New Year, New Career 2013

The New Year is almost here! This is a great time to step back and reflect on your career goals. For many people, little thought was put into their career choice. Some may think that work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable, and yet others may have outgrown their career. With so much of your time devoted to work, why not find a career that brings you passion? The first step in finding work that works for you is a thorough self-assessment. This assessment includes looking at your personality, interests, skills, values, financial needs, and lifestyle.

What Type are You?

Various theorists believe there are sixteen different personality types. For each of these personality types, an individual has natural preferences (i.e., certain things just feel more natural or comfortable than others). For example, while one person may be more suited toward working alone, another may prefer working in a team environment. What one person may like doing, another might find boring. If you like expressing your creativity, sitting behind a desk answering phones all day may not match your personality style. It’s important to take stock of what type of work and work setting you prefer, and the type of people with which you prefer to interact.

Where Do Your Interests Lie?

What are your career interests? If you already have some ideas, great! Your next step is to determine which ones are in alignment with your personality, skills, and values and then research those options. If, however, you are unclear where your interests lie, you need to do your homework. One effective exercise involves thinking back over your life and choosing five activities you did well, enjoyed doing, and the time flew by while doing them. These are your success stories. This exercise can include work and non-work related activities, including childhood experiences. These memories may uncover activities you may want to include in your next career. Perhaps you volunteered on an election campaign and thoroughly loved it. You might want to consider politics as one career avenue to explore.

Transferable Skills

Utilizing the skills that you are good at and enjoy are important considerations for career satisfaction. Don’t limit yourself to work-related skills. Throughout your life you have also gained new skills from hobbies, volunteer experiences, and internships. These skills are called transferable skills. In other words, these skills can be transferred from one job to another and one career to another. Examples of such skills include implementing, supervising, planning and organizing, physical activity, and selling. If you like being active and are good at working with your hands, a construction job may be one option to explore.

Work Values

Another important factor in career satisfaction is compatible work values. Work values are those principles that are important to you in a job. They are valued so highly that they influence your life’s decisions or behaviors. Work values include advancement, status, security, and helping society. If you want your evenings and weekends free, a career as a corporate executive requiring extensive travel may not be a good fit. Individuals early in their career may have valued advancement and status, successfully climbing the corporate ladder. Now at mid-life, some of these same individuals are reassessing those values with either a desire to spend more time with their family and friends, or with an interest in leading a less hectic lifestyle.

Generating Career Options

Once you have completed a comprehensive self-assessment, you are ready to generate possible career opportunities. Possibilities may include changing your career, a new commitment to your current position, or a lifestyle change. After you have compiled a list, you will research your options. Research can be accomplished by reading and conducting informational interviews. The next step is evaluating your options and deciding which one(s) to pursue. Finally, you can begin self-marketing through networking, resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. The career of your dreams can happen. Don’t give up!

How To Find Ideal Career Assessment Tools And Judge Its Reliability

Career Assessment is an important step which ensures individuals select a career option that best suits their interests and capabilities. An assessment test will help organizations find ideal candidates for a particular job depending on the requirements of the position as well as the inclination and capabilities of the individual.

As a career counselor there are several points that need to be considered while planning the assessment procedure. The first thing that counselors must note is the kind of respondents that individuals want to seek and have to model the test around the strengths and weaknesses of the targeted respondents.

The purpose of your test too must be determined so as to maximize its effectiveness. You must be clear whether the test is for individuals who are yet to begin their career exploration process or to find candidates for specific positions within an organization.

Selecting career assessments often is a balancing act-between cost, certification requirements, reliability and validity, and the needs of clients and employing organizations. But you can’t even begin to contemplate this balance until you have the answers to some basic questions about the assessments you are considering.

The Myers Briggs personality test is an important element of assessment of personality types and is highly respected for its authenticity of results. This test was created during the World War II period in order to find the most ideal jobs for women. Over time organizations and career counselors started using this test as a benchmark for psychometric analysis.

Organizations rely greatly on the MBTI test to help them find the most ideal employees for the jobs that are being offered. These tests work in the favor of both the employee and the organization. It helps employees find the most apt jobs that match their education, experience and interests.

Although the Myers Briggs Type indicator has been criticized by individuals who have questioned its validity; the test continues to remain one of the most important tools of career counselors. This test can be flexible and can easily be used by all types or organizations in order to find adequate employees.

There is a staggering variety in the quality of assessments available to career counselors. Both research and graphics sophistication to improve usability increase an instrument’s cost. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and poorly developed, less expensive assessments can do more harm than good to your clients. As you consider the cost question, be sure to factor in licensing and leasing costs, expenditures for special equipment and/or software, administrative time for scoring, and postage expense for shipping and scoring, along with the obvious cost per administration.

For psychological assessment to be truly relevant counselors must keep up to date with the current editions of the assessment methods in order to provide optimum and reliable results.

College Costs Prohibitive – Volunteer Your Services to Find Careers Without College

Considering the economy and the struggle many people are having just getting a job with or without a college degree, it is essential to look at alternatives to a college education. Even though statistics report that approximately 35 percent of students who enter college will drop out during the first year and only 63 percent of students who enroll in a four year degree even earn a degree, the main reason students drop out is for survival. They must make an income to provide a living for themselves.

Some of the alternatives to college include volunteering,

Volunteering offers a back-door approach to getting a job. When you volunteer, you expose yourself to an avenue of career exploration that is unique. You will also be providing yourself with opportunities to network in the real workplace. If you like the organization that you are volunteering for and they like you, you might even get a full-time job offer.

Let’s explore volunteer work at the organization ‘Habitat for Humanity’ for example; there are construction, office and global opportunities. If you feel you know something about construction or would like to learn about construction, you can learn roofing, interior and finish work and renovations. They provide instruction, supervision, power tools, building materials and ladders. Learn to work in a team and have the opportunity to work alongside local volunteers and future homeowners. If you want to learn skills for working in the office, you can apply to work in their office where you can learn administration and organizational skills. If you feel you would like to travel, the Global Village volunteers program will expose you to different countries and cultures. The possibilities are endless. Volunteer work can lead to skills for a full-time job.

Consider that “on the job” training can circumvent large college loans, which your parents are stuck paying off for years to come. In some cases, your parents have worked their whole lives to be able to send you to college and now with this economy one of them may have lost a job or they just can’t afford to send you anymore. They may be the parents that will forgo retirement funds to put you through college. In many cases, you are saddled with school loans forever, not to mention the loss of your spirit around having so much debt.

It’s time to take a new look at what is going on in real life regarding college. Volunteering might be a wonderful way to enter the work world and find something you love to do. There is no harm done if you decide it isn’t for you.

Ask you parents to support your exploration before you embark on the college path. It’s a great idea to do something for a year that will further your growth before you make a decision to go to college. Perhaps they’ll pay your expenses while you volunteer to find something you love to do. At the very least, you will figure out what you don’t want to do.

There are many wonderful organizations in which to volunteer. If you Google “volunteer programs” in your area, you are sure to come up with something of interest to you. Taking this time now will enhance your future career.