A career is composed of two parts. The first is the job itself and the accompanying responsibilities and expectations of that particular occupation. The second part is the person who takes the job and how their values, interests, skills, and abilities relate to the job. The more you know about yourself, the better chance you have of finding a fulfilling career that fits your values, interests, skills, and abilities.
The following section on self assessment is divided into three areas: 1) values, 2) personality type, and 3) skills and interests. Some of the information you find may be a pleasant surprise, whereas other information may be an affirmation of what you already suspected. Either way, the information you discover will be tremendously important to your career planning.
Suppose you were asked, "What is important in your life?" How would you respond? Family and friends? Love, marriage, security? Education? Community service? Money? A combination of these? These responses represent things that you find desirable or rate as highly important in your life. They are called "values."
We are not born with values, but we learn values from the experiences we go through and our interactions with family and friends. Because no two people have the same experiences, we all have different value systems. Values tend to prioritize factors in our lives. They determine the importance of things that influence us on a daily basis. By asking yourself, "How important is this value to me?" you will begin to see how you make decisions which are important to your career and life.
The Work Values Sorter in Choices Planner can help you match your values with different careers. The Work Values Sorter is an electronic card sort that asks you to prioritize your work values from most important to least important. You may also download the Work-Related Values Game to review and consider thought-provoking values statements and the Work Values Survey for a quick check list of some common career-related values. Remember, when you are doing any sort of self assessment, be completely candid about yourself, your values, interests, skills, and abilities. Do not answer the way your friends or parents would want you to answer. Your answers will not be published or viewed by anyone but yourself, so be honest in order to get the best results.
You know that different people enjoy different jobs, however, it can be difficult to decide what sort of job best fits our own personality. Understanding your personality type may assist you in your search for a career. The most popular personality inventory is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You may call Career Services or the Office of Personal Counseling and ask for an appointment to take the MBTI.
Psychologist John Holland developed another similar personality typology. Holland’s personality types, which are listed below, are often used in conjunction with the Strong Interest Inventory. (To take the Strong Interest Inventory, please call Career Services to schedule an appointment with a counselor). For a quick assessment, try rating yourself on how closely you match the career personalities below. Most people do not fall into one personality type, but have characteristics from a combination of types.
People scoring high here are usually rugged, robust, practical, physically strong; they usually have good physical skills, but sometimes have trouble expressing themselves or communicating their feelings to others. They like to work outdoors and to work with tools especially large, powerful machines. They prefer to deal with things rather than with ideas or people. Realistic people generally have traditional political and economic opinions, and are usually cool to radical new ideas. They enjoy creating and fixing things with their hands and prefer occupations such as mechanic, construction work, fish and wildlife management, laboratory technician, some engineering specialties, some military jobs, agriculture, or the skilled trades.
This theme centers on science and scientific activities. Persons of this type tend to be task-oriented; they are not particularly interested in working around other people. They enjoy solving abstract problems, and they have a great need to understand the physical world. They prefer to think through problems rather than act them out. Such people enjoy ambiguous challenges and do not like highly structured situations with many rules. They frequently have unconventional values and attitudes and tend to be original and creative, especially in scientific areas. Investigative types prefer occupations such as design engineer, biologist, social scientist, researcher, laboratory worker, physicist, technical writer, or meteorologist.
The ideal type here is artistically oriented, and likes to work in artistic settings that offer many opportunities for self-expression. Such people have little interest in problems that are highly structured or require gross physical strength, preferring those that can be solved through self-expression in artistic media. They prefer to work alone, but have a greater need for individualistic expression, are usually less assertive about their own opinions and capabilities, and are more sensitive and emotional. They score higher on measures of originality than any of the other types do. They describe themselves as independent, original, unconventional, expressive, and intense. Vocational choices for the artistic type include artist, author, cartoonist, composer, singer, dramatic coach, poet, actor or actress, and symphony conductor.
The ideal type here is friendly, responsible, humanistic, and concerned with the welfare of others. These people usually express themselves well and get along well with others; they like attention and seek situations that allow them to be near the center of the group. They prefer to solve problems by discussions with others, or by arranging or rearranging relationships between others; they have little interest in situations requiring physical exertion or working with machinery. Such people describe themselves as helpful, kind, good listeners, able to understand feelings and emotions and as good leaders. They prefer occupations such as school superintendent, clinical psychologist, high school teacher, marriage counselor, playground director, speech therapist, or vocational counselor.
The ideal type here has a great facility with words, especially in selling, dominating, and leading; frequently these people are in sales work. They see themselves as energetic, enthusiastic, adventurous, self-confident, and dominant, and they prefer social tasks where they can assume leadership. They enjoy persuading others to their viewpoints. They are impatient with precise work or work involving long periods of intellectual effort. Enterprising types like power, status, and material wealth, and enjoy working in expensive settings. Career interests include business executive, buyer, hotel manager, industrial relations consultant, political campaigner, realtor, salesperson, sports promoter, and television producer.
This type tends to prefer highly ordered activities, both verbal and numerical, that characterize office work. People scoring high fit well into large organizations but do not seek leadership; they respond to power and are comfortable working in a well-established chain of command. They dislike ambiguous situations, preferring to know precisely what is expected of them. Such people describe themselves as conventional, stable, well controlled, and dependable. They have little interest in problems requiring physical skills or intense relationships with others, and are most effective at well-defined tasks. Career preferences are mostly within the business world, and include bank examiner, bank teller, bookkeeper, accountant, financial analyst, computer operator, inventory controller, tax expert, statistician, and traffic manager.
SKILLS During a job interview, applicants are frequently asked to list and describe their top skills. However, for some students the mere mention of the word "skills" triggers a panic. Fortunately, it is not difficult to identify one's skills. Analyzing past experiences and accomplishments, including those from internships, class projects, community service or extracurricular activities is a good place to start. List all functions involved for each achievement, then, compare the lists to discover any recurring patterns of behavior related to each accomplishment. By labeling these repeating behaviors, you have identified your skills.
Career success is achieved when your best talents are used productively. You should determine your skills to select career positions, which emphasize your strengths. This analysis can also help you avoid career paths that would call attention to your weaknesses.
INTERESTS Interests are things that you enjoy doing or are curious about learning. Because college offers a wide variety of activities, the interests you have when you enter Rollins may be different from your interests at graduation. Similarly, the interests that motivate you to choose your very first job may change and inspire you to change careers once or many times throughout your lifetime.
The following activities will enable you to identify your interests and correlate those interests to your career planning. If interests are well matched with a career, people tend to experience greater job satisfaction.
The Interest Profiler in Choices Planner can help you match your interests to careers. The Interest Profiler presents a series of activities and asks you to rank how much you like or dislike each activity. The results are displayed according to Holland's six interest areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
The Strong Interest Inventory is a computerized assessment that looks for themes or patterns in your interests, then matches those interest themes with specific careers. For example, a student who is interested in writing could be matched with careers in law, education, public relations, or advertising. SII also compares how similar or dissimilar your interests are with those of people who are very satisfied with their career choice. SII is offered free of charge to students in the Office of Career Services and takes only 45 minutes to complete. You will need to meet with a career counselor before and after taking this inventory.