I remember the day the guidance counselor came to our middle school classroom. As he talked about careers, he emphasized the importance of knowing what jobs best suited us. The teacher gave each of us a career inventory test. It was so exciting to see all the different jobs we could pursue after finishing with school. Our career inventory results could help us plot our educational path.
Fast forward to our homeschool… How am I preparing my children for their future careers? We have learned about many careers together in our social studies curriculum. But my children never had a guidance counselor administer a career survey. I was excited to try out CashCrunch Careers. This online career resource from CashCrunch Games begins with a simple test. Using the results, it directs each child to a career path based on their personality. My son already has a pretty good idea of his career path. My four daughters are still unsure of where God may be leading them. Could the test help them find direction?
The test is quite simple. Each question consists of two character qualities to compare. Which one do you think best describes you? Despite the simplicity, some of the answers were hard for the girls to decide.
It took each of them ten to fifteen minutes to finish the test. Afterward, they could immediately see their results.
The Career Survey Report highlights:
- Career Work Styles
- Motivators & De-motivators
- Career Attributes
- Career Match
The website also provides links to various jobs within each career field. We can watch a short video about each occupation and discover colleges which offer degrees in that field.
My fourteen-year-old daughter loves learning about careers and is anxious to grow up. She could hardly wait to start the CashCrunch Careers Survey. It is much like the personality tests she has taken as part of her health class this year.
After submitting her answers, she read carefully through the results. The first line seemed spot on to me: “Your responses indicate that you actively and energetically strive to achieve ambitious goals.” After all, this is the girl that took on the challenge of completing two school grades last year.
It was helpful for me to see the Motivators and De-motivators for her. I took special note of these lists so I can better encourage her.
The lists are already coming in handy. Since she likes to receive pay-for-performance, I assigned her some big tasks to do around the house and paid her for the results. Because she likes to be in charge, I hired her as a “professional organizer” to help her siblings organize their rooms. And since she does not like being left out of decision making, she and I shopped for her homeschool curriculum together a few weeks ago.
The report listed her strongest career attributes: initiative, independence, persistence, achievement, and self-control. Those qualities certainly describe her.
What jobs would be a good match?
Most of the twenty jobs listed on the report relate to business management. She would be a great manager since she likes telling people what to do. The jobs of Public Relations Manager and Medical and Health Services Manager sound interesting to her.
Yet she complained, “None of them are big enough!” She was curious to know what possibilities were at the bottom of her list.
Several days later she announced to me, “Mom, my health textbook is telling me more about careers than CashCrunch. For health professions, it tells what degree they need and how long it will take to get that degree, and it tells how people can get started on the jobs. And CashCrunch does not do any of that.”
One of my twelve-year-old twins was the next to try out CashCrunch Careers. When we had network issues during the survey, I feared that she would have to start over from the beginning, but she didn’t! If you lose a connection or step away to do something else, CashCrunch Careers saves your progress.
A few questions in, she asked, “What does this word mean?” Rather than give her the definition, I showed her how she could hover over it to see a few synonyms. This feature helped her complete the test on her own.
As she read over her Career Report, her eyes lit up. In the Motivators and De-motivators section she read, “Given a choice, you would prefer to make your own decisions and rely on your own judgment.”
“That is so true!”
Well, I certainly learned something new about her. I had not realized how independent she is. I listened in as she continued reacting to the report.
Her career match section was full of managerial jobs.
“The first one doesn’t sound like fun. Advertising and Promotions Manager sounds more interesting.”
Suddenly I heard, “Oooh…computer things!” However, she next stated, “Computer and Information Systems Manager…sounds a bit too important for me to be involved in.”
Who knows what the future may hold for her?
The other twin started the survey while her sisters were finishing up. I was curious to see what would be on her report. Would it be the same as her twin?
Before I could take time to compare the reports, the girls were doing it on their own. Both lists held many of the same jobs. Fifteen of the twenty listed on this twin’s report were managerial.
She was surprised at the job matches.
“I’m confused why it shows those things… so many managers … and funeral director!”
I asked my twenty-year-old daughter if she would like to try out CashCrunch Careers. She never responded, but I ordered a survey for her anyway.
Even though she has been out of high school for two years, she has no career plan, so the test could prove helpful. Because she is busy with a full-time job, she was the last to take the test.
She appreciated being able to postpone answering tough questions. When you switch to a different page of the survey, the screen tracks incomplete questions so you can go back and answer them later.
The Motivators and De-motivators list is quite accurate for her. I was shocked to discover that my quiet, reserved daughter does not enjoy working alone for extended periods.
“It explains why I’ve had trouble with homework. It’s part of why I had trouble with the early shift—it requires doing most of it alone, and I just wouldn’t know what to do.”
She prefers working closely with others. I wish I had known this long ago, as it may have changed the way I homeschooled her during high school.
The list of career options surprised her. “Is it a mistake?” she wondered, comparing her report to her younger sisters’. “All the jobs seem to be the same. It seems to be all the same category of jobs.” She concluded, “The career match thing is not correct. Everything else is pretty good.”
The CashCrunch Career Report works very well as a personality test. It highlights the way personality affects your work style. It helps kids (and parents) understand what motivates them and what things discourage them. It highlights traits that are beneficial in the workplace.
Yet the career recommendations surprised me. Three of the girls’ career match lists were identical. The fourth girl had a ton of overlap with her sisters in this area as well. Other areas of the report were quite different for my daughters. This puzzled me, so I emailed CashCrunch Careers to ask about it.
Paul Vasey, who set up CashCrunch Careers, explained how the test works. It analyzes a person’s personality traits and matches them to the skills required in various jobs. Researchers wrote the algorithm based on job requirements from the Department of Labor. CashCrunch Careers takes into account the future demand for workers. It highlights growing fields in the results.
Paul assured me, “Although there is overlap for a lot of people, there are different careers suggested mainly towards the tail end of the suggestions for some.” Within each field, there are a variety of jobs. “For example, in the publishing world you will need editors, writers and graphic designers. In the police force there are a number of different personalities required depending on their roles. Some will rise to the ranks in leadership, be detectives, others will follow a more scientific route into CSI and so on. The purpose is to show that within careers there are a number of different roles for different personalities.”
CashCrunch Careers promised to highlight the path my kids should take for their dream career. But where is this career path information? Paul answered this concern as well. CashCrunch Careers is designed to make students aware of various career possibilities. It lists colleges as a starting point for further research. The college information should help kids understand the educational requirements for specific jobs. Paul plans to add education summaries for each career in the next version. I hope the future version of CashCrunch Careers also incorporates nontraditional education options.
Paul detailed specific advice on how to prepare for a dream job. He encouraged us to work backward from the end goal to find the appropriate path:
“If you figure out for example that Business Administration is a good fit, you can then look at the colleges that offer those courses. There might be colleges that you may not have even considered.”
He suggests researching the types of courses, length of education, the cost of the degree, and other factors. We should also add in some appropriate internships and volunteer work to supply the necessary experience.
Paul created a video to show what to do with the list of potential careers on a CashCrunch Career Report.
The report shows some jobs my student may be good at. Most of them are not entry-level jobs. Even after attending college, they would need experience in that field before reaching their dream job.
The more basic jobs in the field are included in CashCrunch Careers even if they do not show up on the Career Report. General and Operations Manager is at the top of my daughter’s list. When I click on it, I see that it lies in the Business, Management and Administration category. I can click on that category to find a variety of jobs in that field, including entry-level positions. Any of these jobs could be a stepping-stone to her ultimate goal.
If she decides to pursue a career as a General and Operations Manager, she should start with an appealing job in that field. Taking advantage of educational opportunities and achieving promotions will propel her toward her dream job.
Despite my concerns about the career information, CashCrunch Careers is useful in our homeschool. The report details my children’s strongest personality traits. Knowing what motivates or discourages my kids can help me tailor my teaching style and curriculum to their unique needs.
The report can act as a starting point for talking about careers. Since the twins’ Career Match lists were so similar, they started brainstorming what they might do together. Running a hotel might be a great joint venture. They might also like to manage a video game store together or open up a cat cafe. Perhaps I need to add more business coursework in their homeschool curriculum during high school. They may also benefit from some related internships during the teen years.
CashCrunch Careers is a neat tool to help me understand my kids better and get them thinking about their future. I must admit, though, that I probably would not have purchased one for each of my daughters. The $99-per-child price is just too steep. I rarely spend even half that amount on curriculum for one of our homeschool subjects that the kids share. I have explored other career-related curricula which include similar tests. They cost significantly less and can be reused by multiple children.
Next year, Paul intends to launch a course to guide students in the pursuit of their dream career based on the results of their Career Report. I hope he includes it in the CashCrunch Careers membership. It may be the missing ingredient that would make the product worth the expense.