Whether you are just starting out, or have 20 years on the job, everyone eventually reaches a point where they just don’t know where they are going. Finding a direction for a job search or career, when you know you don’t want to continue the same old, same old, can be difficult.
Career tests can be a great tool to help find a new direction.
There are two main types of career tests. Skills assessments focus on questions about what you can do, and match you with career where your skills are valuable. Personality assessments focus on your likes and dislikes, social comfort zone, and how you work to find careers that match your personality enough that you may enjoy doing them.
Each kind of test helps determine a career path by giving you a focus for career options that might work well for you.
No career test can provide anything more then suggestions, and most offer numerous career options that you still need to sort through and research. However, having a concrete suggestion of a dozen career options you can pursue is definitely an improvement over having no idea where to start.
Here’s one way to use career tests to help find a direction:
1. Take a career skills test, and a career personality test (the Myers-Briggs test is one of the best, and can be found free online).
2. Look for career options in each test result that interest you. Then look for career options that are recommended by both tests. Make a list of these career options.
3. Research the career options on you list, look at average income, necessary education, necessary experience. Find out exactly what each career involves, and some of the options in each career. Also, many careers have several ways to reach the same goal. Not everyone can put their lives on hold for 10 years to become a psychologist, but for many people a 2 years degree in social work is much more possible, and you can still go into a career in counselling.
4. Use your research to narrow down your list. Knock off anything that doesn’t meet your income needs. Anything that you are interested in but can’t meet the qualifications for with a reasonable amount of effort and time (reasonable as defined by you) knock those off too.
5. Pick a career path that interests you from what’s left on your list. Either begin making a job hunting plan to find a job in that career, or an education plan to get the qualifications you need to find a job.
Final Tip: Try doing some volunteer work related to your preferred career path, to get a feel for if it really suits you, before you dive into your job hunt or education.