To find/create and advance your career, you could do a lot of trial and error exploration but that method could really take a long time! I’m a fan of career assessment to accelerate career and leadership development. Assessments are only a starting point to deeper exploration, so once you have results, it takes additional work to use the data productively. Professional counselors and psychologists (and some coaches who pursued additional education) are trained in how to interpret the results and translate the information into action steps.
To be listed here, a career assessment has to be reliable (consistently yields similar results so that you can trust the information) and valid (measures well what it is supposed to measure).
Clicking through each link will enable you to read more information about each career assessment choice.
O*Net Interest Profiler – A free career interest assessment sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Once you have your results, take a screen shot as there doesn’t seem to be a way to save them.
Interest Profiler – A free career interest assessment sponsored by the California Career Resource Network. To keep your results, you will need to register on their site. The Interest Profiler gives you a Holland code just like more expensive assessments do.
Strong Interest Inventory® (SII) – A fee-based career interest assessment that compares your interests in a broad range of occupations, work, and leisure activities to the interests of professionals who are satisfied with their career choices. There are two versions of this assessment available: (1) The Strong Interest Inventory® Profile and Interpretive Report; this one requires professional interpretation by a career counselor; and (2) iStartStrong®; this one is designed to be self-interpreted.
CareerLeader® – A fee-based career interest assessment specializing in business career paths. Offered directly from the publisher.
Career Interests, Abilities, and Values (Integrated)
Career Occupational Preference (COP) System 3 – The COPSystem 3 is fee-based and offered directly from the publisher. I recommend using it in combination with professional counseling or coaching to make sense of the results.
This book was written after analysis of 850,000 interviews.
The book includes an assessment to help readers identify core motivators and then provides suggestions for how to sculpt your job to better match your motivators.
Personality and Emotional Intelligence
16Personalities.com – A free measure of personality type. Personality type is best used to evaluate career environments rather than specific careers as the predictive power of personality type for career choice is not high.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) – A fee-based measure of psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. Offered directly from the publisher (CPP) or via counselors/coaches if you want professional help to interpret the results. The MBTI is valid for team and personal development. It is not valid for selection purposes or to exclude anyone from any career opportunity.
California Psychological Inventory® (CPI) – A fee-based measure of personal and work-related characteristics, motivations, and thinking styles. The CPI requires professional interpretation.
EQ-i – The EQ-i® is fee-based and assesses components of emotional intelligence (self-perception, stress management, self-expression, decision making, and interpersonal) and requires professional interpretation.