The Career Key is one of the first services to provide an online career test. Lawrence K. Jones, professor emeritus of North Carolina University, developed the website in 1996 when the university’s website couldn’t handle all the traffic that the school-sponsored test was receiving. The Career Key’s test is affordable to students who are deciding on a major or who are just beginning their careers.
The test appears to be scientifically grounded, as it has a technical manual available to the public and does not feature advertisements on its web interface. It is also based in Holland Code theory, also known as RIASEC, which represents the six personality types that the theory identifies including Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Although it only has five questions, a representative of The Career Key insists that the test soundly determines your personality code. Nonetheless, we question the test’s accuracy because it is only a self-analysis. A self-analysis is limited to what you know about yourself. A more formal assessment will also assess things you don’t necessarily know about yourself to provide a more in-depth picture of your personality characteristics.
In the report, the scale by which it measures each personality type is much smaller than other Holland Code-based tests with a spectrum of only 15 or 20 points. As a result, each point weighs more heavily in the equation. When we took The Career Key test, we scored a 9 on Conventional and an 8 on Enterprising. We scored higher on Artistic and Social, so the test determined us to be an ASC, even though Enterprising was a close fourth. However, the report only recommended pursuing careers that are associated with Artistic, Social or Conventional types. Career tests are only meant to point you in the direction where you are most likely to be successful, but we wish the service offered a list of all the career and personality type associations. The report is only one page, but it links heavily to resources available on The Career Key’s website and to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online Occupational Outlook Handbook, a network of detailed job descriptions for thousands of jobs available in the United States.
We found the test’s web interface easy to navigate. The Career Key’s website is also well designed and clearly explains what their test has to offer you. The service also sends you notification emails with access codes to the test. It provides you with an account that you have access to for 90 days from the point of activation. The account includes a number of helpful resources including exclusive career-related articles.
The Career Key’s website includes contact information including a number of email addresses. The website also includes answers to frequently asked questions, but it does not provide sample reports. We are pleased that it responds to email inquiries within 24 hours. The website also contains a number of insightful and well-articulated articles.
Although we question the test’s accuracy, we recognize the benefits of The Career Key. It offers an affordable career test and its website contains a number of insightful resources. It is clear that Lawrence K. Jones understands the RIASEC theory, and they help a lot of students choose a career path that will lead to success.