LinkedIn.  I’m pleased to establish online relationships, sometimes excited, but I just don’t get the same warm feeling unless I talk by phone or meet someone in person.  Maybe I’m just unusual, but I doubt it.

Here are some ways to refocus on “in person” connections (I’m doing them too):
  1. Who on your contacts list haven’t you talked or met with in awhile that you miss?
  2. Are there some people you only call when you need something?  Try calling just to say “hello” - maybe you can offer to help them with something. If you sense their hesitation when you call, you know you’ve outworn the welcome mat and you need to redeem yourself.
  3. Is your list of contacts a mile wide and an inch deep? Maybe you need to spend more time on more rewarding connections - people you really like or want to get to know.
  4. Are you having lunch/coffee with the same people over and over again?  Is there much new to talk about or learn? Maybe it’s time to meet new people.
  5. Are you having trouble picking up the phone? Making the time for an in person meeting? It's easy to sit in front of a computer - sometimes hard to write an email that expresses what really want to say.  But it's definitely more of a challenge, especially for the less outgoing, to talk to people. Consider it practice for improving your communication skills - one of the 17 Foundation Skills.
Maybe you need to spend a little less time on social media (like I have), and more time setting up coffee “dates” LOL, and OMG picking up the telephone!

P.S. If you need convincing (or a reminder) about the power of that in person connection...
I recently got hooked on the BBC’s The Choir, a series about a choirmaster who starts a community choir in South Oxhey, a place north of London that’s seen better times.  It’s moving and inspirational.  It makes you think about the power of community - and the power of personal connections between people.  If you can get it on Netflix or see it on cable OnDemand, I highly recommend it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

United Kingdom Career Information at The Career Key

Thanks to input from our new customer British Airways, we've created a special career information page for all United Kingdom visitors to The Career Key website. We've put together a list of recommended links* to United Kingdom specific career and occupational information. This includes UK specific:
  • job profiles and duties,
  • education requirements, 
  • salary; and 
  • job outlook.  
 We also have portals to career information sites in Wales and Scotland.
So once you've matched your personality with careers using The Career Key test, you can now look up UK specific information about the occupations that interest you. Click on "United Kingdom" at the bottom of The Career Key home page.  You already have the ability to see matching Canadian careers and occupational information, in addition to the U.S. information available during The Career Key test.

This has been a long time coming - it's a relatively recent development that the UK government has made occupational information available online.

*The Career Key does not accept advertising or paid links. We only recommend and link to sites we think provide the greatest benefit and most objective information to our visitors.