Think back to your high school days, when you had to sit down with your guidance counselor and decide what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. While those conversations may have helped put you on the right path, most of us could benefit from taking a career assessment later in life – once we have some experience under our belts, and know more about our strengths, weaknesses, and environments where we thrive.
What is a career assessment?
Essentially, a career assessment evaluates what you’re good at. “A career assessment, which is usually taken online, is a quick and easy, low or even no-cost, first step to helping you identify whether or not you are in the right career,” says certified professional coach Trisha Kusinitez. Depending on the type of career assessment you’re taking, you’ll be asked a series of questions that help gauge your qualities and talents. Once you’ve completed the assessment, you’ll be given potential fields where you may accel based on the answers you’ve submitted.
Signs you could benefit from a career assessment
Your energy has tanked.
Struggling to find positive energy at work? It might be time for a career assessment. “If you find yourself feeling exhausted all the time or if getting up for work has become hard work in and of itself (even when you are getting a good 7-8 hours’ sleep) a mismatched career may be the culprit,” says Kusinitez. “Taking a career assessment that can determine your level of engagement can be extremely beneficial. We often underestimate the importance of engagement but need to remember that the more engaged we are the more stimulated and thus energized we’ll be, whereas disengagement has the opposite effect.”
You consistently feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
Everyone has those bad days or nights where your boss asks you to work late – but if every day feels frustrating, don’t ignore that sign. “If you find that you are regularly feeling this way, it may be that the root cause is actually that you are working in a role that doesn’t play to your strengths,” says Kusinitez. “Simply put, doing something that isn’t in your wheelhouse or that always feels like an insurmountable challenge is overwhelming and frustrating. Gallup’s Clifton’s Strengths 34 will help you determine what your strengths are so you can pursue work that compliments your talents.”
You aren’t getting what you want from your career.
“If you feel as though you were meant for something more or that you could be doing better, and it’s your job that’s holding you back, it may be time to test out that theory,” says Kusinitez. “A career assessment that measures your overall level of satisfaction can be extremely helpful, especially in identifying areas where you can take steps toward solutions and positive change that will have a significant impact on your career. Look for ones that offer detailed feedback and suggestions for specific areas of improvement.”
You’re not progressing.
“One sign you’re in need of a career assessment is if you feel you have had no progression in your job in either responsibility, title or pay in at least a year or more,” says business coach Stacy Caprio. “If this is the case, you may be stuck in a job with little hope for progression, increased salary or opportunity and it is time to take a look at where you are, what you really want, and where you want to be in a few years.”
You don’t feel connected to the work you’re doing.
If the work doesn’t matter to you, Ashley Marie Fernandez, founder of Ashley Marie Coaching says it’s time for a change. “If you don’t feel connected to your work and don’t understand how it ties back to the larger goal of your team or company, that may indicate you need a career assessment,” she says.
Free career assessments
You’ve decided it’s time for a career assessment – but how much is that going to cost you? Good news: there are plenty of free career assessment tests that can help you find the right fit for your next career. Here are a few options to consider.
A test that helps identify what’s truly important to you in your career, the values assessment is a great place to start, and offers a long list of potential career options you may not have considered before.
A personality test that groups people into five potential categories: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. If you’ve worked in office cultures that have not been the right fit, this test will be beneficial for finding the right one.
Take a step back to the subjects you enjoyed most in school — then see the career possibilities currently on the table.
This test breaks down six areas of potential interest: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. It’s a long test, so make sure you have at least 20 minutes to dedicate before starting.
Another long one, but one of the most popular. MAPP claims this career assessment will not only identify the right field for you but unlock your true calling.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person holds around 12 different jobs in their lifetime. It can be intimidating to make the switch, but today it’s more common than ever – even if you’re making a career change after 50. Start exploring your options with a career assessment to find the right next step for you.