CareerSteer – career test for career choice                                     

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15            A suggestion for dealing with career choice.


            Guidance workers often encounter individuals with little idea of what may suit them.  Although difficult, dealing with career direction in career choice is quite common and clearly within the remit of the guidance worker. 


Sometimes, sufficient time devoted to the early stages of an interview, finding out about the individual and what they have been thinking about, may elicit ideas or indicators.   Sometimes not.


One method of dealing with this is by using computer-aided guidance (e.g. Adult Directions career test, an instrument of great precision, or CareerSteer career test).  Sometimes, however, an individual will not find that the results of the career choice test strike a chord; there are also times when the practitioner does not have such an instrument as a career test to hand.


One method, used by the author, is to ‘float balloons’ to be shot down by the client. 


Returning briefly to the latter stages of the section on The Psychology of Guidance, the reader is reminded of Holland's trait-factor theory.   Essentially, you are going to perform a form of computer-aided guidance, from the depths of your own brain!


Remember that Holland’s research indicates 6 personality types –

Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional -

RIASEC.  I draw here from Dr. Jenny Kidd, 1994, Life Career Development guide, Birkbeck College, University of London, adapted from Holland, J., 1985, The Self-Directed Search: Professional Manual, Odessa, Florida, Psychological Assessment Resources).



Realistic. (R) Likes realistic jobs such as mechanic, surveyor, farmer, electrician.  Has mechanical abilities, but may lack social skills.  May be described as:


Asocial                    Inflexible                 Practical


Conforming              Materialistic              Self-effacing


Frank                      Natural                    Thrifty          


Genuine                  Normal                    Uninsightful


Hardheaded             Persistent                Uninvolved

(NB  Some clients don’t like the idea of ‘realistic’, as a low score suggests – unreasonably – that they are unrealistic! The CareerSteer career test prefers the term ‘Practical’ to represent this career choice dimension.)


Investigative.   (I)   Likes investigative jobs such as biologist, chemist, physicist, anthropologist, medical technologist.  Has mathematic and scientific ability, but often lacks leadership ability.  May be described as:


Analytical                 Independent            Rational


Cautious                  Intellectual               Reserved


Critical                     Introspective            Retiring


Complex                  Pessimistic               Unassuming


Curious                   Precise                    Unpopular



Artistic.  (A)   Likes artistic jobs, such as composer, musician, stage director, writer, interior decorator, actor.  Has writing, musical or artistic abilities but often lacks clerical skills.  May be described as:


Complicated             Imaginative              Intuitive


Disorderly                Impractical               Nonconforming


Emotional                Impulsive                Open


Expressive               Independent            Original


Idealistic                  Introspective            Sensitive




Social.  (S)   Likes social jobs such as teacher, religious worker, counsellor, clinical psychologist, speech therapist.  Has social skills and talents, but often lacks mechanical and scientific ability.  May be described as:


Ascendent               Helpful                    Responsible


Cooperative             Idealistic                  Sociable


Empathic                 Kind                       Tactful


Friendly                   Patient                    Understanding


Generous                Persuasive               Warm




Enterprising.  (E)   Likes enterprising jobs such as salesperson, manager, business executive, television producer, buyer.  Has leadership and speaking abilities but often lacks scientific ability.  May be described as:


Acquisitive                Energetic                 Flirtatious


Adventurous            Excitement-seeking    Optimistic


Agreeable                Exhibitionist              Self-confident


Ambitious                Extroverted              Sociable




Conventional.  (C)   Likes conventional jobs such as bookkeeper, financial analyst, banker, tax expert.  Has clerical and arithmetic ability, but often lacks artistic abilities.  May be described as:


Careful                    Inflexible                 Persistent


Conforming              Inhibited                  Practical


Conscientious           Methodical               Prudish


Defensive                Obedient                 Thrifty


Efficient                   Orderly                   Unimaginative




          This taxonomy may be used in different ways.  The author’s balloon-float method of career choice is to explain the theory briefly to the client and suggest different categories, accompanied by a sample of the types of pertinent job.  Where I already have some sort of ‘taste’ of the client, I try the least likely traits first, so that longer discussion can wait until later.


          As with other methods of careers guidance, facial expression, especially glints in the eyes, can be used to gauge levels of interest in particular types of work.  Often, the client will be interested in more than one.  Individual judgement is required to look at likely interactions between traits, as opposed to picking one trait or the other, but that is a matter for experience.  The practitioner should, however, find some interesting career choice discussions emerging from such an approach.






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CareerSteer – career test for career choice