Wall Stree Journal Article Featuring CareerPlanner.com

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Home &Family: Work &Family Mailbox

By Sue Shellenbarger
16 November 2006
The Wall Street Journal D2 English
(Copyright (c) 2006, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

Columnist Sue Shellenbarger answers readers' questions

Q: Although our daughter is a senior pre-med major in college and likes biology, she still isn't sure what career will best match her interests and passions. Her university's career center hasn't been much help. How can we find an adviser to help her?

Can you recommend a book that will help?

Are there good tests to evaluate career interests?

-- D.M., Fremont, Calif.

A: The best source of guidance will be insights arising from her own personal experiences and exploration, says Adele Scheele, a New York career coach. Ms. Scheele suggests your daughter gain as much exposure to various career settings as possible during her senior year. She might do two internships, one in a clinical setting and one in research. If necessary, she could create her own internships by offering to work part-time or free, says Ms. Scheele, author of "Launch Your Career in College."

Her professors or the university alumni office might provide referrals or contacts. Your daughter also might choose senior projects and papers that require her to meet, interview or study professionals in fields of interest. Re books: "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles is still among the best, says Robin Wortley Hammond, a career consultant and spokeswoman for the California Career Development Association, a professional group. The book lists career counselors by state, Web sites, and tests and tools.

Tests of personality and temperament can be found at www.discoveryourpersonality.com or www.keirsey.com . Career-interests tests can be found at www.self-directed-search.com , www.analyzemycareer.com or www.careerplanner.com . To find a professional who can help your daughter interpret the results, consult directories at www.California-registry.org or www.ncda.org , the Web site of the National Career Development Association, Ms. Hammond suggests.