Whether you’re a recent college graduate entering the workforce for the first time or someone who’s changing careers, either by necessity or by choice, a career assessment can provide you with invaluable insights to assist you in making decisions about your future.
A Google search for “career assessments” will pull up almost 5 million results, but the vast majority of online tests are not scientifically validated and should be used only for entertainment purposes. A career counselor, however, has access to professional assessments which are not tests, per se, but inventories that will provide you with valid and beneficial results.
When considering what kind of career is right for you, obviously your skills and talents are a main factor—but not the only one. Different assessments focus on a range of topics, including your values, personality, interests, motivations and aptitudes, or natural tendencies.
Developed in 1974 (and revised numerous times since), the Strong Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII) is the most widely utilized and respected assessment in use today. The SCII takes an inventory of your preferences and interests regarding occupations, school subjects, activities and types of people and then compares your interests with those of people who are happy and successful in their careers. The theory behind this assessment is that people are happiest—and most productive– when they work with people whose interests are similar to their own, and when they’re performing tasks that are most interesting to them.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a career assessment tool that measures how people see the world and make decisions using four dichotomies: introvert/extrovert; sensing/intuition; thinking/feeling; and judging/perceiving. The MBTI gives you an indication of how you will fit into and function in a particular environment, and is often used with existing work teams to help them understand how they can work together most effectively.
These are just a few examples of the many career assessments available to help you determine where you’d like to begin or continue your work life. Believe me, they work. I used them to figure out I wanted to be a career counselor over three decades ago.