It’s always fun to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up.
We often get answers like teachers, doctors, policemen, nurses, or ballerinas, don’t we?
When’s the last time you heard a kid tell you that he wanted to be an architectural drafter, a nuclear medicine technologist, an urban planner, or a claims process analyst?
Unless those specific titles belong to Mom or Dad, I think we can safely assume that kids don’t rattle off jobs like those because they have no clue that they exist, let alone have any idea that they would be well-suited for them.
We’re not expected to know exactly what we want to be when we’re kids, but we are expected to have it figured out (sort of) by the time we grow up, aren’t we?
But how many of us are familiar with any of those job titles listed above? What skill sets are needed for them and what tasks would employees holding those jobs need to perform on a daily basis?
Like children, even as adults we may only know of some of the more “common” jobs out there. Let’s say someone is good with numbers. What do we initially think of as career options for that person? Accountant? Math teacher? There’s a whole lot of jobs out there for people who are skilled with numbers, and those two occupations don’t even scratch the surface.
We often have trouble finding the right career fit simply because we are uneducated when it comes to knowing where to begin among the thousands of available opportunities. Career assessments can come in handy by exposing us to opportunities that we never even knew were out there. A good career assessment is more than a personality or skills assessment; it’s a combination of both, and it takes your natural interests into account as well. By considering all of those components, assessments can suggest matches that are personalized to you.
What Can a Career Assessment Tell You?
The right career fit will require you to use the skills that you are not only good at but that you also delight most in using. It will not stretch you to be someone you’re not. If you’re a flaming extrovert, the ideal job for you will not be sitting alone in a cubicle all day long. If you’re very independent, you’ll wither in a position that is micromanaged. Your basic personality traits will have to be considered in determining the best environment to place you in. And, the right fit will consider your natural preferences and inclinations as well.
A career assessment can (and should) measure the following:
Thinking Style: Your numerical and verbal abilities and reasoning styles should be measured, in order to give a profile of your overall thinking style and proficiency within these areas.
Behavioral Traits: AKA, your personality. There’s no such thing as a personality “test.” You don’t pass or fail, and the results are neither good nor bad. They just are. Certain combinations of personality traits will thrive in some positions and fail miserably in others. By measuring traits like your energy level, sociability preferences, independence, objectivity, decision-making preferences, assertiveness levels, and more, assessments can help you determine which types of jobs to seek – and which ones to steer clear of.
Interests: When people can include their preferred activities and interests in their work, they almost always perform better and are more satisfied with their jobs. Assessments can help to match your interests with positions that are a natural fit for them.
Your overall combination of thinking style, personality, and interests is called your Career Profile. The results of your career assessment are compared to the results / characteristics of other individuals who have already been successful in given occupations. When the profiles match, a career suggestion is made for you to investigate. This career matching process can help you narrow your search and identify the careers that may suit you best.
Who Should Use Career Assessments?
Career assessments are great tools to be used in the career planning process. They can augment the work that you’ve done on your own to narrow down the field to actual options that you can pursue in search of a great career fit. Let’s take a look at three groups of people who can benefit from using career assessments:
Career Coaches: Demand continues to increase for career coaches, as career dissatisfaction is high and job seekers look to find work that is meaningful and rewarding beyond a paycheck. Using assessment tools, coaches can discover important attributes much more quickly than they might otherwise, helping them to learn as much about their clients as quickly as possible. Understanding the abilities, personalities, and interests of their clients allows them to help get clients on the right track sooner than later.
High School Students: High school students are asked to select a college and start choosing coursework before they have any “real world” work experience. Sure, we see them as being much more mature and worldly than the elementary school kids who told us they wanted to be teachers and doctors and ballerinas, but… how much do they know at this point about translating their abilities and interests into actual jobs that will make them productive members of society?
Having a better understanding of actual careers that are a good fit for them will allow them to choose their course of study carefully from the front end. Many students enter college unsure of their majors, but a number of universities require them to either just list “something” (that can always be changed later…) or declare one by some deadline, still early on in the college experience. Do you know anyone who declared a major in something, only to determine three years in that they didn’t even like the major that they’d chosen? (I do!) At that point, there’s pressure to graduate “on time” in four years, or add another year (or two…) to the tab.
Why not make the extra effort on the front end to choose as wisely as possible?
Mid-Career Professionals: Currently, 71% of the American workforce reports that they are either “disengaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. Put simply, they hate their jobs. For any number of reasons, they have not found the right career fit. Some need a simple tweak (they’re in the right line of work but at the wrong company); others need to make more drastic changes. Again… just because we’re grown-ups, it doesn’t mean that we know all of the available jobs that are out there and which ones may be a better fit for us! Career assessments can help us know where to start in “the real world” as we attempt to align our abilities, interests, and personalities into more meaningful careers.
Take Ownership of Your Career Success
Career assessments can be useful tools in helping you in the career planning process. They can suggest a number of options that match your Career Profile and help get you on the right track to finding the career of your dreams.
But — what’s the most important ingredient in achieving career success?
While assessments may recommend a number of careers, YOU need to put the time in to research the options provided AND understand yourself well enough to determine the BEST fit for you. Understand that long term career success goes beyond a paycheck and must be satisfying for you in ways that surpass our basic need to earn a living. Don’t be afraid to go with your heart (or your gut, whatever you prefer to call it!) in choosing among potential careers; if you feel an extra “spark” or interest in one career over others that you are well-matched for… go for it! That extra spark can make all the difference in career happiness.
LEGEND Talent Management works with both individuals and career coaches in providing Career Assessment tools. If you’d like to schedule an assessment (can be taken online in less than 60 minutes) or talk to us about our programs for Career Coaches, please contact us at info@LEGENDTalentManagement.com