Whether you are just starting out, or wondering if another career would suit you better, self-assessments can help you consider different options and confirm types of careers that might be right for you.
Career assessment is a way to learn more about how well a variety of careers might suit you. Each assessment focuses on a specific area, such as skills, interests, or values. Typically, an assessment asks you to answer questions about what you like, don’t like, what’s important to you, and what your strengths are.
Since assessment results may relate to as many as 900 different occupations, don’t panic if your results include careers that don’t interest you. Experts recommended that you take more than one assessment to broaden your ideas before you make a decision. It can also be helpful to talk with a career counselor, family and friends before making a career decision.
- Learn about occupations that are a good match for you
- Decide where you need more training or experience
- Identify the skills you bring to a job
- Write more personal, detailed resumes and cover letters
- Consider careers you may not have thought about before
What can’t an assessment do?
- Guarantee that you will like a particular career
- Ensure that careers you are suited for will be in high demand by employers
- Account for differences within the same career. For example, a nurse may work in different conditions in an emergency room compared to a nursing home. Or different employers provide an environment that can make the same career more or less attractive.
Try these assessments to start:
- The Interest Assessment is a quick 30-question assessment that identifies your interests and matches them to careers
- The Skills Profiler identifies your skills and matches them to careers that use those skills
- O*NET’s Interest Profiler is a 60-question assessment that measures your interests and shows how they relate to careers
- For more assessments and help with understanding and applying your results, talk with a career counselor at a community college, community agency or your nearest American Job Center.
Find a career that matches your interests.
An interest assessment can help you identify careers that meet your interests. Interest assessments usually ask you a series of questions about what you like and don’t like to do. Then they match your likes and dislikes to careers.
When you choose a career that matches your overall interests, you’re more likely to enjoy your job. You’re also more likely to be successful.
Take an Interest Assessment
Get started with CareerOneStop’s GetMyFuture Interest Assessment. You’ll answer 30 quick questions online. Then you’ll get a list of careers that might be a good fit for your likes and dislikes.
For a more in-depth assessment, visit O*NET’s My Next Move Interest Profiler. It has 60 questions and will use your answers to give you a list of careers that might be a good fit for you.
Want to know what careers you can do with the skills you already have?
Your skills describe what you like to do and what you are good at. You develop skills by training and experience that improve your ability to do tasks. Being able to identify and describe your skills allows you to answer key questions at job interviews such as What can you do for my organization? and What problems can you solve?
In the workplace, there are two kinds of skills: technical skills, and soft skills. Both types are essential for success.
Your ability to accomplish specific tasks like cooking, computer programming, or teaching, are called technical skills. They relate to a particular occupation. You may have learned technical skills from past work experience, school or training. These skills are often included in job listings to describe the tasks of a position. Examples are:
- Build a cabinet
- Read an image
- Operate equipment
- Write computer code
- Teach a lesson
- Investigate a scientific question
- Sell products to customers
- Paint a portrait
Employers also want employees who fit in and get along well in the workplace. That requires soft skills. These are so valuable that soft skills are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote an employee. Some soft skills can be taught in school. But most you learn in everyday life and can improve at any time.
- Communicate well
- Think critically
- Participate as a team member
- Determined and persistent
- Quick learner
- On time
Check out these sources to help you identify your skills and find the kinds of work they relate to:
- The Skills Profiler helps you identify your skills. Use the Skills Profiler to create a list of your skills and match them to careers that use those skills.
- Enter your previous occupation in mySkills myFuture to see types of careers your skills and experience will transfer to.
- Look up your strongest skills in O*NET to see which occupations match them best.
Choose work that reflects your values to gain career satisfaction.
The best career choices are ones that match your values.
What are values?
Values are your beliefs about what is important or desirable. When your values line up with how you live and work, you tend to feel more satisfied and confident. Living or working in ways that contradict your values can lead to dissatisfaction, confusion, and discouragement. So there is good reason to clarify your values, and seek to match your work to them.
Identify your own work values
Ready to learn more about your own work values? Get started with any of these activities:
- Read about six core work values developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET program. Click on the ones that best describe you to see careers that highlight that value.
- Do it yourself: download and print O*NET’s work values cards (pdf). Cut your own cards and sort them into three piles, identifying whether each is “essential,” “important,” or “not important” for your career needs.
- Take this online assessment to learn more about your own work values and related careers. This interactive assessment was developed by Virginia’s Community Colleges.