Online career change tools, free or paid for?
November 1, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm seeking a major mid-life career change in the mid term (1 - 3 years) and I'd like to find several online career advice or career change tools that might help me by providing feedback, ideas and and inspiration, because I'm after something entirely new. Questionnaires, that sort of thing, rather than pages of the usual advice. This will supplement my own brainstorming, networking, asking trusted friends etc.

I work for myself and intend to still do that, but doing something new. I'm not looking for one site or tool to provide lots of miracle answers. I'm happy to explore a number of sites or tools over the coming months and see what 'big picture' ideas might emerge when I put all the feedback together.

Free if possible, obviously, but happy to pay for sites / tools that you can personally recommend. Happy to consider books as well, again if they are providing questions and tools for reflection rather than regurgitating guff about listening to my heart etc., of which there appears to be far too much out there.

I'm aware of the Clifton StrengthsFinder, so specific feedback on that would be of interest before I cough up for it, if anyone has used it.
posted by dowcrag to Work & Money (6 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I know you've asked specifically for online tools, but I'm going to advocate for seeing a professional career counselor, along with some standard occupational testing, like the Strong Interest Inventory, CareerScope, and other standardized commercial testing instruments. Experienced vocational counselors can go beyond just interpreting test results, to exploring with you additional elements of your background and personality, that affect career success and satisfaction.

In my experience, you do tend to get what you pay for in this field. While I often suggest that young people and students start with state employment office resources, or local community college student counseling offices, for older mid-career people, private sessions with experienced career counselors can really pay off. They may suggest broader testing scopes, or put you into selected peer sessions with other people exploring new career directions (for strategy comparison and development), or you may find that they think private sessions are best for your case. Professional counselors are especially effective for professionals who may need significant critical input to their information gathering, or decision processes, to be successful. And just as important, they can help you scope your research and career finding efforts, too, so that your search remains focused, and results in a new career which is both satisfying and remunerative, in a practical time frame.
posted by paulsc at 3:43 PM on November 1, 2013

Best answer: If you are into the Meyers Briggs personality types at all check out the career page for your type at the personality page:
I find their career recommendations for types to be really spot on with each type's strengths and interests. I think they have the type test too if you don't know your type.
posted by wildflower at 3:48 PM on November 1, 2013

Best answer: CareerLeader is interesting.
posted by shivohum at 6:11 PM on November 1, 2013

Best answer: I recently filled out the Focus-2 tool from American Public University (it's free but you'll start getting e-mail from APU) and it gave me some interesting careers to explore.
posted by jabes at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2013

Best answer: U.S. Department of Labor offers My Next Move.
posted by healthytext at 6:29 AM on November 3, 2013

Response by poster: Paulsc, thanks for your ideas. I parted with a big heap of money a couple of years ago following recommendations from a number of people who all pointed me towards what are apparently one of the UK's better consultancies. The profiling was insightful and very good, the advice that followed it, not so much, so I'm looking for other things that can build on what I already know, and which I can use in my own way alone or with people who know me best, warts and all.
posted by dowcrag at 9:20 AM on November 4, 2013

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