Whether you are entering the job market for the first time, transitioning to a new career, or thinking about exploring other career options, you owe it to yourself to pursue a fulfilling career path. Before jumping headlong into a new job opportunity, you’ll be well-served to go through a self-assessment process to ensure you land exactly where you belong - where you will be the most satisfied and make the most impact – so you don’t end up career hunting again in five years.
One method for advancing your career is analyzing four primary areas that make up who you are. A self-assessment of your values, interests, personality, and aptitude will not only give you confidence that you are pursuing the right career path, but it will also prepare you to say “yes” – or “no” - when the next opportunity for career advancement presents itself.
What Matters to Me? (The Values Assessment)
First things first. Being honest with yourself about your values is probably the most important factor when choosing a career path. In essence, your values reflect what you believe, what is important to you, and what drives your decision making. Some of these values center on the work itself, some on the work environment, and others on personal ethics. For example, if you highly value green energy, working for a coal company may not be for you. If being there for every one of your kids’ ballet performances or soccer games is non-negotiable, then taking a job that requires a lot of travel will be a no-go. If you value being a public servant and dedicating your life to helping others, then a career in Humans Services could be the perfect fit. Or if you like the autonomy to get a job done on your own schedule, then being in a deadline driven, team-oriented industry could be frustrating. Bottom line, you’ll want to agree with the mission and vision of the organization you work for and be excited about using your talents to help achieve them.
What Do I Enjoy Doing? (The Interests Assessment)
So, liking golf or chess may not be a qualifier for finding the perfect job, but your interests tell something about you. And if your interests are extremely important to you, you will want to find a job that doesn’t interfere with them. You probably have interests related to your work as well. What projects have you worked on that pumped you up? Of the many aspects of your job, which do you gravitate towards and spend the most time on? Answering those questions will help you identify interests that are important to you in a career. For example, if you are fascinated by corporate strategy and financial management, then you might want to consider pursuing a Master in Business Administration.
Who Am I? (The Personality Assessment)
Yes, we all change and grow over time, but the essence of who we are, our personality, often stays with us. That’s why exploring your personality traits and what makes you tick can be valuable in helping determine what jobs you are best suited for. You may find out what motivates you, what your attitudes are, as well as what patterns of behavior you display. In fact, personality assessments are considered so indicative of the emotional intelligence employees portray that many companies even administer these tests to job candidates. Other personality tests are more general in nature. You can self-administer these to help determine what types of career paths you might like to pursue. For example, if you discover that your top traits include caring for and having empathy for others, then pursuing a degree in nursing could be right for you.
What Am I (or Would I Be) Good At? (The Aptitude Assessment)
Aptitude tests are designed to identify what a person is capable of doing or learning. Tests might evaluate a person’s communication, numerical, reasoning, behavioral, and technical competencies, giving employers a better understanding of how well a job candidate might perform if given the right training and direction. For self-assessment, an aptitude test can do the same by pinpointing what types of tasks your brain is wired to do. It may also help you determine if furthering your education is needed to reach your aptitude potential. If tests show that you would be a good mentor or coach, for example, then an online degree in leadership would prepare you to live up to your career aptitude.
Putting It All Together
There is no exact formula in finding the right career path. The primary objective here is to begin the process of self-discovery. If you have a general idea of the field you are interested in, then you are already ahead of the game. However, most people find they need a little assistance in finding the right career path. Our enrollment advisors at Ottawa University are highly specialized in helping you explore your career interests and giving you initial guidance on choosing the right degree.
There are a wide variety of self-assessment tools that are available on the internet that can prove valuable in your pursuit of informed career advancement. However, if you don’t have time to conduct one on your own, you will get the chance to do so as a student once you are enrolled at Ottawa University. Our students are given the opportunity to take the Smarter Measure Assessment, which is an interactive tool designed to help students recognize their strengths and provides resources to strengthen their areas of opportunity. It provides useful insights regarding:
- Life Factors - Availability of time, support from family and employers, finances, etc.
- Learning styles - Based on the multiple intelligences model
- Technical Individual Attributes - motivation, procrastination, willingness to ask for help, etc.
- Competency - Skills using technology
- Technical Knowledge - Knowledge of technology terms
- On-screen Reading Rate and Recall
- Typing Speed and Accuracy
You will find that many self-assessment tools for career development tend to overlap in their areas of evaluation. The most important thing is that you come away knowing a little more about yourself and feeling more confident in what you would like to do.
To help get the self-assessment juices flowing, consider providing honest answers to some of these questions.
- Do I like to do the same thing over and over, or do I like variety in my work?
- Do I like taking on a challenge and finding solutions, or do I avoid change and new tasks?
- Do I prefer to work with data or people?
- Do I like to collaborate with people to solve problems or do I work better alone?
- What personal attributes or types of work have people complimented me on?
- What areas have been highlighted as weaknesses in my job review?
- Am I good at thinking quickly on my feet, or do I need time to give a detailed response?
- Do I communicate better face-to-face or in writing?
- Do I prefer to use my hands or my brain?
- Do I prefer to make a difference or to make money?
- Is work or my personal life more important to me?
- Am I a better leader or a follower?
- Am I willing to cut a few corners, or am I committed to honesty at all costs?
- What have I always wanted to do? Am I qualified to do it?
- Do I need to go back to school to get the training I need to get the job I’m most suited for?
Continue Your Education
While there are many methods for advancing your career, going back to school is the best way to prepare for the career you’ve identified as right for you. Transitioning to a new job is just one of the many benefits of earning an accelerated, online degree with Ottawa University. You can be confident that our online degrees are fully accredited-one of many reasons why we are the best university in the Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix areas.
Contact an enrollment advisor today to discuss programs that are in line with your recent self-assessment!