Choosing a career path can feel overwhelming, whether you’re a teen setting out on your first job hunt or an adult looking to switch gears. Career assessments can help minimize that overwhelming feeling.
A career assessment is one of the most insightful steps you can take when mapping your career path. The results can help you better understand your interests or open your eyes to new options. By clarifying your career orientation, assessments provide focus to your job search and studies.
This article explores the value of career assessments and personality tests for identifying your innate strengths, interests, and priorities. We’ll discuss the different types of assessments available, from school counselor questionnaires to comprehensive career aptitude exams. You’ll learn how assessments can point the way to potential careers you may not have previously considered.
Free Career Quizzes
All of the career test options below are free, but some may have a premium version that provides more results.
CareerExplorer was created by Sokanu, a career advancement platform. The test uses psychometrics, machine learning and career satisfaction data to create the results for test takers. The test undergoes frequent updates to maintain their algorithm and keep it up-to-date.
The test was developed by a team of psychologists and is for anyone who is looking for more direction for a career.
Test features include:
- Test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
- Get matched with careers based on your goals, interests, and personality.
- Algorithm updates are tweaked often to achieve the best accuracy.
- Find out your personality archetype and share with friends and family.
- Connect with others with similar results in the Discord channel.
2. MyNextMove / O*NET Interest Profiler
MyNextMove is a career interest platform from the U.S. Department of Labors Employment and Training Administration. It contains 60 questions to which you will answer how you would feel about doing that job.
The test is compatible with Holland’s R-I-A-S-E-C interest structure and takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.
Below is a sample of some of the question types you will be asked. All are written to determine your level of interest in each item. When you are done you will find the categories that are most related to your interests.
CareerFitter’s test started back in 1998, making it one of the oldest career tests out there. The test includes different assessments to figure out your energy, perception, planning style, and decision style. Knowing how you stack up in these areas will allow the test to deliver careers you are best suited for.
Test features include:
- Test will take 15-20 minutes on average to complete.
- Data from millions of users helps make it more effective.
- Premium version available.
- Personality report shows careers and salaries you can earn.
4. Princeton Review Career Quiz
The Princeton Review career quiz includes a variety of questions that take just a few minutes to complete. Questions are choices you will make between two provided options. For example, would you “rather be a company controller” or a “tv news anchor”?
Results will include color-coded interests and which careers are best aligned with those colors.
While the test is easy, it may not be the most accurate for finding a career path as it is less about your personality – and more about what you like.
Visit Princeton Review
CareerOneStop is another option from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. It is a very simple test that takes just a few minutes and will deliver results based on your answers.
The career interest assessment delivers 30 questions. You rank your answers from strongly dislike to strongly like.
Once completed you will get a list like the one shown below with careers that match your answers. The results also feature the level of match, job outlook, education needed, and the estimated hourly wages. There are also filters so you can filter the careers by several different desired options. Results are based on the Holland’s R-I-A-S-E-C interest structure.
While not specifically designed for career exploration, 16Personalities is a popular personality test that can help students gain insights into their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Once you complete the test you will receive a report about your personality and how it influences your life.
Optional tests, including a career specific test, are available at a cost.
7. Wisconsin Technical College System
This quiz asks a variety of questions to help you single out some careers that match your personality, likes, and dislikes. There are about 20 questions and at the end you will have to supply an email to get your results.
Visit Wisconsin Technical College System
8. Minnesota State Career Cluster Interest Survey
The career interest survey from Minnesota State will ask you to rate activities you enjoy, personal qualities, and subjects you like. When you have completed thee quiz you will be provided with the career clusters that are the best match for your interests.
Test will take about 10 minutes to complete.
Visit Minnesota State
9. MAPP Test
In just 20 minutes you will gain insights into what careers may work best with your personality and skills. There is a free version of the test, which does require registration, and there are several packages to get more analysis. The free level will match you with 5 careers, paid plans will offer more options.
10. Holland Code Career Test
With over 1 million test given in the last 30 days, this is one busy career testing website. The free career quiz uses the Holland Code system to let you see which jobs best suit your personality and skills. Scores are provided for 6 major job areas to aide you in your career planning.
The test will take about 20 minutes to complete.
Visit Holland Code on Truity
With an estimate 3 million users, JobTest.org is another well-known career test that uses machine learning to give you a complete career assessment. Test will take about 15 minutes and will align career paths that match your education, preferences, values, and more.
There are tests built specifically for teens and adults to meet each of their unique needs.
Understanding the Career Quiz Results
After taking one of these career quizzes, it’s important to understand how to interpret and utilize your results effectively. Your quiz results aren’t definitive answers but rather, they’re guides to possible careers that might interest you.
Review your results and read through the list of recommended occupations. Consider factors such as required skills, education level, job outlook, and expected income.
Don’t limit yourself to the top results. Explore deeper into the list, you might discover a career you’d never considered before.
If you are unsure of how to read the results, do not be afraid to ask for help!
Career Planning for Teens
The earlier you start thinking about your future, the more time you have to plan it all out.
The key to great career planning is understanding yourself and what you are good at and what you enjoy. The career tests above are great for helping you narrow these things down.
Emphasizing your strengths will empower you to choose a profession that best utilizes your skills, while understanding your weaknesses provides opportunities for growth and self-improvement.
Here are a few career planning suggestions to help you:
- Identify your passions: List down the activities that excite and inspire you. This can help you narrow down the industries and jobs related to your interests.
- Research different professions: Gaining knowledge about various occupations will help you better understand the skills and knowledge required for each job, giving you an idea of what you need to work on to succeed in that field.
- Evaluate your skills: Assess your abilities and compare them to the requirements of the careers you’re considering. This will allow you to determine if you need additional training or education to pursue a particular profession.
- Set achievable goals: Break down your long-term career aspirations into smaller, actionable steps that will ultimately lead you to your desired outcome.
Remember that friendly guidance and support from family, friends, and mentors can also be an invaluable resource during your career planning journey. The more you learn about yourself and the professional world, the better prepared you’ll be to thrive in your chosen path.
Thoughts From Career Coaches
I reached out to a few career counselors and consultants to see what they had to say about taking a career test.
Emily Maguire, a Career Consultant at Reflections Career Coaching, offered her thoughts to help students.
These tests help individuals explore their work motivations, desires, and potential career options. By identifying their strengths, clients can explore various job options they may be well-suited for. Then, to narrow your options, watch real-life career videos to gain insights into what working in those jobs looks like, and jot down the daily responsibilities or tasks you would love to do. If there are only a few responsibilities that you would enjoy, try exploring one of the other potential roles.
Lynne Fuller, a 20 year college counselor and founder of College Flight Path, shared her thoughts.
Career assessments are launching points for a series of conversations surrounding planning the next steps, engaging in interests they have not yet considered, and helping to explore options for postsecondary life. Students already have access to a myriad of career assessments through their schools including Naviance, Big Future, SCOIR, and O*NET, but it is truly helpful to review these results with someone who can help guide the conversation and leverage tools to maximize a student’s research.
Consider a Career Mentor
Hopefully you can talk to your parents about your career goals, but I personally know that that is not always the case. In my own experience, I had no one to talk to about my options.
Below are some resources you can look to for some help with your career planning.
- School Counselors
Start by reaching out to your school counselor. They can provide guidance, resources, and may have connections to mentors in various fields. Counselors can also help interpret career test results and suggest suitable career paths based on the findings.
Tap into your personal network and ask friends, family members, or teachers if they know someone who works in a field that interests you. Networking can help you find professionals who can provide insights and guidance.
- Online Platforms and Forums
Explore online platforms that connect mentors with mentees like iCould, LinkedIn, and Find a Mentor. These platforms allow teenagers to search for professionals who share their career interests and request mentorship or informational interviews.
- Professional Associations and Organizations
Many industries have professional associations or organizations that offer mentorship programs. Research organizations related to your career interests and see if they provide mentorship opportunities for young individuals.
- Internships and Job Shadowing
Seek out internships or job shadowing opportunities in fields that align with your career interests. These experiences allow you to work closely with professionals and gain firsthand knowledge about a specific career path.
- Career Development Programs
Look for career development programs specifically designed for teenagers. These programs often provide mentorship and guidance in exploring career options. Examples include Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and career-focused programs offered by local community organizations.
Once you have connected with a mentor or individual who can provide guidance, here’s how you can best utilize their support:
- Be Prepared: Before meeting with a mentor, research their background and the industry they work in. Prepare a list of questions or topics you’d like to discuss to make the most of your time together.
- Be Open and Curious: Engage in conversations with your mentor, ask for advice, and listen attentively to their insights and experiences. Show genuine interest in learning from their expertise.
- Set Goals and Seek Guidance: Share your career test results and discuss your aspirations with your mentor. Set short-term and long-term career goals together and seek their guidance on how to achieve them.
- Seek Feedback and Learn from Mistakes: Share your progress with your mentor and seek feedback on areas for improvement. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to grow and refine your career goals.
Remember, mentors can provide valuable guidance, but ultimately, the final decision on your career path lies with you. Use their insights to make informed decisions and continuously explore different opportunities to find a career that aligns with your interests and strengths.