The most common question I'm asked is this one: "I don't know what I want to do. Is there a test or something that can tell me what career is right for me?" The answer is no. You can't take a test that will, as if by magic, tell you what to do with the rest of your life. You can however use a combination of self assessment tools that will aid you in your decision. This article will demystify this phase of the career planning process.
During a self assessment you gather information about yourself in order to make an informed career decision. A self assessment should include a look at your values, interests, personality and aptitude.
- Values: the things that are important to you, like achievement, status and autonomy
Interests: what you enjoy doing, i.e. playing golf, taking long walks and hanging out with friends
Personality: a person's individual traits, motivational drives, needs and attitudes
Aptitudes: the activities you are good at, such as writing, computer programming and teaching. An aptitude may be a natural skill or one you acquired.
Many people choose to hire a career counselor who will administer a variety of self assessment inventories. What follows is a discussion of the different types of tools you may encounter, as well as some other things to consider when using your results to help you choose a career.