How to Figure out Your Perfect Job
Six Online Career Evaluations that can Help you Know Yourself
After being laid off, I decided that I needed to find a job that truly suited me, not one where I felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but after a couple of months of applying for jobs, not really getting anywhere, a training course that revealed what I thought I wanted wasn’t it, feeling a bit defeated, one too many motivational TED talks, and with the turn of a year coming up, I decided I needed to objectively re-assess what the perfect job for me is and then go for it.
I took out a sheet of lined notebook paper and wrote on the title line: Figuring Out the Perfect Job. Then I wondered to myself: What determines what is the perfect job for me? I wrote down 5 things: Personality, Interests, Aptitude, Skills/Talents, Experience. Then I thought about how to evaluate myself on each of these things and find the careers that suited them best. Being a fan of MBTI and remembering that throughout school I had been put through multiple career aptitude tests, I decided to use them now to my advantage. When I was in grade school I always had a single career in mind and these tests had reinforced it. Now that I was re-evaluating every aspect of my life, the tests took on new value as a resource.
I took six different evaluations to help me better put into words the way that I am and how that would best apply to a job that I could both excel at and be happy in performing. Each one recommended careers and I took note of the jobs that appeared the most across all of these tests.
MBTI — 16personalities.com
The first one, Personality, was pretty easy. I had taken the 16personalities free test earlier in the year to identify my MBTI type. I went back and re-read the career section of the personality profile, copy-pasted it into a document, and highlighted the careers that were mentioned and the strong and weak personality traits I could emphasize or improve on in a business context.
Princeton Review Career Quiz
Next I googled “career finder” and similar terms and found the Princeton Review Career Quiz. This generates an “Interest” which describes “the types of activities that you are drawn to; these will need to be present in a job or career that you are considering if you are to stay motivated,” and a “Style” which “describes the strengths that you could bring to a work environment when you are at your best. This is the way you like to get results. A work environment in which your strengths are appreciated is a big part of career satisfaction.” The quiz also gives specific career recommendations based on your “Interest” category.
I also did StrengthsFinder 2.0 which costs as much as the going rate of the book on Amazon (under $20) and gives you an access code to the online test. This online evaluation and companion book really helped me do better in interviews. After taking the test and learning what my identified strengths are, I was better able to communicate them to potential employers in a confident way. StrengthsFinder is actually work-focused so there were many examples of careers that play to my identified strengths. I noted all of those.
O*NET Interest Profiler
For the Interest category, I took the O*NET Interest Profiler which I remembered taking in middle school. This test recommends specific careers to you at the end based on the aspects of how Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional you are. It gives you levels of careers based on how much preparation you need to achieve them, and tells you which would be a great fit or the best fit for you based on your quiz answers. I highlighted all of the ones I was most interested in.
Truity Holland Code Career Test
Another google find was the Truity Holland Code Career test which again is a quiz, but it gives you a top aptitude area and then shows your job aptitude characteristics either low, moderate or high, for things such as Building, Thinking, Creating, Helping, Persuading, and Organizing. These are like the soft skills that almost no one no one talks about when writing a job description, but if you have a high aptitude for one or more of these, there are guaranteed to be careers in their database which combine your aptitudes. For example my highest were thinking and organizing, and a top result when I searched for careers with both of these aptitudes was Database Administrator. This is far from what I do or would ever dream of doing, but when I searched for Thinking and Organizing and Persuading which I had a moderate interest for, a top result was Lawyer, which is much closer to what I do now. For my analysis I cross-searched all of my high and moderate aptitudes, and saved all of the careers that fit those criteria. I also cross-searched my high aptitudes with my low aptitudes to identify careers that would help with some of my potentially weaker points.
Truity also has an MBTI test which corroborated my results from 16p and also correctly identified the near 50/50 split that I have between the S/N characteristics. This test also will tell you specific careers for your personality type, as well as careers you should stay away from if you want to be content in your work. This part makes it one of the most valuable tools to use, because knowing or having a good idea of what you do not want to do really helps to narrow down your search. For myself I saved all of the careers associated with my S and N types, then listed out all of the ones that matched between the two, both for recommended careers and those to avoid. The recommended careers here are very many but of course not all-inclusive, so it’s important to remember that many careers exist in whatever field you might be actually interested in.
You can be just as connected to your passion field when you’re the accountant at the construction company, as if you were one of the construction workers, or engineers or sales people, because the role you play is extremely important just like theirs.
And that finally brings us to the Skills, Talents, and Experience portion of how to figure out the perfect job for you. I’m a big believer in starting where you are and working to get where you want to be. Pull out your resume and look over your past experience and skills. If you don’t have a skills section on your resume, make one as a new document. List all of the skills you learned from your previous jobs. Everything from knowing powerpoint to being a team lead has given you a valuable opportunity to tell a future employer what you can do. Also do the same for any talents you have. What are you good at, have you always been good at, or even have developed a knack for in the last few months? Don’t forget to list hobbies as well because they can be important connecting points or even lead to a new job. Is there a job in the field or fields you’ve already worked in that is closer to where you want to be? For example, throughout this whole process for me, lawyer and auditor kept coming up again and again as a potential career for me. This was something I hadn’t even remotely considered because my background is in science and animal health. I had to think hard about what if there were actually a law-related career that had to do with the animal health field?
Well, there is. It’s now my current job, and I found it because I went through this process with myself to figure out what is objectively the perfect job for me. I may do this process again in the future when it’s time to make my next big career move and find the perfect job for me at that time in my life.
If you’d like to see all of my actual results: Figuring Out the Perfect Job
This story is part of My Process of Finding a New Job Series: