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Finding Yourself: Personality and Career Tests on the Web

Any business that fails to take a regular inventory of its assets and deficiencies is doomed to failure. The same may be said for individuals who are committed to using their innate strengths in choosing a career path and improving their lives. Americans are often stuck in the pursuit of “finding themselves.” As a result, they’re suffering from a paralysis of analysis. Fortunately, there are personal assessment tools developed by psychologists to place you in wide categories of human traits, strengths, and weaknesses. Some of the best of these cost-free assessments are available online.

Before taking any of these online assessments, it’s prudent to consider the results you’ll receive as a best-case snapshot of how you fit pre-established categories. Plus, results are based on your intellectual and emotional reactions to the questions and how honest you are in your responses. You’ll profit most by heeding any results with a grain of salt and using your assessment as broad guidelines in career and skill planning.

Clickable Tests that Measure How You Tick
Online tests fall into several broad categories. There are skills assessments that evaluate your capabilities in the workplace, asking such questions as, ” are you a finisher or do you procrastinate?”. Some tests measure your tendencies and preferences, with such questions as, “Would you rather work a drill press or be a financial planner?”. Still other tests measure your personality tics asking things like, “Do slow drivers bother you?”.

Here are the top-ten tests you’ll find online and their features:

Big Five Personality Test
The Big Five Personality Test is based on a 1970 measurement test created by researchers from The National Institutes of Health, the University of Oregon, and the University of Michigan. The test asks you to evaluate your own preferences in categories called Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. There is no cost for taking the test.

Career Focus 2000 Interest Inventory
In this cost-free test you’ll take stock of your interests in 18 career fields by responding to 180 questions. This is a measurement of interest, rather than aptitude. Would you like to test blood in a laboratory or create a musical score for an orchestra? The test is well-suited for high school and college students, and for adults looking at new career options.

OneNet school-to-work
Easily the most comprehensive assessment tool online, OneNet is free to the user. A bank of tests will measure your skill sets, occupational likes and dislikes, and potential career fields that suit your type. The site is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

The 3 Sides of You Self Perception Profiler
This cost-free test delivers a three-part profile of how you rank in thinking, working, and emoting. Each of the three category tests contain 56 statements that users rank in order of importance or self-identification. For example: “You often feel when something’s wrong, yet seldom speak up about it.” Or, “For you, there’s one best way of doing everything.” At the end, you’ll receive an overview of your personality style.

Career Interest Inventory
This free online inventory reveals to the user the career fields that best match their personal interests. The 45 questions ask, “Would you rather be an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency or a plastic surgeon?” Or, “Would you rather be an eye doctor, a poet, or a firefighter?”

Keirsey Temperament Sorter
This free, online assessment tool is popular among counseling professionals, Fortune 500 companies, and major universities for measuring career and personality development. The test follows the standardized 16 Myers-Briggs personality assessment categories in accordance with psychological types first described by C. G. Jung. A more-detailed assessment is available for a fee.

Career Zone Assessment Test
This free, online measurement tool evaluates your career by work environments and personal preferences. It uses a model based on life themes in six categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. By combining your positive choices, the test delivers a range of professions.

AdvisorTeam Temperament Sorter
AdvisorTeam’s free test also uses the Keirsey model, helping you to understand your “strengths, motivations, and temperaments.” You’ll answer questions about your behavior, attitudes, and preferences. Do you chat with strangers while waiting on line at the supermarket or do you pace anxiously? What’s more important, your thoughts or your feelings?

Monster.com Assessments
One of the Web’s largest job sites offers a free career test based on your personality type. Four questions detail two sets of personality characteristics. You’re asked to honestly describe which set best fits you. You decide if you’re an extrovert or introvert; a thinker or a feeler; judger or perceiver. Questions: Where is your energy naturally directed? What kind of information do you naturally notice and remember? How do you decide or come to conclusions? What kind of environment makes you the most comfortable?

Career Link Inventory
This free, online assessment tool helps you take your own inventory in aptitudes, interests, temperaments, physical capacities, working conditions, and career preparation. Do you prefer to work inside or outdoors? Are you stronger in spatial or verbal skills? Would you rather have on-the-job prestige or prefer producing a visible, tangible product?

I See Myself Better, Now What?
It’s easy to fall into a pit of extreme emotional reactions or set your goals in stone as a result of your test results. Remember that any results are just guidelines and another tool to give you an additional glimpse of yourself. The tests can be useful if, based on your findings, you establish some career options and objectives with flexibility.

You might consider conducting additional research into what it will take to get into fields that excite you. You could make a pluses and minuses list of the jobs you’re considering. If you’re motivated, develop an action plan and timetable for reaching your goals.

Publish date: June 15, 2008