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First Exploration Steps in the Career Development Journey

First Exploration Steps in the Career Development Journey

By Catherine Rains, M.S.

In my previous post I introduced Priscilla Gardea, who is currently trying to figure out where to go in her career in order to continue to develop both personally and professionally. She has already taken both the Myers-Briggs® (MBTI®) and Strong Interest Inventory® assessments, and I have gone over her results with her.

During our initial session, in which I interpreted Priscilla’s Strong Profile, we reviewed potential patterns emerging from her highest Basic Interest Scales (BISs) and Occupational Scales (OSs). On the BISs, her highest scores were on the following scales (also known as career fields or functional tasks): Culinary Arts, Counseling & Helping, and Human Resources & Training, followed by Performing Arts and Office Management. (Here’s a link to a sample Strong report .)  Since BISs reflect both vocational and avocational interests, the first step was to sort out which of these fell into each category.

Beginning with Culinary Arts, I first asked her to tell me about that score and where she thought it might have come from. Since on a regular basis, how could they incorporate more of it into their life? As stated, Priscilla is very enthusiastic when talking about food/cooking, but when I asked her a third question—Is this a vocational or a personal interest?—she was very clear that this was a hobby and that she had no interest in pursuing Culinary Arts professionally.

Then I started the process over again on her other top BISs, using the same line of inquiry. She revealed that Counseling & Helping reflects what she currently does for a living, and she still loves this component of her work. Human Resources & Training was also intriguing to her, but since she had never had a job in this field, she did not yet have the confidence to pursue this area.  Performing Arts certainly plays a part in her current job, and again is something she really enjoys.

Next we reviewed her highest-scoring Occupational Scales, which show how she responded to the items in comparison with people of her gender who actually work in each occupation. The job titles that initially piqued her interest include Career Counselor, University Administrator, Human Resources Specialist, and Community Service Director. Rather than focus solely on the very highest-scoring occupations, however, I asked Priscilla to look at all occupations on which she scored above 40. Since she answered in a similar way to people who had already chosen these occupations, in both positive and negative responses, she could have a lot in common with them and therefore might also like those kinds of work environments. It is important to note, however, that a high score does not indicate that she would be interested in that particular occupation title, but again, the work environment. She may not necessarily be interested in each occupation individually.

Her assignment to complete before our next meeting is to do the following:

  • Look at the pattern of her highest BISs and what this could be saying about the types of career fields and tasks she most enjoys
  • Examine the OSs on which she scored above 40 and describe the kinds of patterns she notices, and what types of work environments they reveal and she may prefer to be in
  • Explore what her highest BISs and OSs together could be indicating about the types of work environments and career fields that most interest her

Additionally, I also gave her a second assignment to write a career mission statement, which we’ll talk about when we continue this series.

If you’re interested in taking the MBTI for yourself, you can visit http://www.mbtionline.com.

If you’re interested in the MBTI or Strong assessments for your company, you can contact one of our Solutions Consultants (such as myself) by filling out a form

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