Self-assessment is the process of “knowing yourself.” It involves taking an inventory of your likes, dislikes, personal characteristics, values, wants, and needs. It is the first part of the career management process. Before you can decide what you want to be you first have to discover who you are. People are constantly changing, growing, and developing. Therefore, it is necessary for everyone to re-assess themselves periodically in relation to their career, personal, and spiritual goals.
Things you enjoy doing can give you important clues about work or career interests. Fixing things, using computers, cooking, and caring for children are just a few examples of everyday activities and skills that are often transferred into a career.
Each person’s unique combination of emotional and behavioral characteristics makes up their personality. Different careers fit better with different personality traits. For example, an outgoing, friendly person who enjoys meeting and talking to people all day would be well suited for jobs in sales, customer service, or public relations.
Skills are not only from past work experiences, but also from community service and other roles in your life. Skills are of three types:
- Transferable or functional skills ─ Skills that can be transported from one job to another.
- Self-management or adaptive skills ─ Skills or strengths developed through life and work experience, or from exposure to role models. They are also behaviors learned in families and from significant others. Certain self-management skills are very important in some occupations, less important in others.
- Technical or work content skills ─ Skills that are learned through training and often can be applied only to a narrow range of occupations. Recognizing the satisfaction generated from using these skills can sometimes indicate alternative career choices.
The motivation or personal incentives needed for job satisfaction are unique to each person. By examining your work values, you can prioritize what role work plays in your life. However, as you grow and mature, some of your values may change. Therefore, a job or career chosen at age 20 may not match the values held at age 40 or 50.
Lifestyle & Financial Considerations
Your preferred living conditions can affect your career and occupational choices, and vice versa. By assessing how you want to live and considering the finances required to support that lifestyle, you can evaluate how your career decisions may impact you and the significant people in your life, and whether there are existing or potential barriers to overcome. Financial needs are an important consideration. Knowledge of monthly expenses and having realistic financial goals can help in choosing appropriate occupations.
Preferred Work Environment
Preferences about working conditions can be just as important as what you choose to do. Work environment can play a large part in how you feel about your job. Often, your comfort level with where you work can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful career choice.
Goals do not automatically activate self-influences that govern motivation and action. Evaluative self-engagement through goal setting is affected by the characteristics of goals, namely their specificity, level of challenge and temporal proximity. General goals are too indefinite and non-committing to serve as guides and incentives. Strong interest and engrossment in activities is sparked by challenging goals.1
Many self-assessment instruments are available, both informal exercises and formal tests/inventories. They are often available at your local high schools, colleges, and workforce development agencies. The following list provides a number of very useful examples:
- Adult Attachment Interview
- Altruistic Personality Scale
- Compassion Scale
- Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)
- Psychological Well-Being (PWB)
- Subjective Well-Being (SWB)
- The Engaged Living in Youth Scale
- The Gratitude Questionnaire
- The Life Engagement Test (LET)
- Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ
- Purpose in Life Test (PIL)
- Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire
- Satisfaction with Life Scale
- Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)
- Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ)
- Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale
- Bandura, A., (2001). SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY: An Agentic Perspective. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2001.52:1-2.