Career Assessments: A Powerful Tool for Career Professionals
A lot of online articles about career assessments include the phrase, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question many of us may have heard as children and perhaps it’s still asked today. But in a way, the question can be asked of many adults who are either launching into their careers or are unsatisfied with the job they currently hold. There are many things to consider when deciding on a career path. How do we know which path is best? How can we identify our top strengths and qualities in order to showcase them on a résumé and during an interview? How can career professionals help their clients learn the answers to these questions? Here’s where the power of career assessments comes in.
What are Career Assessments?
Some people may shun career assessments and believe that they are possibly equivalent to a daily horoscope. In reality, they are valuable tools that allow career practitioners and their clients to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Career assessments can be applied for both personal and professional growth.
According to LinkedIn, “Career assessments are tests or surveys that measure your interests, values, personality, skills, and aptitudes. They can help you identify your preferences, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations in relation to different types of work. They can also suggest careers that match your profile and provide information about the education, training, and outlook of various occupations. Career assessments can help you explore your options, narrow down your choices, and make informed decisions about your career direction.”
What are the Benefits of Career Assessments?
Career assessments offer several significant benefits to a job search. They can increase self-awareness, confidence, and refine focus on personal values.
Assessments also help identify weaknesses and educational shortfalls. Reflect upon and accept these findings — we all have areas that “need work.” These things can be changed, so don’t let them hold you back. Manage any identified deficiencies by finding ways to compensate, improve, or mitigate them. Some tactics for doing so include such things as pursuing learning, or networking and collaborating with experts. Seek feedback and support to improve weaknesses and set achievable goals to track progress.
The results of assessments often surprise people, causing them to consider and explore opportunities in industries, sectors, and organizations they never thought would be possible options for them. Ultimately, assessments can enhance job fit and satisfaction.
By learning more about ourselves, we can pinpoint our unique value proposition and highlight relevant skills and achievements in our résumés, cover letters, and interviews. Additionally, by finding careers that align with interests, values, and personality, we can increase the chances of experiencing greater work fulfillment and improving our performance.
My Personal Experience with Career Assessments
Several years ago, I took the lengthy Myers Briggs test; not just once, but twice, a few years apart. Both times I dismissed the results due to doubting the test’s relevance and implications. In later years, I discovered that if I had paid attention to the possible career choices that were suggested as a fit for my personality type — the “idealist” — I might have changed my career path much earlier.
In hindsight, I know that the career setbacks I had experienced happened because my job and work environment were in direct opposition to my “type.” I would have sought out a role that truly aligned with my particular strengths, personality, and the values of an INFP. My current career as a résumé strategist/career consultant aligns nicely with the values and personality type of an INFP.
Remember — Assessment Results “Suggest” But Do Not “Tell”
Assessment results do not mean that we must strictly adhere to a certain career path, or the choices outlined by the test(s) we complete. Nor do we have to force ourselves into a tightly carved out niche that precludes us from exploring other interests or arenas. Rather, the career tools and assessments such as CliftonStrengths, Career Cruising, Careerscope, Human Metrics, or Kiersey, can offer unique insights about personality, interests, aptitudes, career preferences, and preferred work methodologies. If our clients cannot identify what distinguishes them from other candidates applying for the same position, then consider using career assessments as a valuable tool to identify recurring patterns and themes.
Career tools can reveal our particular strengths, explaining, as an example, how one might leverage an extraverted or introverted personality to their advantage. If someone’s personality type signifies an extravert, the career assessment results will provide insights as how to capitalize on that trait and effectively lead a team to achieve optimum results. For introverts, a career in the arts — such as a graphic designer — or in health and science, may likely be good choices.
The Bottom Line
Career assessments can present us with a clear picture of not only our strengths, but our weaknesses, too. We can discover ways to enhance strengths and improve weaknesses using strategies aligned with the positive traits of our personality type. While we cannot be fixated on the results of every assessment, we need to allow such tools to guide us in our personal growth and professional success, regardless of the stage we are at in our careers.
Even if you harbour a skeptical perspective concerning career assessments, know that you may truly gain a newfound appreciation for your boundless capabilities. You just might ignite the talents that lie dormant if you remain receptive to the results. I encourage you to keep an open mind.
To learn more about career assessments, please get your calendars out and register for an exciting CPC event. Join Brad Whitehorn on November 22, 2023, for a very special webinar — The Power of Career Assessments for Facilitators. You won’t want to miss the first of CPC’s “Expert Series” webinars!
Lori Jazvac is a passionate, award-winning Master Certified Résumé Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist through Career Professionals of Canada. As a multi-certified Master Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Coach, she specializes in helping clients navigate challenging career transitions. In 2013, an empowering vision inspired Lori to launch Creative Horizons Communications, a holistic career services firm where she virtually supports jobseekers around the globe to embrace their next career milestone. In her spare time, Lori enjoys dance, blogging, watching comedies and reality shows, yoga, and taking long walks in nature.