Understanding yourself is the first step in identifying a good fit for satisfying career. Often people want to skip the important first step, Assessment, and jump right into exploring options and launching a job search plan. But before you jump forward, it is important for you to step backward in order to identify what's most important in your career and life so that you can make informed and meaningful decisions. We know that people who find satisfying careers are those whose strengths, interests, values and goals are in alignment. Often they lead healthier and more fulfilling lives and can achieve future successes.
To help you learn more about yourself, our recommendation is to start by identifying your values, interests, key relationships, personality traits, and personal and professional goals. (Sometimes in the CEC you will hear us talk about your "VIPS": Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills.) You will use this knowledge to explore the skills and roles that will make a good "fit" for you.
The following assessment exercises and instruments will help you uncover important themes about yourself in order to identify careers and industries to explore. Your goal will be to seek a position that uses your greatest strengths and provides you with professional growth and opportunity. In many cases you will be working with a career coach for the administration and review of these exercises, though they can also be undertaken independently. Each self-assessment exercise is briefly explained, and a link provided to the relevant exercise. Note that all the documents are in MS Word format so they can be written to and saved by the user:
An ability is something you do well such as a competence, talent or capacity. Not every ability is supported by an interest. You may be good at data collecting, but hate number crunching. Access the Self-Assessment: Abilities here.
An interest is something that motivates and energizes you. Not every interest is supported by a talent or ability. You may wish you could wind-surf without having the ability to do so. Access the Self-Assessment: Interests here.
Accomplishments are activities that give you pleasure, fulfillment and feelings of pride and success. They represent you at your best. By taking a close look at your accomplishments, you form a better idea of the kinds of things you may want to do in the future. Knowing what you do well and feel pride in will help you to build confidence, seek positions that fit you best, and communicate effectively in networking meetings and interviews. Access the Self-Assessment: Key Accomplishments here.
Think about the importance of your personal relationships which may include family, friends, and other people who care about you and support your personal growth and development. Who are the people that you admire and why? What are their special interests and attitudes that have had a positive effect on your life? Access the Self-Assessment: Personal Relationships here.
Clarifying your most important values is critical for your personal and professional fulfillment. When your values are in synch with your work and life you feel most satisfied and happy. Access the Self-Assessment: Work Values here.
Finally, it is helpful to picture your ideal work situation. You will perform better and be happier if you are in the type of work environment that suits you best, working with the kinds of people you get along with, and doing activities that play to your strengths. Access the Self-Assessment: Your Ideal Position here.
Skill and Personality Assessment Instruments
Plan to set up an appointment with a CEC career coach who can provide a professional interpretation of the following instruments and its impact on career choice and decision-making. Contact the CEC about login information for any of these instruments and to interpret the results with a coach:
Career Driver — Skills Assessment
SkillScan's Career Driver is an interactive online skills assessment tool that will help you identify your natural strengths and key transferable skills for career planning, creating a resume, and effective interviewing. Your Career Driver Online Assessment report will be stored for up to six months. Go to the Career Driver Online Assessment.
TypeFocus™ — Personality Assessment
TypeFocus Careers helps you understand your personality style and natural temperament for greater self-awareness to make informed career decisions and provides five personalized reports on the following topics:
- What career choices fit with my personality?
- How can I improve my chances for getting a job?
- How can I get along with people better?
- What are my learning style strengths?
Myers Briggs Type Indicator — Personality Assessment
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-assessment tool that can help you focus your career exploration. The MBTI is primarily concerned with highlighting your particular personality traits and suggests work environments, careers, and academic fields which may be a good fit for you. It examines your personality preferences and answers the following:
- What energizes you?
- How do you like to take in information?
- How do you make decisions?
- How do you organize yourself?
Contact the CEC for more information on how to take the MBTI assessment.
An Ongoing Process
Assessment is not just a one-time event but an ongoing process to revisit at turning points in your work and life. A thorough understanding of self is the necessary foundation for all good career decisions, both as you finish graduate school and as you pursue your career. As the first step in the CEC's 5 step career development model, we recommend, and expect, that individuals will continue to assess themselves over time as part of a healthy and normal career development process.
Career Toolkit for Graduate Students
The purpose of the Career Toolkit is to assist you in your career planning. Whether you are unsure of your career direction or need help with your job search, you will find the resources you need to begin your preparation.
Find a Job or Internship
Meet with a Career Coach
Wondering where to start? Let us help. Drop by Monday and Tuesday from 3:00-4:30 or Wedneday and Thursday from 1:30-3:00; or, make an appointment at a time convenient to you.
Next Career Event
There are no events at this time.