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The Role of Personal Self-Assessments in Career Planning

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By Anna Sommer
Career Exploration Specialist, APUS

Career planning encompasses various factors, including education, industry-specific certifications and relevant work experience. The role of self-assessments in career planning is often overlooked, but it is a valuable step in the process of self-discovery.

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Why Self-Assessments Are Beneficial

Career-specific self-assessments focus on areas such as interests, skills and work values. Collectively, these areas speak to your motivation toward your career. The more your interests, skills, and work values align with your specific job and industry, the more motivated you will be in your job and the more you will value your contribution within your industry.

The act of self-assessment, regardless of whether you are taking a formal assessment or just reflecting on your career path, also has considerable value. Gaining insight into your education, experience, skills, work values, and interests allows you to understand your value as an employee and what you bring to the work environment. You can use this information to craft a more tailored resume, seek a promotion or prepare for a performance review.

How to Use Formal Self-Assessments

Most formal self-assessments are designed to ask a variety of questions that sort your answers into different groups. For example, a self-assessment on interests focuses on pulling out your likes and dislikes and grouping them into different career-based categories.

It will also list those interests in order from least to greatest level of interest. After you take a self-assessment, you will see where you fall on a spectrum relative to your interests, skills and values.

Additionally, most self-assessments recommend different career path options based on your results. These recommendations help you to:

  • Identify your specific interests, skills and values
  • Understand how they translate into employable attributes that relate to specific career fields
  • Be exposed to career path options that you might not have known about or previously considered

Self-Assessments Available Through CareerOneStop

There are various assessments available through CareerOneStop, including:

1) Interests Assessment — This self-assessment examines your interests as they relate to potential career fields and identifies your likes and dislikes.

For example, your assessment might show that you like to work with your hands to build things and that you don’t like to work on a computer. That discovery helps you filter out career path options that would require a heavy amount of computer work. The assessment results could also recommend career path options in line with your interest for hands-on work that perhaps you haven’t previously considered.

2) Skills Assessment — The skills self-assessment identifies your strengths and weaknesses in various career-related skills. For example, you might find that you have strong skills in detail-oriented, repetitive tasks, but weak skills in open-ended, creative tasks. This information can show you if you want to pursue careers that capitalize on your strengths or careers where you can improve your areas of weakness.

3) Work Values Assessment — This self-assessment assesses your work values to reveal what you care about within the context of your career. For example, understanding that you value working on a team in a collaborative environment, receiving benefits that include health insurance or serving the elderly population is useful feedback. That feedback can help you determine both career path options and specific job positions that line up with your values.

Regular Reassessments of You Want in a Career Are Helpful

Throughout your career, your willingness to self-assess plays an important role. Your interests, skills, and values will expand and change over time. As a result, reviewing them periodically is helpful in pursuing career path options that align with your unique needs and ensures that your current career is a good fit for you.

If you would like to work with a member of our team for help with self-assessments, career exploration or industry-aligned career coaching, please reach out to us at careerservices@apus.edu.

About the Author

Anna Sommer began her career at American Public University System in 2007. She has worked in the Academic Advising and Student Services Departments, and she now currently works as a Career Exploration Specialist in the Career Services Department. Anna holds a B.A. in English, a M.S. in Adult Education and a MFA in Writing. She is currently pursuing the graduate certificate in Life Coaching, which she hopes to utilize in her role at APUS and her role as a yoga and meditation instructor.

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