Using Career Assessments: Having Realistic Expectations
Assessments deliver objective results based on reality; therefore, the results are unambiguous and can be counted on to be accurate and have clear-cut implications.
Looking for the "Holy Grail" of assessments, one that supplies THE ANSWER to your career-choice dilemma is an easy-to-understand quest. Often career change is involuntary and the need to begin a job search immediately is paramount. Consequently, making a career choice based on the first career assessment result you get can be tempting.
But remember, you are a multi-dimensional human being. Therefore, one career test result is only part of the puzzle; all of the career assessment results, based on your multiple personal parameters (mentioned above), are needed to establish the benchmarks for comparison with potential careers.
When used as a tool to open the door of possibilities, understanding that many more career possibilities lie beyond, career assessment results can spark exciting insights and pathways for further investigation. This can lead to sound career decision-making and action plans, especially if done in collaboration with a well-qualified career coach or career counselor.
Since you are the expert about yourself, re-validate each assessment's results. Ask yourself, "Does this description in the career assessment results sound like me? Are there examples within my career or personal life that align with and support this particular assessment's conclusions?"
Assessment results can be wrong for any number of reasons. Issues such as validity, reliability, cultural bias, norming, test-taking anxiety, distractions, confusion about the assessment's directions (online or hard copy), poor self-esteem, and trying to "game" the assessment to get the result you believe you want (whether consciously or not), can all impinge on the quality and accuracy of career assessment results. Allow yourself breathing room to disagree with or amend the results. They are not infallible!
Interpreting assessment results and determining their implications for career choice can prove daunting. To facilitate the process and to correct any misunderstandings you may have drawn regarding your own career assessment results, you will likely want to enlist the help of a career counselor or career coach. We will discuss that in more detail in Part 4 (upcoming).
Career assessments suggest, not tell. Take the results with a grain of salt; they may not be literally telling you to be a network engineer or social worker. Instead, the results may be pointing the way for you to creatively search possible careers and jobs within those fields or related fields.© Copyright , 2010, Susan Guarneri. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About the Author
Job-Hunt's Career Assessments Expert, Susan Guarneri, known as the Career Assessment Goddess, specializes in using personal branding and career assessments to empower professionals, executives, and budding entrepreneurs with career insight and action. Author of the Career Goddess Blog and co-author of Job Search Bloopers, Susan holds 16 career certifications, including National Certified Career Counselor, Master Career Counselor, Certified Master Branding Strategist, and Certified Online Identity Management Strategist. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University and 24 years of experience.