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Archive for January, 2016

Online Career Tests – A First Step to Your Ultimate Career

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

It stands to reason that often times the people who have a natural liking or interest towards a certain career path may perform much better when they are working in this area. It also stands to reason that if it is this natural interest in the role that lead them to the career in the first place will also mean that they will be much happier in their work and probably achieve much greater career satisfaction over their lifetime.

Once a person’s career interests are identified the task of locating their ideal profession or career often becomes easy. The difficulty however often presents in trying to locate or identify a persons interests that could translate into a realistic career path. There are many ways to do this and often the best approach is to use not just one, but a combination of methods, in conjunction with each other to arrive at the best options or solutions for you.

One of these methods that can be extremely useful in the career counseling process is the use of career counselling or career interest test. Using a career counselling test should not be seen as the be all and end all, but rather as a starting point for ideas and exploration of your career interests. There are many online career counselling tests that can be used, however it is important to stick to or use only tests that are valid and reliable and not simply fun “quizzes” which are found on the internet. One example of a good online career test or questionnaire is the Strong Interest Inventory. The benefit of taking such a test online is that it is used widely all around the world by career counsellors and for this reason, once you have your results you should not have too much trouble in obtaining follow up career advice from a professional career counsellor if you feel like you need more support and career advice.

Another useful tool used commonly by career counsellors around the world is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test or MBTI for short. This can also be taken online and as with the Strong Interest Inventory, the fact it is used so widely around the globe in career counselling means you can easily obtain follow up career advice based on your results at any point in the future if you wish.

Both the Strong Interest Inventory career test and MBTI personality test should taken by people looking for a simple answer. Career tests are an integral part of the career counselling process and are an excellent starting point for people looking to find their ideal career. Such career and personality test should give the person many different career ideas and open their minds to many possibilities which will need to be explored after the career test has been taken. A person may feel comfortable and confident in exploring these many possibilities on their own, or it is at this point that people often feel they would like some additional support from a career professional so they can be guided through this process.

There are many online career counselling tests, including those above, which are easily located through a search engine such as Google. A good career personality test such as those above will provide the test taker with many career options to explore, and it’s at that point that a career counsellor can often provide valuable assistance to assist in maximising the benefit of the career test. This also can be done easily on the internet by using a search engine with a search term such as “registered professional career counsellors list” or something similar. In Australia there is the The Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) which can be used to locate an appropriate career counseling services close to you.

So in summary, if there is one piece of advice I can give to those looking to find the right career path for them, it would be to take a quality career counselling test and use this to get ideas to work from. From their the many options raised can be explored and examined, either by yourself alone, or with the assistance of a career counsellor or professional.

Career Planning: The Perils of Doing Nothing!

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Career planning seems to make so much sense that it’s a wonder that everyone is not doing it. It’s a method to manage your career, keep track of progress or the lack of progress, set goals and take a pro-active approach to how you make a living. Planning and planning a career in particular is fundamental to overall career success.

Why then do so many neglect something that is an indispensable component to success? Here may be a few reasons why many neglect this key element to finding and growing their careers.

Many are afraid of failing. They may consider and start career planning, but they fail to implement their plan, and at the first sign of a lack of success they stop the process. They also may set their sights way out of reach. When their goals are not met they blame the plan and all activity stops.

Others with an abundance of experience conclude they have no need to create a career plan. This approach may work around the edges but to achieve something more meaningful experience will not replace a well thought out career plan.

On the other side of experience those with little practical experience and who, “don’t know what they don’t know,” and are moved by events outside their control. They never take the time to learn what is involved in career planning.

Finally, the major reason is laziness. Effective career planning is work. It takes thinking, research and continued effort. It can’t be an infrequent activity. If you plan on reading two books a month, for example, it does you little good trying to read 24 books on December 31st. If the time and effort is not expended you can’t expect positive long-term results.

If any of these reasons pertain to you, here are seven ideas to help you get started in your career planning.

1. Planning is not a foreign concept. You may plan your day and have a to-do list. Appointments and meetings are planned. If you have to attend a meeting across town, you start your trip to reach the meeting on time. If you can do these things you surely can create plans to achieve your goals.

2. Career planning is like a road map. Just as you get directions when you plan a trip to a place you haven’t been before, think of your career goals as a place you’ve never visited. You plan your trip, the roads you’ll travel, you estimate travel times, you call ahead for a room, and you pinpoint favorite places to eat or stop to see the sights. Your plan extra time for detours and alternative routes.

These actions are directly translatable to creating a career plan. The process remains the same instead of a physical location like a trip you have a series of career objectives that you are targeting.

3. Be realistic in setting your career goals. Start with small easily reached goals. As you move toward your vision of your future your more ambitious plans will be built on your previous successes.

Failure in your career planning usually starts with setting goals that are not realistic. It’s like planning to lose 20 lbs in one month. You can plan all you want but this amount in one month is unrealistic. Make sure your plan is doable, and as you get the experience, your plans can be more aggressive.

4. Use numbers in your plan. One might plan to read more career related books, but this goal can’t be measured. If you plan on reading two books a month for two years at the end of each month you can measure your progress.

5. Take action, start now. A beautifully done career plan in a leather burgundy binder that sits on a shelf gathering dust is worthless. On the other hand a flexible plan in a plain spiral notebook in which you write down ideas, keep track of progress, and add relevant goals and ideas; has a much greater chance of success.

Taking action to reach smaller goals makes the overall success of the plan much more certain and surely much more successful.

6. Keep moving, small efforts every day will always win against a big push once a month. In any career plan there will be barriers and missteps. Keep up the effort and plan for added challenges. Take a new approach by looking at your goals from a different direction. Whenever necessary get help when you become stuck. Be flexible and keep moving forward.

7. Successful people create winning career plans. Working a career plan can develop unplanned benefits. You attend a workshop to increase your skills and you meet someone who tells you about a career opportunity. You read a book and write an article that is published on the internet and it leads to a contact by a recruiter. You embark on a course of self-study and your employer enters into providing a new service and you have the knowledge to leverage your new skills into a promotion.

You have the planning skills; now put them to work on advancing your career. It will pay off in a variety of ways, some you may not realize when you start, but you will help yourself, be in a position to assist others and become more valuable to your employer. And isn’t this what the whole career planning project is all about?