Career Key

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recent Career Development Research on Physical Disabilities

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Veterans Day November 11, I gleaned some practice tips from recent research studies on physical disability and career development.

The goal is to inform and link career development practitioners working with disabled clients to research and resources they may not be aware of. 

Why should we pay attention to disability in career development? 
  1. In 2005, one in five U.S. residents reported some level of disability (U.S. Census 2008) with the number rising with large numbers of returning veterans. 
  2. Individuals with disabilities comprise the largest minority group in the United States, with almost half the population living with one or more chronic health conditions. (Foley-Nipcon and Lee, 2012)
Finding: Severity of the disability and age of disability onset matters

When counseling physically disabled individuals, “the perceived severity of the disability and the point in the life span at which it occurred are not negligible details…”*

Study authors found that:
  • Disability severity and age of onset significantly relate self-efficacy with Realistic, Artistic, Social and Conventional domains. Only the Investigative domain had insignificant relation – perhaps because of its focus “on mental tasks performed alone and that require minimal physical mobility."
  •  “[S]elf-rated disability severity does not have a detrimental relation with vocational self-efficacies among those who become disabled early in life.”
  •  By contrast, “individuals who become disabled later in life show a steeply negative relationship between self-rated disability severity and self-efficacies.”
*Tenenbaum, R. Z., Byrne, C. J., and Dahling, J. J. (2014). Interactive Effects of Physical Disability Severity and Age of Disability Onset on RIASEC Self-Efficacies, Journal of Career Assessment, Vol. 22(2) 274-289.  Note: this study did not include anyone with blindness. Please see any other limitations the authors list.

This study supports recommendations in the diverse populations chapter of NCDA’s Career Development Facilitator “Facilitating Career Development: Student Manual (Rev. 2nd Edition). It recommends that practitioners consider when in the lifespan the disability occurred – taking into account possible feelings of loss, guilt and grief.

Additional resources:
National Career Development Association website’s List of Resources for People with Disabilities

Eby, L. T., Johnson, C. D., & Russell, J. E. A. (1998). A psychometric review of career assessment tools for use with diverse individuals. Journal of Career Assessment, 6, 269–310.

Feldman, D. C. (2004). The role of physical disabilities in early career: Vocational choice, the school-to-work transition, and becoming established. Human Resource Management Review, 14, 247–274.

Foley-Nicpon, M., & Lee, S. (2012) Disability research in counseling psychology journals: A 20-year content analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology 59, 392–398.

Peterson, D. B., & Elliott, T. R. (2008). Advances in conceptualizing and studying disability. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Handbook of counseling psychology (4th ed., pp. 212–230). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

If you know of other research or resources I have not included, please leave a comment and I will add it to the post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

4 Ways Veterans Can Successfully Make the Military to Civilian Transition

To celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, Career Key recommends four strategies veterans can use to make a successful military to civilian transition. They are:
  1. Evaluate your readiness to make a career decision
  2. Use the 4 S's Transition Model for a little structure and self-assessment: Situation, Self, Supports, and Strategies
  3. Explore and narrow career options to personality-career matches using Holland's Theory, and
  4. Follow the 4-step ACIP decision making model.
To see the full details, see press release, "4 Success Strategies for Veterans Making the Military to Civilian Transition" dated October 31, 2014.

Take action now by:
  1. Evaluating your readiness to make decisions using the Career Decision Profile.
  2. Visiting this short slideshow that explains the 4 S Transition Model and asking yourself questions about the 4 S's.
  3. Learning about how to match your personality with career options
  4. Download a free Decision Balance Sheet and watch a short video about decision making at the Career Key website.

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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Career Key Test's new version - a video demo for group customers

If you are interested in video demos of the new version of the Career Key test going live later this month, start with this video. It's specifically for Career Key's group customers. For more information about the new version of the Career Key test, visit Career Key's Group Discount page.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Holland Personality Type Patterns That Are Inconsistent - and Their Advantages

One part of using Holland's Theory of Career Choice to choose a career is the concept of choosing a compatible work environment, one that matches your strongest personality types. Most people are a combination of types, most often found close to one another on the Holland Hexagon. The hexagon shows the relationship between the types - the closer they are to one another, the more compatible.

But what if your strongest personality types are opposite each other on the hexagon, like Realistic-Social (RS) Investigative-Enterprising (IE), or Conventional-Artistic (CA)? These are sometimes referred to as inconsistent personality patterns. But don't be alarmed.

While these combinations are less common, they are normal. In fact, Career Key's author Dr. Lawrence K. Jones has an inconsistent pattern himself: Realistic-Social. His personal story also shows these characteristics.

To learn more about understanding and taking advantage of these kinds of personality type combinations, visit Career Key's articles:

If you're new to Holland's approach, then start with our Holland's Theory of Career Choice article. We plan on adding a short video about inconsistent personality patterns soon to Career Key's YouTube channel so please subscribe if you want to be notified when that comes out.

Is College Worth It? 6 Ways to Increase Chances of Success in College

More students and parents are asking themselves, is college is worth it? A recent Pew study visualized in TIME magazine finds more people questioning college's value, and yet statistics are clear that it is. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's 2014 report, "Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?" shows compelling reasons to go to college. But the report raises valid concerns about underemployment after graduation and the differing value of certain college majors and skills in the labor market.

Like anything else, research and planning ahead give a big payoff in these types of life decisions.  In Career Key's new website article"Is College Worth It?", counseling psychologist Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, NCC looks at whether people are getting good jobs after graduation based on the latest statistics. Then he recommends how people can increase their chances of success after college graduation.

These recommendations include:

  1. Choose a major that matches your personality and interests.
  2. Consider choosing a major in high school before you choose a college.
  3. Be open to choosing a good job that does not require a 4 year degree.
  4. Have realistic employment expectations; Underemployment is a reality you may have to face.
  5. Be smart and make good decisions about your education plans using an effective decision making process.
  6. Be aware of how the nature of work is changing and plan ways you can respond and adapt.

For more about why college is worth it and what's behind these recommendations, visit Career Key's Choose a College Major section and "Is College Worth It?"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Help Choosing a Major Needed More Than Ever

Statistics show that students need help choosing a major now more than ever.  The November 2013 ACT College Choice Report found that only about one-third (36%) of college bound students taking the ACT are choosing majors that fit their interests or Holland personality. And we know from personality-major match research, this will very likely negatively impact these students' success.

Research shows that students who do choose a major that fits their personality and interests, what we call a close “personality-major match,” are more likely to succeed in college with:
(1) higher grades;
(2) greater persistence in a major; and
(3) higher on-time graduation rates.

College completion rates continue to be low. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 38 percent of students entering a 4 year college graduate in 4 years, 59 percent in six. About 40 percent drop out. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013).

And there is a steep financial penalty to those who switch majors and delay graduation.  One study showed that those working toward a bachelor’s degree lose in earnings, on average, $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) for each additional year it takes to finish their degree.  In addition, many studies support increased salary and job satisfaction for people who choose a career that matches their personality.

So how can students make better decisions about majors? Career Key has several affordable resources students can use to make good education decisions:
Match Up! EBook, available in the Career Key Store
  1. Free eBook downloads: “Choosing a College Major Based on Your Personality: What does the research say?” We also have a special Professionals’ Guide to Personality College Major Match and Student Success for counselors, career development professionals, and educators.
  2. Career Key's unique eBook, Match Up! Your Personality to College Majors and Training Programs 2014. Used with results of the Career Key career test, it offers the only complete list of U.S. and Canadian majors and programs of study scientifically classified by Holland personality type – enabling a close personality-major match.
  3. Self-help articles like What is a College Major, Personality Major Match, Holland College Major Environments, and What are Liberal Arts Majors.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What Job is Best for Me? 2014: New Edition of Popular EBook

What Job is Best for Me?, Career Key's most popular eBook, has just been updated for 2014. For people choosing a career, it is recommended as a companion to the Career Key's valid career test.  This career interest inventory is based on the respected Holland's Theory of Career Choice.

In the eBook, Career Key author and nationally recognized counseling psychologist Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, NCC focuses on helping people narrow their career choices and how to make the best career decision.  It include a free decision balance sheet and many articles on ways to learn more about career options and career specific networking.

Dr. Jones also shares his personal career journey in photos and words.  His background and experience as the first in his family to attend college and graduate school gives him a unique perspective on the challenges of taking risks in career choices.

"What Job is Best for Me?" 2014 is available for purchase in the Career Key Store for $8.95.  There is a special 20% discount when the Career Key test and What Job is Best for Me? are purchased together, for $14.50.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New 2012-2022 BLS Employment Projections: What Career Counselors Need to Know

The U.S. 2012-2022 Employment Projections provide new data for career counselors and career development professionals to rely upon in helping people make career and education choices.  I put together a summary of resources to help you incorporate this new information in your work. You can make your own expert “take” on the data based on your experience and geographic area.

Start with the Basics and the Big Picture
You will find helpful summaries about the projections in the Winter 2013/14 issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. The graphics are great for people (like me) who need a visual boost to understand data. If you are short on time, read the Introduction and the Occupational Employment section (the PDF versions are easier to read).  For those of us who do not work with these numbers every day, it helps to get reminders on how to interpret the data.  For example, “faster growth” does not necessarily mean a greater number of new jobs.

Trends and Highlights 
  • Occupations related to healthcare are projected to have the fastest growth and add the most new jobs.
  • Most growing occupations require a degree or post-secondary training/certification.
  • Workers make more money with a degree or post-secondary training/certification.
  • More older people will be working and working longer (the 65-75 age group more than any other group).
  • The labor force continues to become more diverse with Caucasians’ share declining and Hispanics’ share to rise.
  • The construction industry is recovering, but not yet to 2007 levels.
  • Most job growth is coming from replacing workers, not new jobs. 
Most of the trends are unsurprising given technology advances and the state of our economy.  Issues continue with unemployment, underemployment, and most job creation in poorly paid retail and service occupations.

Best Graphs to Look At
The best graphs to understand job outlook by occupation are in the Occupational Employment Section of the OOQ I mentioned earlier.  If you want to drill down to promising occupations by degree level, scroll down to the last half of the article (page 13 on the PDF).

Differences between the 2010-2020 and 2012-2022 Projections
Laurence Shatkin nicely summarizes in his Career Laboratory Blog the differences between the employment projections two years ago and the new ones just released.

Help Others with Critical Thinking
It pays to help people evaluating career choices take a hard look at how “promising” and growing certain occupations are. For example, lawyers continue to get a high growth and median wage marks in the BLS data.  But the legal profession is going through big upheaval and change, due to technology, the Internet, offshoring, and businesses’ willingness to pay the high cost of using large law firms.  There is also a wide gap between the number of middle-class and low income people needing legal representation and lawyers who can afford to serve them. For example, the Washington State bar association magazine has had a number of articles about these changes and the difficulties for young lawyers to get hired.  So people should not just immediately look at the graph and say, hey – lawyers is a promising career. It may be for some but there are many variables to consider.

New Projections and Occupations Added to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

The new job outlook information is now available for specific occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, just out yesterday (January 8, 2014).

As a consequence, Career Key updated its career interest inventory to include several new occupations added to the Handbook (see the Teacher’s Guide below) along with the new job outlook projections for all the test’s occupations.

There is a new version of the OOH “Not just for teachers” Teacher’s Guide, that includes a list of the new occupations listed in the Handbook. Counselors and other career development professionals will find the explanations and context for data helpful.

Funny Note: The OOH's occupational profile for legislators has been deleted, gone the way of textile occupations.  Hmmm. 

We are huge fans of both the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. As Mr. Shatkin points out in his blog, we are extremely lucky to have government resources like these. Even Canada, Great Britain and other countries you would think have similar resources - in fact, do not.  So give a cheer for OOH and OOQ author, the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and have fun with numbers! It only comes once every two years…