Career planning activities typically include completing career assessments. These tools can by used anyone looking for a job: recent graduates, out-of-work people or high-potential employees. Assessment tests are usually used by a career-minded woman early in her career to identify her personality, strengths, preferred work environment and performance gaps. Complete online tests to receive objective results based on proven research. Without assessing your current skills, you can’t really develop a viable career plan. And, without accurately interpreting the results, you risk making a decision that won’t produce the outcomes you intend.
Personality assessment tests typically provide information about your preferences for dealing with the world. For example, the Oprah.com website engaged the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation to adapt five aptitude tests for professional women. Additionally, the HumanMetrics website provides free access to a test that generates a four-letter personality type, such as ISTJ, that is one of 16 types defined in the Myers-Byers Type Indicator personality inventory. Use these results to discover jobs that are most suitable for your personality. Career-development assessment sites also typically list institutions that can provide training, tips and tools to prepare for an appropriate career.
Free skills assessment tests, such as those provided on the ISEEK website, enable you to determine the importance of basic skills, such as listening, speaking, thinking and writing, in your work. This online assessment also allows you to identify how important other skills are, such as management, interpersonal and technical skills. The Skills Profiler provided on the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s website helps you "self-assess" your skill level and match your strengths to job types that utilize those skills. For example, if you use the Skills Profiler and indicate that your strengths are in critical thinking, writing, speaking and negotiation, the tool compares your skills and work activities to jobs that use those competencies and recommends roles, such as human resources manager, for you to consider.
The Rogue Community College website provides access to a Holland Code quiz. Psychologist John Holland classified jobs into categories: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising or conventional. Realistic job environments appeal to people who are competitive and active. Investigative job environments require people to think and observe. Artistic work environments typically lack structure. Social work environments involve working with people. Enterprising work environments appeal to people who value money and status. Conventional work environments attract women who need rules and regulations to operate effectively. Use the code that describes you to examine jobs that match your work personality to potential careers.
Once you receive objective third-party career development assessment results, including scores from tests or feedback from superiors, peers and subordinates, you can hone in on building a career development plan that lists goals, objectives and actions. Depending on the results of your personality test, you find hidden talents that inspire you to become a better manager, more effective presenter or even pursue a new career path that exploits your personal interests. If assessment results indicate you lack skills, pursue training to fill those gaps. Don't assume that successful women you admire just got lucky to get where they are.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.