How valuable are career tests?

How valuable are career tests?

I've adopted a point of view about career tests (click on the link, where you'll be taken to a page dealing with midlife changes. Career tests could be useful for midlifers in this situation) from Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers He says that no test or career counsellor can replace the job seeker or career seeker asking themselves the question, "What do I really enjoy doing?" and creating a job or career around the answer to this question.

After leaving ten years of practicing dentistry, twenty-eight years ago, because of poor vision and not knowing what I was going to do with my life next, I hired a career counsellor and she supported me in completing the "Flower Exercise" in Bolles' book. She also had me complete some career tests, the one I remember being the Strong-Campbell Inventory. It told me that my interests were most common to university professors.

That hit home for me. My family and friends saw me as a teacher, so there was some consistency here and useful feedback. However, I didn't see myself as having the freedom, an important value for me if I were to work for an organization. I always liked the idea of calling my own shots.

Assessments are Useful

I've completed many assessments over the years related to different areas of life.

My training as a coach was with Coach University and Thomas Leonard, the founder and one of the pioneers in the coaching movement. He was very fond of written or online assessments. My clients find them useful.

What I find most valuable are assessments through conversation exchanged between people. Something opens up in dialogue that isn't available in other ways. So working with a coach, mentor, counselor; someone going through a career transition, and being part of a support group, in my opinion, are more powerful than career tests.

Take an online training program

Upgrade your career search skills by taking an online training program. The HuntingToHired program includes eight step-by-step courses that take you through every step of the job-seeking process. All told, there are over a 100 pages of text content (with audio narration available), over 4 hours of interviews with experts (with transcripts available), plus worksheets, tools, and forum access to the instructor! Although geared for younger job seekers, it provides valuable career change advice for anyone re-entering the job market or changing careers.


• Use career tests as a guide, not an answer.
• Hire a coach or consultant who's experienced in working with clients dealing with midlife transition issues.
• Complete the "What Color Is Your Parachute Process," preferably with a group made up of midlife individuals going through a career transition process.
• Participate in a breakthrough program like the Landmark Education Forum.
• Read Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

Dr. Fred

Listen to this

lively conversation between Dr. Frank and myself about career tests.
To hear other interviews and to subscribe to our podcast
visit our midlife crisis coping podcast page.

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