A fulfilling career is a key to a happy life.  But identifying your ideal vocation is not easy.  Our families and friends have discovered two excellent resources to help you find your calling.

The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation uses aptitude testing to help you learn more about yourself and identify occupations which best match your talents.  With test centers in 11 major cities across the country, there is likely to be one near you.  The testing is set up to measure natural potential and personal strengths and therefore does not require any preparation.  It comprises two three and a half hour testing sessions followed by a meeting to discuss the results.  Part of each testing session is spent working with an evaluator and part on the computer.  At the final one and a half hour reporting session, an evaluator guides you through your aptitude profile and career recommendations. We were impressed with the thoroughness of the report and how well it seemed to reflect our daughter’s strengths.  Appointments must be made in advance and can be made for consecutive days or spread out over time.

Founded in 1922, the Foundation uses empirical data to constantly improve its methods to ensure accuracy in an evolving world.  The foundation provides every test-taker with a personal, in-depth profile and with literature describing how to matrix aptitude with career choices.  Evaluators encourage test-takers to contact them as a future resource as they narrow their job choices.  This follow-up is free for a year.

Aptitude testing is interesting at any stage of life, but it is particularly useful to those entering college and choosing majors, those just finishing college, and those who want to make a career change.  Johnson O’Connor does not help you find a job, but they help you narrow your search to the jobs that will best suit your inborn talents.

Complete testing, evaluation and counseling session, plus optional follow-up: $600.

Johnson, O’Connor :

Tim Butler, Harvard Business School’s Director of Career Development, offers an online tool that facilitates a self-assessment of the test-taker’s interests and values.  His tool is used at more than 400 business schools around the world.  Importantly, Butler has limited his research to business careers, but his insights into personality and temperament can be applied elsewhere.

For a $95 fee, a test taker gains access to the tests and also to the incredible database of jobs with descriptions and real-world testimonials from experts in each.  The tests first measure the taker’s interests to generate a personalized “career universe” or a list of all of the careers that might intrigue the test taker.  The test then narrows this list by evaluating the test taker’s motivators, how he or she likes to be rewarded and the kind of corporate culture that best suits his or her personality.  The ensuing report is a comprehensive recommendation about the kinds of environments in which the candidate would likely thrive and those professions, environments, and factors that he or she should avoid in navigating a career path.  Butler’s database of careers is an incredible resource.  One client found it useful to cull all of the information from both the Johnson O’Connor and Tim Butler tests and apply it to the career profiles in Butler’s database for a comprehensive evaluation of that client’s “fit” in a given professional field.

Butler’s Career Leader can be found at

Scott Dinsmore is a career change strategist – listen to his approach on this TEDxGoldenGate Park video.