Here are some resources for exploring your strengths, style, and temperament, and how to match that to your work and life decisions.
The Limits of Assessment Tools
- Assessment tools are very limited in their usefulness by themselves because they don’t consider all of you and your needs.
- They can certainly give you insights into particular areas, but it’s tough to apply what you learn unless it’s discussed with someone who knows you and understands these tools, such as a career or business coach.
- They should never be used to put yourself or someone else in a box. We are more than a “type.”
Free Online Assessments and Tools
- Are You an Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert? – I think this is one of the most important things you need to know about yourself.
- Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? – A misunderstood trait that can be confused with introversion. I have found it to be a critical thing to understand about myself. It’s NOT the same as emotionally sensitive.
- Multiple Intelligences: What Is Your Learning Style? – This gives you a window into the many types of intelligences there are, and where you feel most at home.
- O*Net Online – Provides many tools for exploring job ideas (by keywords, categories, strengths, etc.). There’s a simple Interest Profiler to help you match up your strengths to job ideas. Job listings indicate which jobs are currently in demand based on U.S. Department of Labor statistics. No listing of jobs is definitive, by any stretch, but it makes a good research tool for getting started.
- 5 Love Languages – While not specific to career discovery, this is a fun one for clarifying how you relate to others. Find out what kinds of interactions warm your heart most. (A great tool for couples or friends to understand each other better.)
- VIA Character Strengths – Free version and paid versions available. The report is not exactly your classic strengths, but more like character and values, which is very useful for self-awareness and career/life decisions.
Formal Assessments (with a fee)
Among assessment tools, the most useful ones are well-researched and administered by a professional who can help you interpret the results. I recommend considering these to boost your exploration process.
Among thousands of profile tools available, these are some of the most popular ones today. I recommend discussing the options with a professional who administers these assessments. It depends on your needs.
- CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) – I love this one for finding both the words and the validation of our top talents and how to maximize your strengths. It’s a good confidence boost when you can finally let go of those things you think you should be doing that just aren’t you. The small fee to get your Top 5 Strengths is worth it. Be sure to delve into the reports they give you or you’ll miss the insights. It’s also important to talk it through with someone who understands the results. Understanding your strengths can open up whole new worlds!
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – This is one of my favorites. It helps you see where you land on a spectrum of important temperament ranges. It opened my eyes in a life-changing way. It helped me understand the strengths within my introversion and other findings. This in turn helped me choose the right career direction that fit with my nature. It tends to help people relax and honor themselves as they are, and work with their nature instead of against it. (You can find a good free version of MBTI online but it’s considered to be accurate only if discussed with a professional.)
- Enneagram (9 Personality Types) – Use the (low-cost) paid version for accurate results. It’s an effective tool for personal growth since it reveals your blind spots and your unique path of growth. It’s not a career tool, but it reveals things that can support or interfere with success. The Enneagram is only recommended in conjunction with professional interpretation, as the test is not accurate without further exploration, and the descriptions can be hard to understand at first. There’s a lot of depth to this tool. It’s not meant for light fun.
Where to Learn More
- Your college career center or alumni office may offer assessments and consults for you. (Typically it’s limited to basic info and job search assistance without digging in deeply.)
- Contact me.