Assessments (otherwise known as “career tests”) are certainly great ways to unearth your interests and help identify your skills, strengths and career-related orientations, but unfortunately they are often misused.
There are typically two reasons for this: Either an assessment is interpreted by an untrained professional who’s not certified in the application; or the recipient depends on the results of the assessment to self-label their personality or use as a rule book for career decision making.
I use assessments quite frequently in my work, but always caution my clients to consider them only as helpful guides in decision-making. They assist in brainstorming, strengths identification and yes, even personal branding. Some of my favorites are the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the REACH Personal Branding Assessment and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII).
The Strong Interest Inventory is a wonderful interest inventory that helps you discover where your passions may lie at any phase in your career journey, especially if you feel stuck in a career rut. This assessment compares your interests with successful and happily engaged professionals in a variety of industries. You can learn what learning and work environments may support your interests and what skills, education and experience are necessary to be successful and perhaps even identify your encore career.
Assessments are really great ways to start planning your future career, leadership role, side hustle and even help you prepare your qualifications package for your entrepreneurial venture.
But remember assessments are not “tests,” “labels” or “party games.” I shudder to hear someone use them to label themselves or dictate their career choice. If your results indicate you’re a “teal,” “high I” or “ESTJ,” that does not label you for life. Rather, it gives you a launching point for some powerful career brainstorming. If your results indicate you’re too “woo” to be an accountant or too high in “conscientiousness” to earn a living as a writer, don’t take them literally. This is where the fun begins. Use the results to help you articulate how you are uniquely qualified to excel in that endeavor.
Don’t let your results define you. Let them inspire you.
The overall purpose is to help you discover more about yourself, how you react to external factors and what factors into your decision making process. Some assessments even help indicate what professions or work-environments might be worth considering.
Work with your coach to take into consideration how the particular assessment was created, its purpose and what you know about yourself. By doing so, you should then be able to use them wisely to help you plan your career future.