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How to Use Self Assessment Tools to Help You Choose a Career

Part 1: An Introduction to the First Step in the Career Planning Process


A career development facilitator and client

A career development facilitator helps a client complete a self assessment.

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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.

Part 2: Value, Interest and Personality Inventories and Aptitude Assessments

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