Case Study: First-time Career Launcher - Claire

Client Background

Claire is approximately 22 years old and in her last semester at UC Berkeley. Completing a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Conservation Studies. Completed two internships: Research Analyst in Washington D.C. and a marketing internship for an environmental consulting firm in SF where she continued to work part-time in her final semester. Has significant volunteer work experience as a tutor and mentor, treasurer for her sorority and event coordinator for the YWCA.

Presenting Problem/Need

She entered career counseling feeling “clueless” about a career direction. After successfully applying for and interviewing for five consulting positions she realized she hated the focus on “pure” analysis and valued life/work balance and subsequently eliminated consulting as a career path. She felt discouraged, worried and frustrated as her final semester drew near.

Degree of Self-Awareness gained from Behavioral/Verbal Data

Claire is a very bright and personable young woman. She is quite articulate and easily shares information about her work experiences and volunteer work. She lights up when discussing her love of using creativity in making scrapbooks and similar “design” projects. She expressed, “most careers don’t value or draw upon her creative side”.

Underlying Issues, Development Factors and Causes to Explore

Claire had previously taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® but had not taken any other assessments or worked with a career counselor prior to counseling. She is very open to learning more about herself and is hopeful the process will yield some career ideas that she can act upon.

Claire's Career Profile: Career Driver Skills with Examples

Skills from Skill Summary

Management/Leadership: 30%

Skills: Organize, Lead, Manage Projects and Coordinate. Often the point person on school group projects; sets the goal, runs the meeting and keeps members on track. Volunteer event coordination for numerous YWCA events. Treasurer for her Sorority.

Creative: 40%

Skills: Visualize, Author, Brainstorm, Create Images. Making scrapbooks and decorating for Sorority events. Won an award in a business competition for her design of a retail wine tourist attraction. Food sampling display.

Communication and Relationship: 30%

Skills: Speak/Interact, Persuade, Write, Promote, Advocate, Collaborate, Serve as a Liaison. Writes proposals and marketing materials for her company. Promotes recycling at her Sorority. Volunteer mentor/tutor at a High School for 3 years.

Values with Examples


Guiding people to accomplish personal goal or organizational objectives.

Example: As treasurer, worked with officers to manage their budgets and persuaded House Board to lower chapter fees.


Using imagination to create images or products.

Example: Produced a Creative Memory Scrapbook for each year of college.


To be challenged at what I’m doing.

Example: Learned how to promote her company at networking events.

Holland Themes and Specific Interests


Persuade and lead


Work with objects


Use imagination and creativity

Specific Interests

  • Conservation and the Environment
  • Business
  • Creativity
  • Leadership

Myers-Briggs Type



Over a three session period, Claire completed Career Driver, a Values checklist/written exercise, identified her top three Holland themes and made a list of her favorite enjoyable activities. The counselor prepared a document of the results, discussed the patterns across the results and brainstormed options.

Career Counseling Outcome

Claire indicated a very strong preference for organizational/management positions where she could use her strong abilities and preferences in creativity. She facetiously called herself a “creative manager” with a group of friends who all validated this description of her. Our brainstorming led to a variety of options including event, conference or tradeshow management, advertising, marketing, brand management, public relations and company-sponsored management training programs with a marketing emphasis. Claire was eager to begin exploring these areas and conducting informational interviews.

Goal Accomplishment

Within six weeks of completing the counseling sessions, Claire applied for and received two interviews for marketing positions and conducted an informational interview in advertising. Later in the semester she sent a targeted letter and resume to 20 public relations firms in Silicon Valley. She received two interviews and accepted a full time position with her favorite. With a clear focus, Claire wasted no time pursuing a variety of avenues. She used her strong initiative and creativity to go after Public Relations and reported six months later she was extremely happy.

Approximately two-years later: After 1 1/2 years in public relations, Claire found the work fairly repetitive and began looking for a new position. She heard about as Assistant Buyer position at Williams Sonoma and immediately applied for it. Claire was hired and found the work much more in alignment with her skills and interests. This position drew upon her skills in creativity where she could develop displays, create new products and conduct special events and use her communication skills to work with vendors, management and other departments. Cooking had been a long time interest of Claire’s but she never imagined she could find a position in this area until she landed the assistant buyer position.

Counselor - Key Learnings

The combined assessment results helped Claire to see that she had very specific preferences and repeating skill themes that matched up to her Career Driver Skill Categories and Skills. By seeing the connection between her “Value” of creativity and corresponding creative skills, she recognized how they need to play a central role in her work. She left counseling with a high level of optimism and acted quickly to apply her self-knowledge to a much more targeted job search.