February Issue theme: Card Sorts
I use a wide variety of card sorts and LOVE how they allow the student or client to form their own thinking and NOT rely upon a computer generated report. 
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Second Anniversary

Peak-Careers Consulting

Friday February 3rd 2012, was my last day at the community college I worked at for 11 years. I arrived home at 4:30pm and at 4:45pm I was offered a job 2 days / week at a liberal arts college here in Maine. Serendipity? Luck? Call it what you will.... I've never looked back. 
Peak-Careers Consulting began in 2000 but 2/3/2012 will always be my anniversary date as I went full time on my consulting business this day.

Creativity, Card Sorts, and the Conversation.

Creativity is one of the reasons I enjoy using a variety of "card-sorts" in career coaching with Boomers & with Colby College students. There are no answers printed out from a software program,  no one way of using the cards, only the conversation it generates. I LOVE it!

If you have not used card sorts in your practice, I suggest you explore using them. If you use them now, keep up the good work!

I recently met with a first year college student who was all confused about choosing an occupation. She was so "hung up" on choosing a specific job that she practically stumbled all over herself, "I thought about being a lawyer because my mom is one, then going into medicine, then being an architect...I even went to a month long architect camp, and I've thought about sociology." I have a magnetic dart board in my office with various occupations on it and I asked, "Do you want to choose a career by throwing the dart?" She actually said yes and was literally ready to choose by throwing a dart! (Read more)


Below are samples of card sorts I use. There are many different kinds of card sorts out there, you can even make your own!

Skills Card Sorts

Dick Knowdell's
Motivated Skills

I use the Motivated Skills Card sorts nearly every day I work at Colby College.  Dick's Motivated Skills Cards can be purchased for $10 + Shipping/Handling and used 100's of times. Having each person hold each card, give meaning to the skill, decide where to put it in the columns, is all processing information, and giving value to each skill.  Every time I use them, students tell me it was helpful. 
You can order these on the  Career Trainer website. He has an online version for $12 per use, so it does not make sense to rely upon the online version....unless you are coaching someone who lives a long way away. They look exactly like the real cards.

Lesah Beckhusen
SkillScan Online Cards


Lesah has been another proponent of using card sorts and has an online version as well for $14.95.  SkillScan comes with some very nice reports.  From her website she states that "Test Takers Like Card sorts because they are", Tactile & Engaging, Structured Learning, Personalized Assessment Results, Fast & Comprehensive, and Practical with Direct Application to Career Goals.  I have to agree with her!
"Like" me on Facebook.  Look for PeakCareers.

Work Values

Dick Knowdell's
Career Values

Career Values is one of the least understood pieces to this puzzle of career development.  We all know about interests and how personality fits into career decisions, but too often, values are overlooked.  These cards are also $10 each + S/H and can be found at the Career Trainer website. 

Life Values Self Assessment

I first learned of this FREE online values forced choice assessment after reading Live Smart After 50! (in my October 2013 newsletter). It is from a group called What's Next, Create The Life You Want.  This is a great exercise in determining what is important to you by asking you to compare each of 11 life values to each other and to indicate which of the two is more important to work on right now. Check it out here.

Occupational & Major

Missouri Card Sorts 

These were the first card sorts I had ever used and were given to me by my good friend Rees Hughes. Each of the 90 cards has a description of an occupation and the Holland code on the back.  One thing I really like about these is that after a person is done sorting into "LIKE" "NEUTRAL" or "DISLIKE" you can often see the patterns or themes in their "LIKE" pile. Then you can move them around anyway you like to build on those themes.  Order form here.

College Majors

Then one day when I wanted to purchase a newer set of the Missouri Card Sorts, I found they also have a College Majors card sorts!  I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! (Just kidding but I WAS pretty excited.  I have used these to help students narrow downs choices as these words sometimes make more sense to some students than the actual occupational titles. 


Card Sorts for Boomers

Set of 3 by Dr. Dick Haid
Strengths, Passions, & Concerns

This past year I created my newest online seminar for career coaches / counselors / practitioners, focused on working with Boomers. I also decided to begin career coaching this demographic.  I began to develop my own card sorts and then discovered this set of 3 card sorts focusing on the 3rd Quarter of Life.  Career Trainer sells these too.
For $31.50 you get a set of Strengths, Passions, and Concerns Cards plus a booklet with some great information about how to use them with Boomers.  Check them out here.
NOTE: You receive a free set of these cards when you register for my Boomer online seminar (see below)

Online Seminars For Career Advisors


Working With Boomers to Reinvent Retirement

Begins March 1st
15 CCE-approved contact hours for GCDF & Board Certified Coaches (BCC)

Transition Theory in Career Advising

Begins April 12th
10 CCE- approved contact hours for GCDF

Career Advising Using Happenstance

Begins July 19
15 CCE-approved contact hours for GCDF

Check out this 1 minute video to learn what makes my seminars so unique.

My Online Seminars Are: 


  • Asynchronous - Read articles which open on Saturdays and stay open for 1 week.
  • Participate each week when it is convenient for you.
  • Post by Wednesday and continue the discussion through Saturday.
  • Participate in thought provoking discussions with career practitioners like you.
  • Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) approved recertification hours.

Looking for professional development for you or your staff?

I can provide tailored workshops to meet your needs.  

Possible topics include:
  • Using Card Sorts in your practice
  • Using Transition Theory in Career Advising
  • Happenstance: Helping Clients Create Luck
  • The Connection between Academic Advising and Career Advising
  • Identifying skills and connecting them to occupations
What are your needs?  Contact me to discuss.
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