Career Assessment

Tools and tests used to help people understand how their interests, aptitudes, skills, personality and preferences influence their potential for success and satisfaction in a particular career, or line of work, are collectively known as career assessments. Over the last one hundred years, career assessments have greatly influenced career development in the United States and impacted the economy. Career and occupational assessments are typically employed by career counselors in high schools and universities, vocational rehabilitation counselors, executive coaches, work force service centers, and individuals just wanting to make the best career decision for themselves as possible.

Types of career assessments

While career assessments generally focus on identifying career options based on personal attributes, assessments come in various forms and vary along differing dimensions. Career assessments may also exhibit personal bias – as they are often based on criteria that one person, or group of people, believes to be the most important for selecting a career. The following are a few points of variability among popular career assessments:

  • Methodology - Assessments are typically either quantitative or qualitative in nature. Quantitative assessments attempt to measure attributes, skills and qualities that influence an individuals ability to succeed and find satisfaction with a particular career. Qualitative assessments are designed to help individuals explore their personal and occupational goals and preferences in order to bring clarity in order to make a more informed career decision.

  • Measured attributes - One of the biggest points of variability among assessments is the specific attributes they measure. While some assessments focus on personal interests and values, others are heavily weighted toward aptitudes and skill sets.

  • Validity - How valid different assessments are is a big question. Especially for those offered over the Internet. In many cases, assessments lack "validity", which basically is how useful the results of an assessment are for the individual. When it's difficult to evaluate the validity of an assessment, results should be interpreted with caution and not much weight should placed on the results.

  • Target customer profile - Assessments may be general or specific. For example, popular career assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory, and Careerscope are general assessments designed to be applied in virtually any market. Other assessments are designed for specific industries and markets.


Career assessments can be instrumental in discovering an individuals interests, talents, values, aptitudes and skills. They're also useful for indentify areas of strength and weakness in a candidate. Ultimately, the results generated by career assessments can be used by candidates to make better, more informed career choices that are in line with their interests, talents, and goals. While career assessments vary in scope and validity, generally speaking assessments help individuals consider new career paths, increase career satisfaction and learn more about themselves.

One of the biggest benefits of career assessments is that they enable individuals to make career decisions that help them grow personally and professionally. This is especially true for career changers who find themselves in a career no longer viable or whose interests have evolved in a direction not compatible with their current career path. Career assessments used to support career change can be very beneficial as career changes typically have ample experience to draw upon in assessing their interests, skills, aptitudes and goals.

Psychoanalytically-informed career assessment is another form of assessment that cn be helpful for individuals struggling in their career or unhappy in their work. Psychological assessment aims at helping individuals dig deep to discover the underlying nature of their difficulties. Psychonanalytically-informed career assessment often brings clarity and understanding where career coaching or psychotherapy have failed. Unfortunately, most career coaches and counselors are not trained in this form of assessment.


Career assessments can be particularly useful for individuals who are unfamiliar with, or uncertain about, their career possibilities. However, in certain situations, career assessments can have some big drawbacks. First, career assessments are only assessments. They're useful for self discovery and finding careers that fall within the scope of an individual's interests, aptitudes and values. But, when relied upon too heavily, career assessments can be limiting. Just because a career tests says you'd really enjoy being a police officer doesn't mean that being a police officer is the career for you.

Career assessments provide results that must be interpreted. Career assessments aren't that useful if you can't make sense of the results, or the results are interpreted incorrectly. In addition, many career assessments are quite subjective in that they're based on a person's view of herself or himself. Consequently, is an individual isn't self-aware, the results of their career assessment may not be accurate.

Career Assessment Tests, Tools & Resources

Trying to figure out which career is going to meet your unique skill set, aptitudes and personality can be a difficult endeavor – especially if you've never had a career. The career assessment websites listed below provide some very useful and reliable self-assessment tests that will help you develop a better "self understanding" as it relates to career choices that are going to be best for you.

  • The Career Key - developed by Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, this assessment measures your personality and matches jobs related to your skills, interests, and personality. It offers unique career assessment resources and tests for students, parents, career changers, teachers, counselors, and career development professionals.

  • Myers Briggs Personality Tests - offers career preference tests, including Myers-Briggs and Strong Interest Inventory, designed to help job-seekers identify compatible career options.

  • Work Preference Inventory - offers students, job-seekers, and people changing careers a unique career test based on personal values. This test is based on the premise that values are very important to successful career planning and works best with a Java-enabled browser.

  • Princeton Review Career Quiz - if you are a career professional seeking additional career direction or interested in pursuing a new career, the assessment test will be a useful resource. This tool will provide you better insight into potential satisfying careers since it is designed to help you better understand your personal aspirations and talents. You will be provided with a detailed report containing career advice and job suggestions.

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