Tom

Tom graduated from Yale in 1999 with a major in political science. He had always felt a strong commitment to community service. After graduation, he taught for three years in a private school and then served as a caseworker for children in foster care. He worked closely with families from all over New York City and really enjoyed advocating for the children. At the same time, the job was quite draining, so he left there after a two year stint to devote time to travel. Unfortunately, while abroad, Tom became extremely ill. The recovery was a very long and slow process, and by the time he had recuperated enough to look for another job, he felt lost professionally. He then took a series of jobs that were not very fulfilling. Tom tested about two years ago, when he decided he wanted a better understanding of himself.

Testing indicated that Tom’s basic aptitude profile is that of a Structural Generalist. He also has strengths in both problem solving aptitudes and both visual aptitudes along with average Idea Productivity. This combination indicates he needs a career that offers: (1) a connection to the structural world; (2) many problems to solve; (3) a variety of tasks; (4) interaction with others – possibly including a role as teacher or mentor; and (5) a strong sense of teamwork.

Tom's goal was to put his strengths to use working at a non-profit that helps to empower disadvantaged New Yorkers. Following aptitude testing, he took a position working in fundraising and communications at a community development non-profit. Tom says he liked working with the staff throughout the large organization. "One day I might learn about affordable housing issues and the next day I would write a grant for a program that helps immigrants. I loved collaborating on a variety of projects. In many ways, the position fit well with the results of my aptitude testing."

When the non-profit was forced to downsize earlier this year, Tom quickly found a new position at another non-profit that trains unemployed and formerly incarcerated individuals to become skilled woodworkers. Tom has several roles there that he really enjoys, including: teaching job readiness classes; reaching out to businesses to convince them to hire program graduates; and overseeing upgrades to the non-profit's data management system.

Tom believes his new role really suits his Structural Generalist aptitude profile. "I love the diversity of duties, many of which involve working closely with trainees and serving as a liaison to the business community. I feel the job draws on my interpersonal strengths but also uses my problem-solving skills." Tom's test results also showed that he would gain satisfaction from concrete results, and he tells us that he loves seeing people gain skills and find jobs as woodworkers and cabinetmakers. "I also love being around the woodworking machinery myself, and learning how cabinets are made."

Until the testing, Tom says he never really understood how important working on something with tangible results would be to his professional happiness. "The aptitude testing was a transformative experience. It helped me to understand my strengths and what I need to look for in a job to feel fulfilled. It will remain a crucial tool to help guide my career choices."

Read Jim's story...