Feeling overwhelmed about possible career choices? Not sure what to do next? If you are in the throes of career confusion, you may find yourself using online career assessments to give the “magic bullet” answer.
You may take only one career test, perhaps assessing your interests or personality type, hoping it will quickly match you up with your ideal job. Or you may take a multitude of career assessments, and end up feeling more confused than ever!
Four Cornerstones of Career Satisfaction
If you find yourself and your career dilemma described above, here is a simple approach to 1) deciding which career assessments to take, and 2) integrating them so they can serve as a roadmap to your best-fit career. My current client Julie (name and some factual data changed for confidentiality reasons) will serve as the case study to clarify this approach.
The Four Cornerstones of Career Satisfaction encompass different aspects about YOU:
1. Motivated Skills and Strengths
Motivated skills are the skills you are good (or great) at AND enjoy doing. They are not all your strengths, but rather those you are eager to use. In fact, you may find that “time flies” while you are using your motivated skills!
Julie found her motivated skills included showing compassion and empathy, building trust relationships, helping others, researching and organizing information, problem-solving, listening, and writing.
Common sense would indicate that if you are highly interested in (or even passionate about) a career or job, you would perform at a higher level and be more satisfied and successful. Your passions and interests could also play a part in which industries and companies you prefer.
Julie’s big passion is centered on helping children. She also has clearly defined interests in Public Relations and Marketing (her Bachelor’s Degree is in this major), as well as in fitness, healthy living, and outdoor sports.
3. Personality Type / Personal Style
Your preferred personality type characteristics are clues to your behavioral style in the world. These clues may include where you get your energy from, how you incorporate and use data and information, how you make decisions, and how much planning and structure you are comfortable with in your daily life AND in your job.
Julie’s personality assessment results indicated her focus on the needs of others, as well as harmony and cooperation. Her preference for digging deep to see facts accurately and clearly drives her dedication to excellence and thoroughness. While orderly, conscientious, and highly responsible, Julie is also flexible and supportive of teams and individuals.
4. Values and Goals
Values are the motivating factors that make your career or job more satisfying. They go beyond a paycheck to the other elements that make you eager to tackle your job each day. These values are also tied into your short-term and long-term career and life goals.
Julie’s top values include personal development (learning and growing on the job), helping others (altruism), variety, using her skills and knowledge daily, expressing her ideas, and having a secure job.
Personal Branding Feedback
All of the career assessments that Julie took (both traditional career assessments and more reflective homework questions) were self-assessments. She tapped into her own understanding about herself.
But Julie also captured feedback about herself from others via the 360Reach personal branding assessment. The results detailed her memorable brand attributes and strengths, as well as her leadership style.
Based on the perceptions of others about her personal brand, Julie found consistency with her self-assessments. Her top brand attributes are: reliable, intelligent, organized, supportive, empathetic, and a diplomatic truth-teller. Relating to and building trust with others, as well as resolving problems, are her forte.
With the information from the four cornerstones and the personal branding feedback, you can begin to look for recurring themes. These common threads are the roadmap or benchmarks you can use when conducting career research. A best-fit career or job will include most, if not all, of these themes.
Julie’s overall common thread involves helping and supporting people, especially children. Her empathy, trust-building, and communication skills are essential to that goal. With a penchant for organizing and researching information to solve problems, and her love of expressing ideas through writing, Julie is now considering writing careers within the non-profit sector. In particular, she is drawn to working in non-profits that promote healthy lifestyles for children.
The functional roles Julie is considering include marketing, public relations, educational programming, community outreach, and grant writing. She is researching how to grow new competencies in social media and grant writing via certification programs and training. The end result of that training would position her as an up-to-date and highly desirable applicant in the non-profit marketplace.