About CareerLeader

In the early 1980s CareerLeader co-founders Drs. James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, colleagues at Harvard Business School, were dissatisfied with the assessment instruments available to career development professionals and their students (or clients). They resolved to design a tool specifically for business students and professionals—a mission that would ultimately lead to the launch of CareerLeader.

Their initial research was based on data from their collective work as independent career counselors, done in consultation with senior executives and organizations. This research led to the publication of their first book, Discovering Your Career in Business (Addison-Wesley, 1997). They then brought their self-assessment tool to the Web, and CareerLeader as we know it today was born.

Based on more than 50 collective years of scientific research and career development experience, CareerLeader has been designed to:

  • Provide expert assessments of one's unique pattern of business-relevant interests, skills and motivators
  • Match an individual to specific business-related careers when compared to our database of hundreds of thousands of business professionals
  • Help the user understand what organizational cultures will be the best fit for them

Over the years, the CareerLeader research database has since grown to over half a million people, and continues to provide the foundation for the science behind the program. Research, teaching, training and writing activities support the continued evolution of CareerLeader.

As you aspire to a career in business, or a career or job change, you should view yourself as a unique combination of Interests, skills and motivators—the qualities or goals that inspire or propel you. Your motivators (financial gain, security, etc.) and your skills (communication, quantitative analysis, etc.) are very important as modifying influences to your interests. But, it is how these three factors come together that should drive how you approach your next career move.
People make poor career choices for lots of reasons: Family or societal pressure; being seduced by money or status; trying to advance before gaining the needed experience and savvy. One of the most common reasons, though, is making a career choice because one is good at something—regardless of degree of interest in the work.

CareerLeader is based on the premise that interest, not skill, is the foundation of a satisfying and rewarding career. Of course, skill level has to exceed some minimum level if one is to compete, or even be considered for, a position. But, it is interest that is the true source of competitive advantage.
There’s more: We all have personality features that can be strengths, or weaknesses, depending on the circumstances. At times, the "right" feature in the "wrong" situation could lead to a major breakdown in your career's forward progress. Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing when and where to utilize them, is essential for avoiding obstacles in your career progression.

And the same goes for choice of employer. Several aspects of career satisfaction have more to do with the employer's organizational culture than with any particular industry or functional role. The work culture may be critical in determining which company or business unit is a good fit, whatever combination of interests, motivators and skills led to that industry or functional role in the first place.

CareerLeader uniquely brings all of these aspects together in one place. From the test scores, CareerLeader develops a unique profile that is compared with those of more than 500,000 businessmen and women who have been a part of CareerLeader research. You get recommendations for what careers might work best, how to evaluate your “fit” with different cultures, and how to effectively present yourself in interviews. And, the more you know, the more effective you will be in making choices.
The personalized CareerLeader profile is a learning tool. It can be used to validate—or invalidate—assumptions about what is “ideal” in a career. The data can help you develop a path, or get unstuck from a career that is underway but not satisfying. Insights from the data will help you learn to leverage your strengths. You’re likely to find yourself working better with others, both on the job and in life.

CareerLeader coaches are trained to guide students and rising executives through the process and the data. However, it is perfectly possible to take the assessments and benefit from the results without the guidance of a coach.
To see CareerLeader in action, take the tour.

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