Anyone who believes there is a magic system or set of questions that can find you a career is going to be very disappointed. Yes, you can use a career finder in the form of a career assessment that could give you general direction. No, it won’t know everything about you and be able to determine what types of careers would really use your skills without needing new ones. A career finder is not intended to magically direct you into the job of your dreams. There are some pros and cons to using these online tools, so read on and see if it is worth your time.
What brand is it?
Depending on your level of work experience, whether you are getting into the professional workforce for the first time, or you are transitioning to a new career, a career finder needs to have certain features. For the less experienced worker, using a program available at an OneStop Center, Goodwill Vocational Center, or local job support center may ask you enough questions for a general sense of what areas you could successfully pursue. More tenured workers should look for established career search tools from trusted experts like the DISC assessment, CareerBuilder®, or O*NET Online®.
Younger workers should seek out tools that their academic institutions have such as Naviance®, KUDER®, and Bridges®. It’s important to get the input of a counselor or family member to make sure you aren’t putting ‘wishful thinking’ content into these tools though. Working at Disney sounds really great, but not if you live in Montana and can’t move.
Avoid getting sucked in
The internet allows these career finders to put pages and pages of HTML into various configurations. The downside is the output could be very broad. One example of a program allows you to pick a skill and then see what jobs would use that skill. So, let’s say you select ‘problem-solving’ as a skill you have – it is further defined by the program as ‘Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions’. Here’s the catch, the list of jobs that use that skills ranges from air traffic controller to biomedical engineers. Clearly there is going to be more immediate stress in the first job, where someone who hates science would fail miserably at the second one.
Understanding your true strengths and whether you want to or can use them in the workplace is the key. Don’t bother reading job descriptions on a career finder when you really know you would not be a productive worker in that role. If you can’t be honest about your skills in the privacy of your home, you will most certainly not be able to ‘sell’ it to a prospective employer.
Don’t pay unless you REALLY need help
This is similar to the ‘life coach’ situation. It sounds sexy to have a life coach, but be ready for your checkbook to take a hit if you aren’t going to have an endgame in mind. Searching through career finder after career finder on the net and paying for ‘assessment reports’ won’t get you employed faster. Only pay for one of these tools if you are truly looking for a change and don’t know what direction to go. A more cost effective option is always to use the actual job descriptions on postings and be real with yourself about your workplace abilities.
- Why changing jobs in your current company could be risky (helpyourcareer.org)
- Can I Help You Find Sports Jobs (sportoutdoorsgreatreviews.wordpress.com)