The Big Decision: Career Choices and How to Make Them.
“’I’ve no idea what I’d like to do.”
“I don’t know where to start looking.”
“How can I keep my options open?”
“I can’t even imagine going to work.”
Does this sound familiar to you? It’s common for teenage children to struggle with the concept of following a career, life in the world of work, and what they might like to do for the rest of their lives. These are huge decisions, for anyone, but at this tender age, can be overwhelming and bewildering.
As a parent, it’s likely that ultimately, you’ll want your child to be happy in what they do, that they earn a good living, and perhaps that there is career progression as they gain more knowledge and experience.
Some children naturally gravitate towards a chosen career or subject that they have an affinity with. They remain focused and motivated to do well, with a clear idea in their mind about where they are heading next.
For many though, things are not so clear, which is why we have compiled this article to help explore options and to guide you and your child through the vast world of career choices. We hope you find it useful.
Four steps for your child to get started
- Assess interests, strengths and weaknesses
To make the right choice, your child needs to spend some time getting to know themselves, to identify their strengths and weaknesses. They should also assess their interests and values. This will help focus on certain areas but also eliminate a number of career choices for which they are simply not suited.
- Explore career options: Spend time with them researching the broader jobs market, professions and career paths to explore the wide range of careers and job roles available, some of which may not have occurred to your child before. Make a note of what interests them to begin narrowing down options.
- Create a short list: Combine what your child has learned about themselves with the options they’ve discovered that sound of interest. Perhaps look at some of these roles in more detail, and try to talk to any friends or family members who may be working in these fields, to find out more. This exercise is really useful in enabling your child to imagine what a life pursuing a particular career choice might be like.
- Act: Set achievable goals and have a career plan. A career plan should outline how your child will attain their chosen career, what qualifications and experience are needed.
Career Choice Online Tools
Don’t worry too much if the above exercise didn’t result in that ‘light bulb’ moment for your child.
There are many different quizzes, articles, self-help guides and tests available on the internet that strive to guide your child in their career choices. Read on to find the best websites to help you get all the advice you will need to help you.
Morrisby is an impartial decision-making companion and psychometric test. There is a small charge for using it, though you could try the free practice tests to sample the service. It covers all important decision points including:
- Careers guidance, suggestions, information, career requirements and routes to careers.
- Options at 13/14 (GCSEs, Scottish Nationals, IGCSEs, MYP, High School Diploma)
- Options at 15/16 (A-Levels, Scottish Highers, IBs, Pre-Us, BTECs, Apprenticeships)
- Options at 18 (Higher education, subjects, courses, universities, apprenticeships, and further education)
- Planning – Pathways, helping keep options open, and interviews
The Morrisby Profile psychometric test provides an objective statement of a person’s underlying abilities, personality and career preferences. The test is verified by the British Psychological Society and provide you with an objective analysis of your:
- Reasoning (solving difficult abstract problems)
- Verbal ability (being good with words)
- Numerical ability (being good with numbers)
- Perceptual ability (being good with diagrams and pictures)
- Spatial ability (being good with plans and 3D shapes)
- Mechanical ability (knowing how things work and fit together)
- Manual speed (working quickly with your hands)
- Manual skill (working carefully with your hands)
- Awareness (noticing people and things around you)
- Flexibility (enjoying change and variety)
- Inner conviction (being sure of your own capabilities)
- Decisiveness and confidence (having ideas, taking the initiative)
Once the results have been processed, your child will receive a detailed Profile and Guidance Report with key findings and career recommendations. The report will also help your child to discover more about their strengths and abilities, find out how to make the most of their skills, work out their personal goals and explore new career opportunities. The report will also include career suggestions and information about further education and training.
All of this is available via their website.
National Careers Service – Skills Assessment
The National Careers Service offers a range of assessments to help find out about career options that might be ideal for your child. The ‘Discover Your Skills and Careers’ Assessment is a 5 – 10 minute assessment to help your child discover what job categories, and which particular job roles might suit them. The ‘Skills Health Check’ Assessments are a set of four assessments covering personal skills and six on work activities, each taking 15-30 minutes to complete. These assessments are a brilliant way to help your child decide which types of jobs might be right for them and they might find the output also handy for preparing their CV, job applications and interviews.
Visit the National Careers Service website for more details.
Get My First Job
The Get My First Job career personality test is designed to test your child’s personality and then provide a list of careers that are a good match. Before you have signed up, there is an option to take a quick test that will take just 5 minutes and offer a few different choices. However, once you do sign up, your child will be able to take the full test and be given a range of different careers with information about how to jump on certain career ladders and what opportunities are available in those careers.
Take a look here.
This is another website offering a quiz to find help identify career options. In order to take the quiz, your child will first have to register but then they can take the test for free. The quiz has numerous questions to help gauge strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the quiz you will receive a number of different career suggestions that matched your child’s answers.
You can then click on each of those careers to find out more including the expected salary, qualifications needed, and skills and work experience that are required or preferred.
You can take the quiz on their website.
16 Personalities is another website that allows children to take a free personality test to determine what their best strengths are and what their weaknesses are. You can then use this information to determine the type of career choices that may be best to pursue.
Take the 16 Personalities test.
For a small fee, Career Key offers genuine advice and professional help in order to help people find the career of their dreams. On their website, they offer a personality test based on John Holland’s theory of the six different personality types. Career Key’s test will help your child find out which personality type they have and what career and university course would best suit them.
Career Hunter offers a free test (on the basis that you sign up) to help find a career based on your child’s answers to their questions. Once taken, the test will offer a number of accurate career matches and a personalised career report. There are different tests including verbal reasoning, career motivators and work personality to help identify appropriate career choices.
Take the Career Hunter test.
Red Bull Wingfinder
This test has been developed by Red Bull and university professors from University College London and Columbia University New York. Here your child can take a free 35-minute test that will determine which personality type you have and split it up into four categories – connections, creativity, thinking, and drive.
You will need to sign up but once your child has completed the test they will receive a free 19-page report outlining their strengths and weaknesses. They will then also be given advice from Red Bull athletes that have the same strengths as them.
More details are available here.
The Big Five Project
The Big Five Project offers a very in-depth, free personality test. There are 61 questions for your child to take to find out more about what they are like as a person. Although it doesn’t advise specifically on career choices, it is completely anonymous and offers guidance on what type of personality type your child has, which can be helpful when considering career options.
Find out more about personality types.
A bit like The Big Five Project, this personality quiz will ask your child a series of questions on what they like and dislike. Once the quiz has been completed, it will reveal what your child’s personality is like and score them on each section from 1 to 10. It will then make career suggestions based on which areas scored the highest.
Take the Career Steer test
123 Career Test
Another test that is based on John Holland’s personality theory, this test reveal which career best fits your child’s character. Each question is made up of 4 pictures and they have to decide which picture appeals to them the most. It will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete and afterwards it will give you a rundown of what careers would suit you with a percentage and your personality type.
Find out more about the Career Test
Here is another option to take a free test which will ask a series of questions to determine what personality type your child has. Once the test is concluded, the results will be emailed with an option to purchase a full report.
Start the assessment here.
This alternative free personality test is based on Carl Jung and Isabelle Brigg Myers’ personality theory, It will help to determine which careers would be good for your child based on their personality. At the end of the test, it will highlight their strengths and provide a description of their personality along with what career paths and university degrees would best complement their personality. It will also let them know which famous celebrities have the same personality type as theirs!
Visit the Human Metrics website.
O*Net Interest Profiler
This quiz tests your child on 60 things that are related to work activities. They will have to answer on whether they like doing them or not. Once they have finished the test it will give them a score on 6 different characteristics and provide a list of different career paths based on their answers.
The quiz is available to start here.
Career One Stop
Career One Stop has developed a test to help people understand what skills they can incorporate into their career. The test will ask your child to rate from beginner to expert on how good they think they are at specific skills. Once the test is over it will provide a range of careers options including expected annual salary and what qualifications are needed to enter that career.
Take the skills test
Sokanu offers a free test which will assess your child’s personality, abilities, skills, interests and preferences. The quiz asks a series of questions, all different, that will then determine which career would suit them. It will ask them to rate careers from ‘hate it’ to ‘love it’.
The career explorer’s assessment can be taken here.
JobQuiz is an extremely in-depth test that will determine the best career for your child through numerous, different questions. It takes quite a while to complete so make sure you have set aside some time to do it. Do keep in mind that after taking the test, there is a fee to pay to receive the results.
Visit their website to find out more.
As you can see, there are lots of options to find out more about your child, their likes, dislikes, personality type and skill sets. The tests however are fun and interesting, and most children enjoy taking part. They provide food for thought, allow your child the time and space to think and explore options, and hopefully will help them to narrow down their choices, and maybe even find a few career suggestions that pique their interest.
Good luck following our guidance, we hope you find it useful and your children too.