Professional careers services.
September 13, 2010 2:57 PM   Subscribe

I want to try a professional careers councelling service, and I'm looking for advice and suggestions.

Having utterly no idea what to do or where to go careers-wise and with the only temp work I've been able to find coming to an end in November, I'd like to know how good the hive mind thinks professional career councelling companies are. I've been looking at one here where they claim to give you a battery of psychometric tests and then an interview with a qualified psychologist to assess your needs and skills, at a price tag of £495 ($760). They've got a page of case studies and what looks like quite a professional team; but I've ever had any experience dealing with companies like this, and I hear scams are common.

Would people say this looks legit? Alternatively, could people recommend other companies, or a different approach altogether?
posted by Fen to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is the temp work that is coming to the end the only work history you have? Do you have training for any specialized career? If you're just recently graduated from high school, I would recommend a much less expensive starting point: What Color is your Parachute? Don't be put off by the one poor rating for the 2011 edition -- that's because someone didn't like the way they typeset it for the Kindle. You can work through the exercises in the book on your own or with a friend. If that doesn't lead you to an answer of what to do career-wise, at least you will be very well-prepared to go talk with a career counselor.

I've been to a few career counselors - sometimes paid for by my employer (in a leadership development program) but more often paid for by me. But, I started with a professional degree, a 20 year work history, and some idea of what I did and didn't want to do.

I think that if you have absolutely no idea whatsoever of what you want to do, it's more sensible to start with a book while you apply for any job that you are qualified for to tide you over financially while you figure out the rest of your life.

The military will also give you aptitude tests and recommend alternatives, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will connect you with Your Ideal Career.
posted by elmay at 3:09 PM on September 13, 2010

That's a lot of money.

I've been through a similar thing, trying to figure out what I should do when I grow up. I googled around and ended up at an online TAFE (our Australian community college-type system) career counselling service. I registered, completed umpteen pages of questions about my skills and likes and dislikes, and was given a choice of 3 careers that suited my skills and needs. (I've now enrolled to study one of them, and am insanely excited about it.)

And it didn't cost a cent.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:17 PM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: I've got the "What Colour is your Parachute" book recently, and I'm working through it at the moment, heh. I haven't any specialised training - I'm an English graduate, graduated 2 years ago. My work history is a year and a half as a bartender and an office temp since April. I tried joining the military, but got rejected on medical grounds (appalling eyesight).

The main problem I'm having is that I'm not qualified for anything in particular and the general-graduate positions all appear to be geared towards exroverted people-person types (management / sales etc.), which I'm not. I'm considering taking a master's or some other sort of course, but again, I'm not sure what direction to take.
posted by Fen at 4:00 PM on September 13, 2010

You say that you're thinking of a master's degree - does that mean that you have an undergraduate degree? If so, perhaps your university career center would have career counseling options. I am not familiar with systems outside of the US, but at my school I've been able to meet with a counselor for free, as an alum. I am not sure if all schools offer the same, but it might be worth a try.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 4:05 PM on September 13, 2010

It sounds like you have two separate problems:
- What do I do with my life now?
- How will I eat come December?

I doubt this $800 service will help much with the latter, and there are less pricey solutions for solving the former.

Are you with a temp agency? The ones I worked with had skill assessments, and of course helped greatly with the "I need money" bit. As for a battery of psychological tests, fake MBTI and other online tests, with WCIYP, ought to do you just fine.

In the meanwhile, volunteer with the awesomest organization you can think of. If you're smart and helpful you will be connected to people and ideas that will let you make use of what the tests and books tell you about yourself. The people who stumble into management jobs out of college generally do it because they can (they ended up there, basically) - you didn't, so try stumbling in a different direction.

If all else fails, work for Disneyland for a few years. That's what I did.
posted by SMPA at 6:28 PM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: Welp, I just tried taking the Keirsey personality / career test. It recommended I pursue careers in mathematics, engineering or science. As an English / Creative Writing grad, this could be problematic, heh.
posted by Fen at 1:50 PM on September 22, 2010

« Older Help me understand (& maybe purchase) health care   |   Photoshop and web design Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.