Self Assessment: Your Interests and Your Career Choice

Most people struggle with their career choice at some point in their lives. Even if you work a job for many years, you could be faced with a situation in which you must change or choose to change careers. If you're unsure which type of career is right for you, you need to take a career self-assessment in order to have some ideas to guide your decision.

Listing Your Interests and Skills

The first step in your career choice self-assessment is to assess your interests and skills. At this early stage, don't hold back. List every kind of activity that gives you joy, even if you don't think you could make a career out of it. For example, maybe you like knitting or carving wood. You may enjoy playing sports or reading books. You could enjoy being around children or spending time with animals. Since, ideally, you'd like your career to make you happy, you should take a look at everything that makes you happy.

Next, you need to list your skills. Look back at your strongest subjects in school and the types of activities you've gotten praise for in the past. Skills may include talent with school subjects as well as mechanical skills, such as working with computers or making home improvements.

Assessing Your Interests and Skills

Next in your career choice self-assessment, you want to categorize all of your interests and skills. Career development leader Dr. John Holland has devised six categories that should cover all types of interests and skills:

  • Enterprising: Driven, goal-oriented activities. May involve selling or pitching ideas and may avoid activities that require too much analysis.

  • Conventional: Orderly, structured activities. May involve working with numbers or keeping records.
  • Artistic: Creative, sometimes spontaneous activities. May involve an interest in arts or drama and an aversion to structured activities.
  • Realistic: Practical, hands-on activities. May involve mechanical aptitude and an ability to design and read mechanical blueprints.
  • Investigative: Curiosity-driven activities. May involve a scientific aptitude.
  • Social: Activities that primarily help others. May avoid using tools and prefer person-to-person interaction.

For example, making crafts and selling them at a crafts fair can be artistic, realistic and enterprising. Enjoying math problems or sudoku could be conventional.

Matching Your Interests with Careers

Once you know what categories your interests primarily fall into, your career choice becomes a little more clear. Most careers can fit into at least one of these categories. You should look for careers that fall into the same categories that match your interests and avoid careers that don't take advantage of your strengths. For example, a person whose interests are primarily social may love working as a teacher or a nurse, but may dislike working as a mechanic or a chemist.

Consider Your Values

You should also consider your values. You need to assess how important other factors are to you. This includes factors, such as earning a high salary, being proud of a prestigious job title or working at a job that gives back to your community. Remember these values when considering a career as well.