Career Counseling for Teens & Young Adults
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 20-year-old son would benefit from taking an aptitude test to suggest careers based on his skill set and interests. Does anyone have any recommendations for a test? Anon
Call: Dena Sneider, MA Career Consultant Bay Area Career Center 57 Post St., suite 804 San Francisco, CA 94104 (415)398-4881 (w) (925)286-3781 (c) (Dena can also meet in Orinda) Dena gave me a couple very enlightening tests to clarify my interests, strengths and skills. Valuable for me is that she provides the direction to use that information. She's a great career coach. Jessica
Myers-Briggs is a standard recognized test. A counselor at a local community college, and/or university may be able to submit it to your son. Otherwise, I think for a fee, he can find a proxy and take it. It's a test that's often used in a business environment to help with interpersonal relationships. However, in taking the test, the results also list career possibilities for people of the same final code. This information basically tells the test taker which careers have similar people, as your son, in which career. Check it out. http://www.myersbriggs.org/ anon
This isn't exactly what you asked for, but maybe it's another tactic to consider. When my son was in a similar place, he found it very helpful to do a few sessions with career advisor Toni Littlestone in Albany. She started out with questionnaires that are similar to career tests, and then spent a lot of time talking with him about what he enjoys doing, and what he's good at. She then suggested a couple of specific career areas, advised him on the concrete steps necessary to get there, and coached him on the details such as creating a resume and investigating classes and licensing exams. He felt it was extremely helpful, so much so that he extended the sessions beyond what I'd originally proposed. Toni has a rapport with young people. The same advice I'd been giving him that he brushed off as mom-nagging, was accepted from Toni as enlightening. From my point of view, the sessions with Toni gave him a lot of confidence about his capabilities. This was the jump-start he needed to begin the launch to independence. It was not a silver bullet, but it had a very positive effect over the long term. local mom
Both my sons had useful experiences with the Johnson O'Connor Foundation in San Francisco http://www.jocrf.org/ . There is two days of aptitude testing (actual skill testing--not just what people think they might be interested in), then an individual report out session to go over the test results, including specific career possibilities, subject area and work settings to consider, and ways to compensate for areas with challenges. I sat in on both report out sessions.
For my older son, the testing affirmed his skills and interest in engineering, which was helpful after a long and discouraging post-college job search. He's now happily employed as an engineer, although not in the Bay Area.
For my younger son, the testing was substantially more informative. He has struggled with attention issues and learning challenges, especially clerical speed and math calculation. The testing showed very high level performance in inductive and deductive reasoning (normed against a mostly college attending group)as well as off the charts musical skills. The suggestions for possible careers and courses of study were helpful in considering a broader range of options. Still a work in progress, but he did find the aptitude testing encouraging. Help for parenting....
My daughter is 15 and has not a clue what she is interested in pursuing for her future. Could someone recommend a career counselor to give her/us some advice. Thank you. L
Hi, I think it's OK if your 15-year-old daughter doesn't know what career to choose. This is a great time of life for her to explore options and let her imagination run free. There is plenty of time to think about careers later, after high school. Most people nowadays change careers a couple of times in their lives anyway.
To be honest, I fear that my 17-year-old has too much tunnel-vision about his career plans! I'm a big advocate of keeping the field open through the teen years. Mom who found a new career at age 50
I applaud your daughter for not committing to what she will ''do'' with her future! High school is supposed to give a student deep foundations in a broad range of essential subjects and critical thinking skills, as well as good writing and communication skills. A liberal arts education is designed to broaden that exposure to other fields and deepen grounding is a few, with the goal of graduating a well-educated individual. Although it is increasingly the practice to major in something ''practical'' as an undergraduate, the students who do so are facile in one mode of thinking and problem solving, if that. It doesn't give them the analytical skills to follow opportunity. I have taught classes at UC Berkeley. When students come to me for advice I tell them to take the GRE while their test-taking muscles are well-toned, then file the scores - they are good for five years - and go out and be in the world. Work, travel, explore. Find the thing(s) that fascinate you, and make decisions about grad school based on those passions. You won't burn out on too many consecutive years of school, you'll be more productive and get more out of the program because you know why you are there, and you'll have some life experience on which to ground a decision about 'what to be'.
This is my advice to college students. It applies doubly for high school students. Let your daughter live a little! She is too young to know what she wants her place in the world to be. You are fortunate that she is mature enough to recognize that. Lisa
Just wanted to throw out there that it is perfectly normal for a 15 year old to have ''no clue'' about what they want to do in the future. If this is still an issue at 25 then maybe career counseling is in order. I would consider it extremely premature to career counsel a child. --Take a deep breath and big step back
When my daughter was a senior in high school, I set up several career counseling sessions for her with local career coach Toni Littlestone. She was warm and down to earth, and my daughter liked working with her. She helped her understand her career personality style, skills, and interests. They explored lots of different career ideas and she came away with five or six ideas that she was quite excited about. Those ideas helped her decide to try out various college courses in order to explore them. Eventually, she chose one of the directions. She told me that she was really glad that she had gotten a head start on understanding herself and getting career ideas, and that she was not lost like a lot of her friends in college. In her junior year, she met with Toni again to plan the next stage, and right after graduating, they met to start practicing for interviews and creating a resume. My daughter said it was all really helpful. Try Toni LIttlestone, 510-528-2221, or tonilittlestone [at] gmail.com. Happy Parent
I'm looking for recommendations for therapists who can provide both career counseling and emotional support for my 22 year old who has dropped out of college and seems overwhelmed about what to do next. anonymous
I have had experience with an excellent career counselor, Toni Littestone. I know she is already in the BPN recommendations, but in case you didn't come across her name, here's her contact info: 510-528-2221 tonilittlestone [at] gmail.com. She has been around a long time and would be a good match for your young adult. good luck! local BPN parent
Although I understand your desire to find someone who does career counseling and therapy, I don't think there are many qualified people who do both. Most therapists don't do career counseling. By this, I mean, the use of assessments and other tools to help someone discover their interests, skills, values, personality type, and preferred work environment, and how these might translate into possible jobs and career paths. Career counselors are specifically trained in these areas and are knowledgeable about a variety of resources to help someone explore careers and ultimately, make good career choices. Sometimes career counselors refer someone to a therapist when issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, alcohol/drug abuse or other issues get in the way of making progress with career counseling. So, whomever you decide to go with, make sure they have the qualifications and experience to do what your son needs. A Career Counselor with over 20 years experience
I paid for my 24-year-old to have a few sessions with Toni Littlestone, who you can find reviews for on the BPN website. It was very helpful in helping identify what he likes to do and what he would be good at. It's not a magic bullet. but it got him thinking about his future, which was worth it.
My daughter, who is a sophomore in college, has figured out that she is not good at interviews. With medical school interviews looming in the future, she would like to work one on one with an interview coach/career counselor. We are located in Contra Costa County, so someone near us would be preferred, but we are somewhat flexible. Anon
I would like to recommend Lisa Rothman. She coached me through a series of interviews and was great! One of her greatest gifts is that she listens extremely well. She can quickly help sift out what are your blocks and what are your strengths and give you a very workable game plan. She can be reached at: rothman.lisa [at] gmail.com Good luck! Laurie
I have been a recruiter for 15 years, working with entry-level up to executive level positions. During that time, I have literally interviewed thousands of candidates, so I am confident in my ability to coach your daughter on her interview technique - from physical presentation to relaying her desired message to appropriate interview followup. Your daughter should be familiar with and prepared for various interview techniques, including behavioral questions, typical 'strength/weakness' questions, illegal/inappropriate questions, and curveballs. Kudos to you for seeking help for her. Many candidates I have met would have benefitted from a few coaching sessions. Leslie
I recommend Lisa Rothman as a great interview coach. She helped me prepare for a job interview last year. Lisa was very helpful in terms of helping me articulate my concerns, frame my expectations, and keep a positive attitude. She also gave me practical advice about what questions to expect and how negotiations work. We rehearsed how the interview might go and she gave me useful feedback. Thanks to her coaching, the interview went well and I got the job. You can find her contact info on her website: http://www.lisarothman.com/ Disclosure: Lisa Rothman is a good friend of mine. Ben
My son just graduated from college and is certainly feeling a bit lost. He could use a bit of focus and direction and I would love to have him see a career counselor or life coach. Has anyone had any experience with a life coach who works with college grads? Thanks.
As my son was finishing college, he, too was uncertain about his direction. We sent him to see Toni Littlestone , a career counselor/coach in Albany, near Solano Avenue. My son found her to be warm, supportive, and extremely helpful. She helped him understand himself, what he might be good at, and the world of work. He now has a career direction that he loves. Toni has a college-age son herself and seems very comfortable and at ease with this age and stage of life. I also have a friend whose daughter was floundering after college and met with Toni for a few months. Toni helped her define a direction, and also helped her a lot with her resume and interview practice. She's now in a good job and has a career path. My friend told me that her daughter felt very happy with the help she received, and that she herself was relieved to have another person who could advise and guide her daughter rather than trying to do it herself. Toni's website is tonilittlestone.com, and her phone is 510.528.2221. Albany Mom
Has anyone had a really good experience with a career and/or grad school counselor for an adult child who has finished college and is not sure what to do next? This seems like such a difficult time in life. High school was straightforward, with the goal of college clarly in mind. College wasn't that difficult to get into with so many choices for college education in this country. But when kids finish college they have to face the big world and it is scary and competitive and there is no one to guide them as in the past. Typical career counselors give interest inventories and then tell the clinet to go and research the results. I am looking for a more personalized approach for a 24 year old. Thanks. Lydia
I had a similar problem after I graduated from college -- some call it the 'quarter-life crisis'. I saw Dr. Elayne Chou , licensed psychologist at the Tang Center (UC Berkeley); she also has a private practice on Shattuck in Berkeley (510-435-9773).... Rebecca
I know of a psychologist who is also a career counselor who may be able to help out a senior (she does work at CAL). I've posted her name a couple of times before- Dr. Elayne Chou (510)435-9773