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Career Planning Series Part 2: Starting the Search

In part one of the career planning series I listed five steps as an overview of the process. It is my intention to highlight the importance of steps one and two of that list by further explaining and expanding on them.

During career workshop presentations I noticed many parents and older students wanted career planning to start with an aptitude test. Aptitude tests measure how someone performs on specific tasks or handles different situations. I believe this to be the case because aptitude testing used to be “the way” careers were selected. Aptitude testing continues to be a common measurement in career planning but has largely gone by the wayside as a single predictor of job/career success. It plays a part but it’s not the only part.

Don’t minimize your interests, personality and values as they play a role in predicting career success and satisfaction. Take the time to thoroughly go through step one of the 5 Steps of Career Planning. There are many excellent online tools, inventories and resources that can assist with step one. These include aptitude tests (yes, they are still useful), interest inventories, TypeFocus questionnaires and personality quizzes. I would suggest doing the Holland Inventory to determine your interest code. It will show if you are a Doer, Thinker, Creator, Helper, Persauder, Organizer, and in what combination. This can be extremely helpful in the next step.

How do we connect steps 1 & 2?

In step two, time is spent coming up with ideas regarding which jobs/careers would fit knowing what we learned in step one. There are fantastic sites like,, or that allow users to do filtered searching. You can even input your Holland interest code as a filter, taking all the comparative work out of it for you. Think of it as using the information you gained in step one to narrow down all potential jobs/careers available. When this is done the result should be a list of jobs/careers based on your interests, personality traits and values. You may be surprised by the list if it contains unexpected options and others you thought would be present and are not. That’s okay! You have the power to strike and add options to the list at any time.

In my experience, steps one and two are the trickiest in the five step process but can also be the most exciting, informative and invigorating. If you need additional help navigating these steps or you want to discuss what is coming up for you while you are engaging in the process, please contact me. I would enjoy the opportunity to help you find the right job/career for you.

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