Career Assessment and Job Search


What does your career journey mean to you? Is it helping you to discover new insights about yourself? Is it opening new doors of possibility for programming your next career steps? Are you currently searching for a new job or evaluating your current career pathway? 

In these times of change and uncertainty, you may well be thinking about your career ambitions and accomplishments. You may also be doing some soul-searching about yourself: Your skills, passions, natural abilities, and aspirations. 

Finding Your Career Path

I’ve assisted many career professionals with evaluating their current direction and exploring alternative future pathways. If you find yourself in this status, I recommend reviewing my guide:

Exploring Your Career Path

Looking for a Job Right Now?

There is no shortage of resources on the Internet for building and strengthening your job search strategy. I recommend the following for a comprehensive search strategy:

Benefits of Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is a wonderful process for evaluating whether you are on the right track in your career and your personal growth goals. There is no “right” or “wrong” in this process. The ultimate goal is heightened insight about yourself, strengthened motivation to succeed, and compassionate self-regard. 

On the lower portion of this page you will find an array of self-assessment resources that should enlighten your wisdom about who you are, what your goals and dreams are, and new ways to evaluate whether you’re following a road that’s taking you to “higher ground.” 

For current graduate students, especially those pursuing a Ph.D., frequent career planning and evaluation is an essential practice, especially for learning about career opportunities in their fields inside and outside of academia. There are several highly-rated career management websites for graduate students that you will find on this page. One that particularly stands out for me is the downloadable UCLA Career Preparation Toolkit for Graduate Students and Post-doctoral Scholars

First-Generation Graduate Students Have Special Challenges

I know from personal experience that being a first-generation university student (i.e. the first in my family to attend university) carries many challenges, and these challenges intensify for first-generation undergraduates who go on to pursue graduate education.

Here are two articles by Helen Pho, a successful first-generation graduate student and contributing writer for InsideHigherEd

Second Thoughts About Your Career Journey?

A 2018 Chronicle of Higher Education blog entry by Jennifer Furlong & Julie Miller Vick, entitled So Your PhD Program is not going ‘As Planned?’ is highly-recommended reading for Ph.D. students who are having second thoughts about the direction their current academic career is following. 

Many people who have devoted years to professional career development reach a stage of asking the critical question, “is that all there is to this profession?” It’s especially prevalent among people in their 40s and 50s who have made considerable sacrifices and investments in building a career pathway.

There is much promising research in the area of positive psychology and in particular the importance of positive psychology for personal wellness and optimal career development. I want to recommend for you an excellent profile on Using the Science of Well-Being to Enhance Your Career, by Melissa Dalgleish (2018).

Is Your Current Workplace Toxic? Are you in Danger of Burnout?

For some people, a critical bump in the career journey occurs when a crisis of faith arrives: Realizing that they are working in a highly toxic workplace or profession. Consider this recent study of the destructive aspects of working for a bad boss

Toxic workplaces can cause tremendous harm to employees’ mental health, career satisfaction, motivation, and self-confidence. If not addressed, employees can be vulnerable to conditions such as post-tramautic stress disorder (PTSD) and even burnout.  I have extensive research and work experience in this area, and I can recommend many sources to give you tools for assessing the quality of your own workplace environment. 

For starters in this area, I recommend that you review the following three articles, one  from Forbes Magazine, one from Harvard Business Review , and one from Psychology Today. Try to apply them to your current or most recent direct supervisor or your general work environment:

If you are a highly-sensitive person (HSP) like me, you may find it helpful to review my shared insights about Work, Stress, and the HSP, which I authored in 2019 for the blogsite  HSP World.

Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

The onset of Covid-19 during the spring of 2020 introduced an element of distress for workers that has necessitated a strong focus on self-care. Here is a recommended source from Britain’s Mental Health Foundation:

There are several valuable mental health references available from the Center for Workplace Mental Health of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. Here are some of the most commonly-viewed topics:

If your current work situation is causing you to reevaluate your career options, you are not alone! I invite you to contact me for guidance and support. 

As a member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) I stay current with the leading research on occupational trends, career assessments and career resources. I emphasize the importance of building an Individualized Strategic Plan (ISP) for developing and constantly reviewing your job search strategy.  

It is my aim to empower you with support, relevant information, and effective career coaching. The links below should give you an excellent start on learning more about yourself and evaluating your career options.

Don Pedro 1

Self-Assessment Tools

Here are some of the most valuable resources utilized by career development professionals for promoting self-awareness. Please note that many of these tests are best carried out with interpretive help from a professionally-certified career assessment specialist at a university or college.

  • My Next Move
    A tool from the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net research site, this resource enables you to identify your personal interests and how they relate to the world of work
  • Via Character Strengths Assessment
    Based on a foundation of scientific research in positive psychology the Via Character Strengths Assessment is one of my personal favorite tools for enhancing your deepest self-awareness. Its emphasis is on “accentuating core strengths and virtues in order to enable individuals and communities to thrive.” Take the test free, then invest in the affordable Via Pro Reports for further analysis
  • Holland Code Career Aptitude Tests
    Holland Codes are one of the most popular models used for career tests today. Holland argued that the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality. The Holland Code assessment enables further matching of personal and career interests with specific occupations. A free edition of the Holland Quiz is available from Rogue Community College
  • Strong Interest Inventory
    The Strong Interest Inventory® test is an assessment that helps people match their interests with potential educational, career, and leisure activities, using an individual’s preferences in a variety of areas to aid them in discovering what they’d most enjoy doing with their work and their free time.  Further details are available here
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
    The MBTI has long been considered to be one of the most effective tools for assessment of personal preferences and personality traits. A full version of the MBTI is available from the Myers-Briggs Foundation and costs $49.00 to complete. A free version of the MBTI, though limited in its interpretive information, is available here
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter
    The Keirsey book Please Understand Me provided a popular utilization of the foundational work with the Myers-Briggs Indicator. A free version of the Keirsey sorter is available here
  • Highly Sensitive Person Test
    I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and I have learned much from 20 years of studying HSPs based on the research work of Dr. Elaine Aron. She estimates that approximately 20% of the overall population would classify as HSP. A strongly recommended book for examining HSPs in the world of work is Dr. Barrie Jaeger’s book Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person

Graduate Career Pathways and Planning 

Here is an introductory overview of career resources for graduate students. A more complete directory is available through my References page.

Professional Development for Graduate Students and Post-docs