Assessments: One Student's Experience

Have you ever wanted to take a personality “test” (Career counselors call them “assessments” since there are no right or wrong answers, by the way.) but just didn’t know if the results would be relevant to you? I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory (SII) last week through the Career Development Services website. So, I was amused to learn that your personality type may influence the kind of work environment and occupation you are drawn to, and that your desire to find a job that is fulfilling, a.k.a. utilizes your interests and skills, also influences your career path.

My experience with the SII was interesting because I learned it doesn’t focus on your skills; it highlights your interests. When I chose my major I didn’t choose it based solely on my interests. Instead I choose a major based on my skills and at what I felt I would excel. So the SII, in a way, does the reverse because it looks at your interests and then gives you occupations that fit those. You would then work backwards to identify the best major to get you to a career of interest.

The results of my SII said that my top interest areas are politics and public speaking; however, my top occupation was a foreign language teacher. I agreed that I am interested in politics, but I don’t want to be a politician, so I was confused as to why they cared about my interests when it doesn’t necessarily mean I want that as my job. However, as I processed the results with a career counselor, we talked about the similar characteristics of a politician and teacher: they both help and care about others, like to work with people, and take charge through meeting and persuading. Also, some areas of interest may become a hobby while others may develop into a career. Overall, I felt that the SII was very accurate, and if I didn’t agree with a particular part of the results I just ignored it. Assessments aren’t meant to change you; they are meant to help you identify things about yourself and be able to articulate who you are and how that fits into the world of work.

A last discovery that I made and suggestion for you: Type Focus is very similar to the MBTI, but it’s free. So I suggest taking that one! If you have questions about any of the assessments, just contact any of the career counselors by phone, email or during walk-in hours, M-F, noon – 4 p.m.

By Kelly Mayes

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