By Susan Guarneri
Looking for your dream job? Ready to try something new? Helpful tips and tools to move you from one career to another.
5 Myths about Career Assessments
What has been your experience with career assessments? You may have taken career tests while in high school or college, or, heard from others who did. You probably have formed definite opinions about career assessments, ranging from good to bad. But have you considered the following myths about them?
- One career test is all I need to take to give me career direction.
There is no one “magic-bullet” career assessment that will point you to your dream job. You are a multi-dimensional human being. To determine which occupations are best-fit careers for you, you need to consider the totality of your unique assets.
Those include your motivated skills (the skills you do well and enjoy using), your interests and passions (what you get really excited about), your personality type, your work/life values and goals, your preferred workplace setting, and your authentic personal brand. The aspects of whom you are contribute to the value you bring to an employer in a particular type of occupation.
- Career assessments are all the same.
There are formal, standardized career assessments, as well as more informal, subjective assessments. Both types play a role in career exploration. Some examples of formal career assessments, which have gone through extensive research and development over the years, are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Strong Interest Inventory®.
Informal assessments could include listing what you liked and did not like about your previous jobs, or writing about five important career or life accomplishments. These informal assessments reveal patterns and themes that can be used in the self-discovery process, as well as for validation of formal assessment results.
- All career assessments are trustworthy.
Career assessments are not created equal! Those published by reputable vendors will typically have a user manual with information about the assessment’s reliability, validity, normative group, research and development, and user qualifications. These user manuals can often be found online or can be requested. Professional career counselors and qualified career coaches have access to trustworthy career tests. Career practitioners can be invaluable guides in your career decision-making process.
Fun quizzes, which compare you to an animal or a tube of lipstick, are just that – fun! While amusing, be careful about making life-altering decisions based on them.
- Input from self-assessments is all I need for career exploration.
Self-assessments are those you take by yourself. The vast majority of formal and informal career assessments fall into this category. That is because the bulk of assessment research and development has been focused in the past on self-assessments.
But you need to consider the input from others as well. This has been done for decades in the corporate world via 360-degree feedback surveys for management and employee development. The 360Reach personal branding assessment uses the 360-degree feedback idea, but with some differences. It is not a performance review, but instead asks others who know you well for positive feedback about your memorable attributes, your best skills and strengths, your leadership style, and more. It also guarantees the anonymity of the respondents so they can be honest in their remarks. That can be very enlightening information. Sometimes we take for granted that which we do the best!
- No preparation is needed to take a career test.
Unlike a school exam, there is no need to stay up all night and “cram” for the test! In fact, you will achieve more accurate results if you are well rested prior to taking a career assessment. Whether online or hard copy, answer the questions as you really are and not as you wish to be. Remember, career assessments are designed to measure the authentic you, but only if you are being truthful.
If you are taking a battery of career assessments, you will want to avoid “testing burnout” by getting up and moving around, getting something to drink, and mentally unwinding. Try to take career assessments in quiet and private settings to eliminate distractions. Stay relaxed! There are no right or wrong answers.
While career assessments can be extremely beneficial for self-discovery, career exploration, and marketing your unique assets in a job search, they must be used with care. For best results, connect with a professional career counselor or career coach who has training and experience in choosing, administering and interpreting career assessments. You can find qualified career counselors listed at the National Career Development Association.
Susan Guarneri, Career Assessment Goddess and Reach Master Branding Strategist, can guide you to your best-fit career options and help you land your Dream Job.