Career Orientation: The Ultimate Guide

This is the ultimate career orientation guide for job seekers.

So if you want to know:

  • The career that best fits your personality
  • What is career orientation
  • How to be favorably competitive in the job market
  • And many more…

Then you will love this guide.

So let’s get started.

What is Career Orientation?

Career orientation involves a collection of self-perceived skills, attitudes, and values that form the core of a person’s occupational self-concept.

It is what guides and influences your selection of specific jobs and work settings.

Career orientation is also a career development instructional guidance program. It’s designed to prepare students to have a better understanding of educational and career opportunities and options that would assist them in making meaningful and well-informed career choices.

A career is more than a job or sequence of jobs, luck or happenstance!

It can easily be altered by fortune or misfortune, and for most people, it gives them a sense of direction.

Dr. Brooke Derr developed an assessment tool that helps job seekers decide on the career that best fits their personality — the Career Success Map Questionnaire.

The tool identifies five critical career orientations, each bearing different motivational needs, strategies for success and potential problems job seekers could face.

Every job seeker falls into one of the following as developed by Dr. Brooke Derr:

1. Getting ahead

These kinds of people are driven by advancement and increased mobility. They prefer action, using power to get things done and achieving goals.

This can lead to aggressive competition, politics and even jealousy among peers.

Getting ahead is actually a good trait in a person’s career, but it’s also important to learn the organization’s culture, develop and nurture strategic relationships. This would help to tackle the downsides of this career orientation trait.

2. Getting high

These kinds of people are driven by challenges and excitement. They prefer cutting edge opportunities and tend to use new techniques in doing things.

This career orientation trait can lead to conflict with the organization’s culture and job requirements. So it’s best to develop political skills and apply to only companies that require your trait.

3. Getting secure

These kinds of people are driven majorly by job security and company loyalty. They always seek recognition, stick with a specific routine, and are excellent at predicting.

This trait can lead to conflict with an achievement culture and difficulties dealing with change.

To fix this, learn to go with the flow, so others would know of your contributions.

4. Getting balanced

These kinds of people are driven by the equilibrium between their work, personal development, and important relationships.

They are really flexible at what they do, but, would love for extra time to pursue other things in life. This trait can lead to a perception that you don’t take your work so seriously.

So, be very careful about the timing issue and focus your energy more to be seen as a team player. Pay your dues first, and then the reward will come!

5. Getting free

These kinds of people are driven by autonomy and independence. They want total control over a work process; prefer less structure and more creative freedom.

This trait can lead to conflict in the company’s management and would picture you as a non-team player.

Just like I said earlier… first, pay your dues, earn your credibility and contribute more to your team effort, and then the reward will come.

The major aim of any career orientation tool is to improve your self-awareness and to help suggest potentially suitable career management strategies that fit you and would lead to the achievement of your goals.

In organizational development (OD), career development focuses on:

  • How individuals manage their careers within and between industries
  • …And how organizations shape the career progress of their members. This can also be tied to succession planning within some industries.

How to Be Favorably Competitive on the Job Market

getting a good career

Being favorably competitive on the job market involves a combination of a variety of aspects and factors which include:

  • Educational background
  • Acquired skills
  • Environment
  • Work experience
  • Access to labor markets information
  • Timing
  • Personality and character
  • Ability and willingness to sell oneself

The ability to sell oneself involves things like a well-structured CV, preparing and understanding the interview processes, understanding your career path, exploring a variety of opportunities like volunteering, taking up an internship, attachment and mentorship programs, and lots more.

Timing will help you know when a specific job market is on the low or high, while your personality and character involve traits like:

  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Your ambitions
  • Focus
  • Flexibility
  • Confidence
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
  • Leadership qualities
  • Trust, and dependability
  • Enterprising
  • Not money-driven
  • Self-expression
  • Etc.

The following will help you with your career orientation ethics and attributes:

  • Set a goal or target
  • Be rational in thinking
  • Be strategic in your decision-making process
  • Have a good knowledge of your various duties and responsibilities
  • Learn how to resolve conflicts
  • Don’t fear anyone, instead, respect them.

There are several career orientation tests you can take in order to be more orientated on your career path. These career aptitude tests will give you a better insight into your career personality.

They tend to relate your career personality to a specific standard which in turn helps gives you knowledge on the best kind of work environments and occupations that suits you best.

123test.com is a good place to get started.

Keep in mind that the main purpose of any career orientation test is to improve your self-awareness and suggest potentially suitable career management strategies that’d fit you and lead you to achieve your goals.

Career orientation tests won’t guarantee you success in getting a job, nor do they mandate your pursuit of a specified career path.

These tests are there to enlighten you, not to dictate!


I really hope you enjoyed this simple career orientation guide. Now I’d love to hear from you:

What category of people do you belong to in Dr. Brooke Derr’s Career Success Map Questionnaire?

What other traits do you think can make someone favorably competitive in the job market?

Or maybe you feel I didn’t get some facts right.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right away.

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