Planning next steps in your life is overwhelming when you don’t fully understand how to get a job out of college. That’s where career counselling comes in—but what if you can’t go outside or you’re not sure if you can afford ongoing career counselling? That’s why I’ve outlined where to find career counselling online. These options have free tests, affordable reports, and an incredibly fast turnaround time.
Let’s get to it.
Based out of Waterloo, Ontario, Plum provides free work personality tests to uncover your preferences, blind spots, and hidden talents. Its platform uses organizational and industrial psychology to get the most accurate results possible—not every platform does.
What’s also interesting is that it focuses on drawing out your hidden talents to show how you’d excel in the workplace, not just scanning keywords in a resume for some old school application tracking system. It works, and Plum has the customer base to back it up: it serves the likes of Bentley, Hyundai, Dentsu, and Deloitte (and Scotiabank, which Canadian readers will recognize).
The results also contain detailed analyses for your work style and your work preferences. It’s pretty accurate, too. The assessment itself takes about 25-30 minutes to complete, consisting of these elements:
- Pattern recognition tests
- Comparing your motivations and values
Plum won’t tell you where to apply for jobs or where to earn professional certificates in a given industry (employers are its customer base, not job seekers), but it provides invaluable information about your personality, your talents, and your ideal working environment (with an instant turnaround time). Its psychometric test is easily the most thorough and accurate out of all three that I took while researching where to find career counselling online.
The test takes 25-30 minutes. I’d highly suggest taking it to better understand your own needs for a successful job search. Who knows—your future employer might even be interested to see the results!
CareerFitter offers a quick assessment with a questionnaire similar to Plum’s test, but it’s not nearly as detailed (both in the testing questions and the results). With that said, CareerFitter’s paid assessment emphasizes specific career path recommendations based on your answers—that’s the difference.
This test covers these general areas of career counselling:
- Work personality strengths
- Optimal work environment
- Income potential
- Best-fitting careers
- Work-from-home careers
The quality of the answers on the free assessment are decent. It hit on some accurate aspects of my professional personality and preferences, but they were dressed up in copy designed to prime you for a purchase as often as not. Still, for $20, it’s a good deal to get specific ideas on your career trajectory. You could do a lot worse for much higher prices than that.
This is where to find career counselling online at a low price. $20 can earn you good ideas about the kind of roles and work environments that will enable you to succeed at work. The psychometric test isn’t as deep as Plum’s test, but the career path recommendations make this test stand out.
TuCareers claims to leverage data from O*Net for its psychometric analysis, being the largest job database in the world. Seems promising! Here was my experience.
First, it asks for your contact information up-front, but also an interesting detail: it wants to know if you’re a student, a recent grad, a graduate student, or a working professional. This is a handy distinction that I didn’t see other tests make.
You’ll start by filling out a short but rigid form asking you about your current and desired roles. Pro tip: the “job” fields need to be filled with predetermined roles in TuCareers’ database. If you don’t see the role you have or the one you want, just go with the closest thing.
From there you’ll be greeted by a video with the most unenthusiastic video voiceover in the history of video production.
The beginning of the assessment leverages a bit of a brute-force approach by asking you to rank the kinds of roles that appeal to you and those that don’t. After that it gets more interesting, covering:
- Asking you to assess your own skills compared to your peers.
- Asking you to assess your own character and work preferences.
- Assessing your motivations and work style.
- Narrowing down the knowledge you need for your target industry.
The whole thing takes 20-25 minutes, even if you finish it at a leisurely pace. It’s knowing where to find career counselling online to compare these results with other tests, though.
The results were decent, containing a fair amount of accurate insights about me that other tests found as well, but they weren’t perfect. For example: despite emphasizing my skills and interest in writing to the exclusion of most other options, it still pegged my job family as “computer and mathematical.” I do have an organizational left-brain side to my work personality, but my dominant skills in communication wouldn’t win many job offers in the world of software or engineering (as I found out the hard way).
However, it did give me a nifty “fit” score for the role I told them I had and the role I wanted. The results for both were nearly identical and a little bit too middle-of-the-road to offer too much value, but others might find it useful if you’re just starting out after college.
At the end of the day, the free assessment is a pretty bare-bones document—but it’s important to remember that I’d already taken 2 similar psychometric tests quite recently.
The marketer in me understands that this is a “lead magnet” (something given away for free to warm up prospects for an eventual sales pitch), but I feel there could have been more depth here. If you’re just getting your bearings out of school then it’s worth your time to take the test, but manage your expectations about the results.
The other three options for online career counselling are quick and automated, but they lack a human touch. That’s why I wanted to include Liz Ryan on this list.
Liz Ryan’s Human Workplace has a quick and easy career-coaching-by-email service. Your question can be up to 500 words long and you’ll receive a reply around that length within 5 business days. You’ll get a response from Liz’s team that offers direction (and a potential plan), insights, next steps, and resources to help you grow into the role you want. Take a look some free career seminars she’s already given, below.
The price is $499, so do understand that part of what you’re paying for here is the expediency of a personalized assessment—it’s not just about speed, but hand-crafted plans with very real next steps underpinned by decades of HR experience. With that said, I’ve taken one of Liz Ryan’s self-directed online courses (for $100) and was pleased with the result.
Liz Ryan also writes one of the best career counselling blogs that you’ll find out there, so check out her website!
The verdict on where to find career counselling online
No single assessment on this list ticks every box, so it probably pays to take more than one.
- Plum has the deepest and most accurate personality results, but doesn’t offer career suggestions.
- CareerFitter offers plenty of career choices, but its psychometric assessment isn’t as deep as Plum.
- TuCareers’ free report is a little sparse, but can offer many suggestions with its affordable report.
- Advice from a living, breathing HR veteran can cost more money than new graduates might have, but would be more helpful for established young professionals.
Take the free assessments, at least—especially if you’re a recent graduate. The $20 reports are easily affordable, even for fresh grads, so you have nothing to lose—and you might just find an insight that could change your life.