When it comes to job search, I tell clients they have to have a single occupation target. You can change your target if your first choice doesn’t pan out, but a scatter-shot approach is rarely successful. Employers want specialization.
This often poses a challenge for my clients. Some have trouble deciding between two or more occupations where they may have experience. Others feel they have no qualifications (an answer I never accept) and truly do not know what they want to do.
One approach I use is the Holland Party Game.
Starting with the theory that workers are most satisfied in occupations that match their interests (well, duh…), psychologist John Holland theorized that occupational interests can be categorized by the unique combination of six personality traits. Thus comes the Party Game to identify the top-three (of six) personality traits for an individual.
The game is played like this:
Imagine you walk into a room and find six clusters of people. Conveniently, above each cluster is a sign that suggests (broadly) what the group is discussing. Which cluster would you be most interested in joining?
After 15 minutes, the group disbands, but you are just getting started. Which of the remaining five groups would you be most interested in joining?
And then, after that group disbands, which of the remaining four groups would you join?
You have now ranked your top-three interests, and can consult charts to find occupations that may be of interest to you.
Conveniently, O*Net Online manages the game for you.
From the O*Net home page, find “Interests” in the pull-down menu under “Advanced Search.” Next, simply select which of the six Work Environments most interests you. Then, select your second and third interests, and see what occupations this suggests.
Alternately, from the ONet home page, click on, “Find it Now,” and under “Tell us what you like to do,” click “Start” to complete the “ONet Interest Profiler.” You are asked to answer how much you Dislike or Like 60 work activities (it goes quickly). The results are immediate and give you a rank-order of the six Holland Interest Codes, along with occupation suggestions.
Please note, Interest does not mean Qualified. If you want to be an airline pilot but have had zero training, it is not going to happen, at least not right away. But, maybe you would find an interesting occupation with an airline, or at an airport.
Even if you have an idea of what you like to do, you may want to play the game to see what other occupations it suggests. You may be surprised.
But, PICK ONE!, and go after it.
Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.