Friday, February 27, 2009

Planning Your Career Adventure

There are several factors that contribute to an enjoyable and successful career adventure. Matching your preferences and abilities to the jobs available in this economy is no small feat, but it is a challenge that you may be facing. Finding the perfect job involves exploring several issues, including:

• Your interest in the things that make up the job’s responsibilities and tasks
  • Do you know what the job really entails?
  • Do you like to do the things that someone must do to be successful in this job?
  • Will your interest translate into skills that will make you good at this job?
• The temperament required for success in the job
  • Do you have the stomach for the conflict management skills required?
  • Do you want to manage people and their problems?
  • Are you excited and happy when you come to work?
• Your aptitude for doing the type of work required by the job
  • Can you develop the required skills and knowledge? How long will it take for you to get up to speed and be productive in the job?
  • Are you naturally inclined to making the types of decisions that would make you successful in the job?
  • Do you have inherent abilities that would benefit you in the job?
• Personal goals and limitations
  • Are you willing and able to relocate? To where?
  • Are you willing and able to travel? How often?
  • What is best for your family?
The more accurate and honest the information is that you share with the recruiter or hiring manager the more likely you are to realize the type of career adventure that would truly benefit both the hiring company and you. To aid you in determining what information should be helpful the following websites and books have been collected. You may utilize none, one, or all of these tools. The choice is yours to make. My goal is to help you identify the most accurate information that would truly benefit both you and the company in planning your career adventure.

One of the best texts on job content is the “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, published by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is not light reading. It would literally take you days to read through all of the job descriptions. Of course, most people simply read the descriptions of the jobs that they think that they want. That leaves them with only half of the answer. The deeper, and more effective question to ask is, “Would I be good at this job?” Do you prefer to do the types of things that are required by the job? Can I turn my interests into real skills and be successful?

The classic text on determining job preferences is “What color is my parachute?” by Richard Nelson "Dick" Bolles. This year's edition has been completely revised and rewritten and is designed to work in conjunction with the book's website. At the heart of Bolles's formula for finding the right job are two questions: What do you want to do? Where do you want to do it?

Capitalizing on the popularity of self-help career reference manuals, several websites have taken the initiative to regurgitate much of the same advice online. Of these the most comprehensive and useful are those put together by colleges for their recent graduates and alumni. At you will find the University of Waterloo’s Career Development Manual. In its second edition it is one of the most-visited career assistance sites on the Internet. It guides the browser through a series of explorations and decisions leading to an overall life and career map.

Clearly, the challenge begins with knowing what your interests are and whether you can translate those interests into career success in a given job. If you have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® or another profile that measures interest or preferences then you can look up the types of jobs that are usually associated with that type of individual. For example, an INFP in MBTI® terms is “particularly interested in being a counselor, editor, education consultant, English teacher, fine arts teacher, journalist, psychologist, religious educator, social scientist, social worker, teacher, writer, and other occupations that engage their values” according to

Another website that links your preferences directly to the jobs found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook is You take a free 71-item questionnaire and get a brief synopsis of your motivations and top ten career matches. You can even look up five of those matches for free. offers a free tool called MAPP that is comprehensive in its scope and job matching capabilities. MAPP is a fully integrated, computer-aided vocational assessment system that:
• Measures your potential and motivation for given areas of work.
• Describes your temperament, aptitude and vocational interests.
• Formats information in three ways:
  1. Narrative
  2. Numeric
  3. Graphical
I also highly recommend O*NET OnLine. O*NET helps you narrow down the potential careers by searching your primary skills.

No comments: