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Use advanced behavioral science tools to find the career you REALLY want | May 03, 2013

As a business consultant with behavioral science expertise I am often called to serve as a career counselor to professionals. So, I understand how depressing it is to be in a job that you don’t enjoy. Mounds of statistics prove the majority of people are unhappy in their current job.

What can you do if you are one of those unhappy people? Is there really any kind of scientific process that can truly help you find your dream job? Yes, there is!

The problem is so many people during their college years have tried discovering what their career might be using generic and superficial questionnaires that spit out reams of paper filled with columns of occupations! Ugh!! Unhappy with the unimpressive results, people turned their back on behavioral science. However, this was mediocre behavioral science at best!

Over the last 15 years, the science of career selection or “vocational guidance” has advanced rapidly. Specifically, I use a broad and deep toolbox of tools and techniques that truly capture and integrate facts about a professional’s unique combination of motivations, needs, natural aptitudes, interests, passions, personality tendencies, and life goals. This vital information helps professionals narrow down the list of potential occupations to a small set of true possibilities. This information is much richer and engaging than any generic career selection process.

Let’s face it: great vocational guidance is a thoughtful integration of an in-depth interview, job history review, and a vocational profile mapping of interests and skills. And one more critical component: the “Professional Obituary”. I ask people to write how they want to be remembered, and this often helps us truly bring to light what are their deepest values, passions, and goals.

Exceptional career counselors must help someone find what I call the vocational “sweet spot”; the area where three circles intersect. Each circle is defined by a question, and are discussed in more detail in the book Good to Great via the “Hedgehog concept” which is my source if inspiration. The three questions: What are you most passionate about? What are you (or can you be) the most skilled with? What positions can support you financially given the current economic trends? The idea with this three circle thought exercise is to help them “follow their heart” by using their head to gain insight into what really drives them and what they can truly excel with.

By asking great questions, and using more precise tools, what we are really doing is using cutting edge personality science to conduct what I call “Personality Career Fit” or “PCF”. You would be surprised at how professionals begin to see themselves turned inside out by personality measures that go deeper than simplistic career inventories that read like medical lab reports.

Think of the money saved and the agony avoided if someone he uses a disciplined and superior behavioral science process to have breakthrough but durable insights leading them to their dream occupation. That is a priceless result.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my work as a professional consultant is to help a person dial in to their dream career. after all, there is nothing worse than someone who feels underutilized and underappreciated. Who lacks a sense of joy and purpose in their work. No wonder so many people switch careers so often.

So few people use a truly comprehensive yet concise behavioral science process to reveal their true calling. And not finding a satisfying career is so vital to living a meaningful life!

There is nothing more gratifying than knowing I helped someone find a meaningful career. We gain so much self esteem and meaning from the work we do. Finding out what work may fit our personalities best is worth investment because if we find the right career, which when accurately chosen is not just a job, but a lifelong vocation. That is priceless!

No matter where in the world a client calls from, the beauty is this process is it can be carried out over Skype and thus is deliverable to anyone, anywhere.

If you know someone unhappy in their career, feel free to pass this along!

Facts for you to chew on:

-Today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 11 job changes) during his or her career, which means a good amount of time is spent changing employment.

-Job searching, in conjunction with career development, has become more of a lifelong endeavor than a one-time event. The days when people held one job for all, or most, of their working life are gone. However, I would argue that if a person chooses a career with a high degree of “personality-career fit”, then that person can contimue growing professionally within the breadth and depth contained in that field.

-The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that people born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 11 jobs from ages 18 to 44. On average, men held 11.4 jobs and women held 10.7 jobs. 25% percent held 15 jobs or more, while 12% held four jobs or less.


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If you or your organization are faced with a workplace growth challenge, email Tom and he will consider writing a blog about it.

Meet the Expert: Dr. Tom Brunner is a capable executive level consultant who has worked with local and nationally known organizations including Carondelet Healthcare, Tucson Electric Power, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Discovery Channel. Tom is a published behavioral science expert and is the Founder and Principal of Performance Edge Solutions. He is a licensed psychologist and a member of the Society of Consulting Psychologists. He has been an invited speaker at national conferences and local organizations such as University Medical Center, Tucson, AZ. Tom is humbled by the fact that in 2010 he was awarded the Arizona Psychological Foundations Early Career Psychologist Award. He is the senior author of a personality tool that has been adapted into seven languages. To see a 60-second video introducing his consulting firm click here, to read his bio click here, and to review his recent blogs, click here.