If you've served in the armed forces for a while, it might be a challenge to determine what kind of career best suits you when you leave the military. Or maybe you're interested in shifting gears, and taking on a civilian career that's different than the types of jobs you had in the military. In helping to narrow down your job search, a career assessement can be a valuable tool.
An assessment focuses on specific areas that apply to your career, including skills, interests, or values. When you take an assessment, you will answer questions about what you like, don't like, what's important to you, and what your strengths are. Experts recommend that you take more than one assessment to broaden your ideas before you make a decision.
A typical career assessment would cover areas such as these:
- Your interests: What subjects do you like? Do your interests include Economics? Business? Health? Law enforcement?
- Your skills: What activities are you good at, or comfortable doing? Choices will run the gamut and include a wide range of activities, including "Operating and maintaining machines" or "working as a member of a team."
- Your values: These questions measure your personal qualities. For example, are you a planner? A creative problem solver? Self-reliant? Curious? Someone who pays attention to details?
How can a career assessment help?
- Learn about occupations that are a good match for you
- Pinpoints areas where you need more training or experience
- Identify the skills and talents you can bring to a job
- Helps you write more specific, useful resumes and cover letters
- Identify careers you may not have considered
Career Assessment Tips
1. Assessments can help guide you, but they're not the final word. If an assessment tells you something about yourself that you don't think is accurate, then take it with a grain of salt.
2. Keep an open mind. Take a few different assessments, and see if a "pattern" emerges for particular career paths. If it's something you haven't considered before, give it some thought rather than just dismissing the option out of hand.
3. Make use of other resources. Don't just rely on assessments in choosing your career path. Take advantage of career counselors and coaches, friends, and trusted advisors.
In addition to Career Counseling, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides an interest and aptitude assessment tool known as CareerScope at no cost. With CareerScope you will be provided with an assessment of your interests and aptitudes, and given recommendations about which careers you may enjoy and be successful doing, and what courses or training programs you should focus on to pursue those careers.
For more on CareerScope, visit the VA website.
More Career Assessment Resources
Employability Checkup Get a snapshot of the likelihood that you can obtain employment for a specific occupation at your desired wage and location.
MyNextMove Interest Profiler Take a personalized questionnaire to determine what jobs will be a best fit for you based on your interests and education.
O*NET Skills Search Find occupations based on your skills.
Skills Profiler Identify your skills and find occupations related to those skills.