Mission and History of the Self-Employment Key


We strive to be the nation's source for professional help in making career choices -- affordable to all. To help achieve our missions, we created two websites: Career Key® and Self-Employment Key™.

These websites gives you expert help with career choices -- career changes, career planning, job skills, and choosing a college major or educational program. The Self-Employment Key; is a special version of The Career Key; focused on self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Both are based on the best science and practices of career counseling . . . and the most complete and accurate information available.

The Career Key; test is one of the few professional-quality career tests on the Internet. The results of scientific studies show that it measures what it is supposed to; as experts say, it has validity. This is not true for virtually all of the career tests, sorters, profilers, and quizzes on the web. Beware that invalid career measures can mislead or harm you; please see the article under “Professional Resources” at our website.

Dr. Jones and his wife, Jeanine Wehr Jones, fund these sites because they want to help people and their families, worldwide, lead happy and more satisfying lives. By providing accurate, practical information to everyone, they hope The Career Key™ and The Self-Employment Key™ will empower people to make informed decisions and act in their best self-interest and, ultimately, the best interests of their country.


The Career Key (CK) was first published in 1987 by the Ferguson Publishing Company. In 1990, Careers, Inc. became its publisher. During this period, a number of studies showed that its validity and reliability were comparable to similar instruments and that users found it helpful.

In 1997, the CK was launched on the Internet as a free public service primarily for middle and high school students. Since then, numerous refinements and additions have been made, and it is widely used by students and adults. The number of schools, colleges, libraries, and career services linking to the website has rapidly grown. A fee was added to the test to fund the maintenance and continued improvement of the websites.

In January 2008, the CK's author, Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, developed and launched The Self-Employment KeyTM (SEK). This special version of the CK tells people not only whether their personality fits self employment but also what type of business best fits their personality. Dr. Jones is the first to combine two of the best known and most widely researched personality theories in one test for self-employment and entrepreneurship: the “Big 5” factor theory and John Holland's theory of career choice.

The SEK measures users' six Holland personality types, the two relevant “Big 5” factors, and then shows users occupations and businesses containing ten percent or more self-employed, about which they are given accurate, comprehensive information. For more information about the research that supports the SEK, please visit the “Research” page. For a downloadable version, please contact julietjones@careerkey.org