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Career Planning: Choose Your Path

Explore Self Assessment Tools

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What Are Career Self-Assessments and How Do They Work?

The starting point in the career development process is identifying your skills, values, interests, and preferences to determine what types of positions are of interest and would be a good fit. There are many self-assessment tools that can be used to help with this process. It is important to realize that these tools will not tell you what career or position is the perfect match. Their purpose is to will help you gain insight about yourself so that you can determine what is important to you, focus your job search, and assist you in evaluating options.

Most career assessments are a series of questions that aim to help you learn more about yourself so you can discover which jobs mesh best with your personality, needs, and goals. Because when it comes to finding a job you'll actually enjoy doing, you need to consider factors beyond your paycheck, commute time, and the like. You also need to think hard about what kinds of work and environments fit in with you and will provide you with the most satisfaction in both the short and long term.

Accessing the Career Self-Assessments On This Site

You can choose from the tabs at the top of this page to complete different types of assessments to help you learn more about yourself.  The include:

  • Interests Assessment
  • Values Assessment
  • Aptitude//Skills Assessment
  • Transferable Skills

To get a full picture of elements that contribute to your career choice, we recommend that you complete each assessment to learn more about yourself. You can also share your results with a Career Services representative to help you understand results and how to use that information as you begin to conduct research on majors and careers.

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Find a career that matches your interests.

An interest assessment can help you identify careers that meet your interests. Interest assessments usually ask you a series of questions about what you like and don't like to do. Then they match your likes and dislikes to careers.

When you choose a career that matches your overall interests, you're more likely to enjoy your job. You're also more likely to be successful.

Complete an Interests Self-Assessment Tool

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Eight areas of organizational culture and work motivation - Opportunity - freedom to seek opportunities, take risks and push boundaries; Stimulation - need for challenge and variety in work; Security - need for stability, continuity and job security; Autonomy - freedom and discretion to schedule work and how it is done; Purpose - need to use talents to help others and make a difference; Authority -need for power and control over others; Compensation - Need to be well-paid and have significant financial reward.Why evaluate work-related values?

Work values are global aspects of work that are important to a person’s satisfaction. They are beliefs or principles relating to your career or place of work. They describe what you believe matters regarding your career.

The image to the right shows the work-life space that motivates individuals. It focuses on the eight areas of organizational culture and work motivation identified by Edgar Schein (1985) (these are in addition to financial compensation).

For instance, some people believe that getting a sense of achievement through their work is a core priority in their career. For others, a healthy work-life balance trumps anything else.

Your workplace values say a lot about who you are and what matters to you. This is not just for your career, but in your overall personality, too.

When your work aligns with your values, it can help you find meaning in what you do daily at your job. Your career can have a deeper meaning than just putting money in your bank account.  Visit Browse by Work Values for a list of work values and how they are defined.

Benefits of identifying your work values

Here's what else you can expect from identifying your own work values.

Get satisfaction from your career

  1. On average, employees say their work is half as meaningful as it could be. Achieving your work values can help you get satisfaction from your work since you'll know what you want from your career. 
  2. By knowing what you want, you’ll be able to plan a career path that aligns with your values. If you value leadership, for instance, your career path should reflect it by including leadership positions. 

However, you need to identify what those values are to achieve them in the first place.

Find a company with a good fit for your values 

  1. Not all businesses uphold the same values. The definition of meaningful work could be something completely different from one company to another.
  2. Knowing your values will help you find companies that have the same values as you do. In turn, this can help you apply for the right job opportunities and avoid the ones that don’t fit with your values.
  3. When you find a job within a company that values the same things you do, you have a higher likelihood of being successful at this job, obtaining raises, and getting promoted.

Complete the Work Values Self-Assessment Tool

Ready to learn more about your own work values? Get started with the Work Values Matcher.

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What careers can you do with the skills you already have?

Your skills describe what you like to do and what you are good at. You develop skills by training and experience that improve your ability to do tasks. Being able to identify and describe your skills allows you to answer key questions at job interviews such as What can you do for my organization? and What problems can you solve?

In the workplace, there are three kinds of skills: job-specific skills, (soft) professioal/essential skills and (hard) technical skills. All are essential for success.

Job-specific skills are particular to that job at that employer. Though you might be able to use those skills elsewhere, it may not be exactly the same. Soft skills (currently more often referred to as professionalism or essential skills) are those that are more personality based and reflect your ability to work with others. Hard or technical skills are those that you acquire through education or training that prepare you to do the work of the profession. You may also gain these skils through on the job training, internships or volunteer work. 

Complete an Skills/Aptitude Self-Assessment Tool

  • Career One Stop Skills Matcher - helps you identify your skills and create a list of those skills to match them to careers that usee those skills.
  • What Career Is Right For Me? -  Upon completion of this test, you will receive a list of potential careers that may be suitable for you. Make sure to scroll down to load the questions for each section. 
This box has multiple tabs (see above). Make sure to visit each to get all information available! 

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills, also known as “portable skills,” are qualities that can transfer from one job to another.They are proficiencies that are useful in a variety of jobs and industries. You can use them to position your past experience when applying for a new job—especially if it’s in a different industry.

Highlighting your transferable skills is especially important when creating your employment documents such as a cover letter or resume and when you are interviewing. You likely already possess many transferable skills employers value, such as organization, communication, relationship building or attention to detail. For example, employers often look for candidates with strong management skills. If you’ve developed the ability to supervise employees and manage a department or project, you can apply them in any workplace.

Utilizing Transferable College Skills to land the position!

College provides you with the opportunity to not only be  in your chosen program/major, but also in other areas within your area of study or specialization. With a wide range of opportunities available, you may change positions and/or companies several times before you land the “perfect fit”. As you make changes, it is important that you demonstrate and highlight your transferable college skills. Think about your college experiences, socially and academically. Your involvement in campus activities and organizations developed skills that can be used in the workforce. Let’s look at some transferable skills that are beneficial to you as you explore career options:

  1. Communication Skills- the ability to provide information. Communication can be verbal, non-verbal, and written . Effective communication is critical and should always be clear to the recipients of the information. Additionally, you must exhibit the ability to connect with others regardless of race, culture, and religious beliefs.
  2. Teamwork- the ability to work collaboratively with others. This involves being able to share ideas and the responsibilities while respecting the views of others. This skill will be used in every area of your career.
  3. Problem Solving and Critical Thinking- this skill relies heavily on your ability to provide solutions to challenges that may arise in the workforce. It’s an excellent opportunity to highlight your research skills. Problem solving and critical thinking also looks at how you solve problems within the workforce among colleagues. This skill demonstrates your decision-making process.   
  4. Leadership- leadership is not about being in charge. This is a great time to demonstrate your ability to lead even when you are not in a supervisory role. Being a leader is about character. It is the ability to lead and influence others. Share with potential employers what projects you have successfully completed and your role in leading the team to success.
  5. Flexibility and Creativity- change is inevitable. You must maintain an open mind and be willing to embrace change quickly. Adapting to change goes hand in hand with creativity because at times, as you pivot, you may have to be creative. Creativity is a skill that employers recognize as an asset because it demonstrates your ability to think outside of the box.

Top transferable skills

Before applying for new jobs, take time to consider which skills you currently possess that can be transferred to a new employer. If you’re unsure, read a few job descriptions for the role you’re interested in, paying close attention to their required skills and experience. Each individual’s list of transferable skills will vary, but some common skills employers seek include:


Transferable Skills - Military to Civilian Jobs

The MyNextMove for Veterans site is helpful for those who have served that are trying to determine how to use the skills and training acquired while on duty in the civilian workforce. 

Learn More About Transferable Skills

Complete Self-Assessments and Get Feedback!