We all know what career indicator tests are—or, at least, I hope we do. Most of us have taken one at some time or another. Although, what significance do these examinations hold? How seriously should we consider the results? Are all analyses created equal? It is important to remember that test results are only an indicator. It should not be the complete measurement of which job or career is best for you.
With that said, there are many different types of career assessments. The main ones are based on skills and abilities, interests and/or personality tendencies. It is up to you to determine which of these areas to focus on first, and then continue on to try out the rest. It would not be balanced to only consider one type of test. For example, if I were to take a career assessment based solely on my skills and abilities, then I’d be selling myself short, because my interests, values and personality were not properly taken into consideration.
Since there are so many indicators out there, here are a few to start with:
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)—One of the most well-known career indicators, the MBTI measures psychological inclinations in how people distinguish the world and make decisions. The test offers 16 personality types on what is called a “type table”.
- Careerscope—This exam considers both career interest and skill to help an individual plan further education or a career choice. It helps to target interest areas, while identifying and calculating the user’s draw to careers within the U.S. Department of Labor’s Interest Areas.
- Strong Interest Inventory—This test measures leisure interests along with career options. Interest-based assessments such as this one focus on a person’s interests and values to find out where their passions lie.
- Keirsey Temperament Sorter—This one is comparable to the MBTI, but presents different results. The assessment arranges four temperaments: idealists, guardians, artisans and rationals. There are also eight role categories under those temperaments. The test depends on visible behaviors, which makes it very consistent.
It would be helpful to take at least one of the exams above, if not all of them. Before you think about taking another career assessment though, I highly suggest taking a few preliminary steps prior to, such as:
- Figure out everything you can about your personality type and tendencies. The Jung Typology Test is a good one to take. Check out other personality specific tests and books from the library. It is crucial for you to fully understand your personality type and tendencies before leaping wholeheartedly into a career move from one simple test.
- Next, assess your strengths, weaknesses, interests and dreams. Instead of a SWOT, it’s a SWID analysis. Seriously, sit down and write out your strengths and weaknesses. If you have trouble being honest with yourself, then call a good friend or family member to give you insight.
Also, check out personality Q&A in various books, such as Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. This particular personality book helped me pinpoint several strengths and weaknesses (p. 17-21) that I would have never thought of on my own.
Then write down your real interests. Not the fact that you enjoy spending time with friends and family, but the inner interests of your heart. Most likely, your interests as a child and young adult are still the same core interests now. Do the same with writing down dreams. Jot down any dream you’ve ever had. Whether it was being a teacher when you were a child, a dream of living near a body of water, or becoming an expert on video blogging, it is still a dream. Write it down and don’t leave any stone unturned.
If you truly wish to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, then taking these first steps will speak volumes as you move on to assess your career decisions. At any point, you have the option to go back and read what you wrote in the self-discovery process. Then, if your current job, career or vocation, does not match up with your vision and values, you have the power to change that. It is imperative to be aware of whom we are and how we are before deciding what type of job and career to commit to each day.