Yesterday we started talking with Chablis about how to right the ship after you’ve realized you don’t want to pursue your chosen course of study and it’s already too late to change your major. We also discussed how surprisingly difficult it can be to discover what your own interests are.
Today, as promised, we’ll take a look at a few ways to do that. I’ve collected a few assessment tools and websites that you can use to jumpstart your brain about the things you might like to do with your life. You don’t have to use them all — just pick and choose whatever you think is useful.
Career Clickers Assessment: This is a lengthy little questionnaire where you’re asked whether you’d like or dislike a wide array of different jobs, and then they package it up at the end and give you some suggestions.
I find these things useful not always for the roundup assessment you receive at the end, but for the questions along the way that mention all the different types of jobs out there. That’s the biggest eye-opener for me personally, and you may find something to spur your interest there as well.
Career OneStop: This is a Department of Labor site initially brought to my attention by the recently-on-hiatus-but-now-back-in-action Counselor Buddy. Several cool assessment tools here: skills, abilities, and interests. And it’s done by the government, so it has to be awesome. (That’s sarcasm, people.)
Career Calculus: This page from the College Board is brief, but perhaps useful. In 25 examples, it combines two disciplines and gives a sample career that could be appropriate for people who are interest in both areas. Novel, but again, brief.
Career Clusters Interest Survey: This is a PDF file of a three-page assessment where you answer a lot of questions about the things you’re interested in, your personal traits, and the school subjects you like. Then, they combine your answers and show how you fit into the 16 different “career clusters.” It’s interesting.
Interest Checklist: This is a PDF file from the Colorado Department of Labor, and again, it features another 100+ samplings of different types of occupations that you can either like or dislike. Just read it, though — no sense in filling it out, since there’s no assessment at the end based on what you’ve selected. I guess you’re just supposed to figure it out on your own. 🙂
MIT Career Development Handbook: This a 68-page PDF that contains a lot of good information about job-seeking in general, but you don’t need to read the whole thing. The “Self-Assessment” section on page 5 contains a checklist of concepts related to both your job and your life that you fill out to determine what’s important to you.
It lists things like: achievement, work/family balance, flexibility, personal growth, physical activity, high salary, stability, etc. There’s no wrap-up assessment at the end, but it does get your mind running about what things are important to you in LIFE first, and then allows you to perhaps narrow your focus to jobs that accommodate those values.
BBC Thinker Quiz: This is a simple little quiz that asks you questions that supposedly determine how you think, and which famous great thinkers are most similar to you. They also suggest some possible careers for thinkers like you at the end, which is why I added it to the list.
World-of-Work Map: Authored by the folks who bring you the AC T and rolled out in the early ’70s, the World of Work Map breaks down the — well, the world of work — into 26 different career areas (conveniently, one per letter of the alphabet).
Then, they map them all out onto a pie-chart-looking thingy that shows where each cluster falls in terms of six narrower categories and also which skew more heavily toward data, people, things and ideas.
It’s tough to describe in words, which I assume is why they made it into a graph in the first place. Just look at it — it’s interesting and possibly very helpful.
For example, if you really like working with people and your current job has you on the far other side of the chart away from such jobs, then you can get some ideas on what types of jobs might better suit you and your love of people. And so on.
— I hope these links are enough to get you started and maybe jog your mind a little about what jobs are up your personal alley.
What about you all? Got any other links or suggestions to share with the audience? Let us know in the comments below!
9 thoughts on “Finding Your Interests: A Few Ways to Get Started”
here’s a freebie that may give you insight on your personality, based on the Myers-Briggs http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
Another great site is careercruising.com. They’ve got a career matchmaker that you can use to find careers that suit you. You have to start by answering a bunch of questions. The questions are all like, “Would you like a career that involves . . .” and then you have to click either “strongly dislike,” “dislike,” doesn’t matter,” “like,” or “strongly like.” Then, once you’ve answered all the questions, the site will give you a list of careers that suit you. If you want more specific results, there’ll be a link beside the list of careers that says something like “answer more questions to improve my results.” Keep doing this until that link disappears. Then there’s another link that’ll allow you to factor in your skills and another link that’ll allow you to factor in your education. Ultimately, you get a pretty decent list of careers. And if you click on each career, Career Cruising will give you all kinds of great info about that career.
The only wrinkle is that you need a username and password to enter the site. But most high schools and universities have a username and password for their students to use. Ask someone at your school.
I have agreed to take with my own interest every thing.
Thanks for the information! You are right, Josh, these assessments do help to “jumpstart your brain about the things you might like to do with your life”. They also help you realize the jobs that you want to avoid. It is interesting to see that there is something out there for every type of person. I know people that would be so excited to perform some of the job descriptions that make me cringe.
Thanks for the article!
Well out of all of them the BBC: Thinker Quiz was the most specific to me. Career Clusters gave me similar results for what other tests have given in the past–business management and tourism. With the Career Clicks I scored higher on artistic then I think I ever have on an assessment.
I like the way author Martha Beck puts it, about finding your “north star” (best life path) by gauging your own instincts in daily life situations. In other words, what do you Feel best doing? (Hopefully not playing video games–but then you could be a game tester or digital designer) usually the thing we would be best at is the thing we tend to do in our spare time. Maybe your degree was engineering but you never spend a second of your time working on that outside of school, and spend your weekends breeding obscure species of orchids or composing violin concertos…. if what you’re doing at work and school is nothing like your passions at home, it’s probably time for a change of career plans. Most people are really afraid to pursue what they’re good at (ie. what they love) because we’ve all been told the fields are too competitive, but the reality is almost all fields are competitive now, so you may as well jump in and compete with something you’re good at that you plan to work at the rest of your life anyway.
For me I think it’s music, but I’ve spent the past 4 years studying art and psychology, I’m graduating as a psyco-centered liberal arts major this semester and that’s still good! I think everything we learn in a lifetime will somehow be helpful. But it’s probably best to choose a major based on what you really care about and what you really see yourself doing happily and well in 5 or 10 years. That’s why I’m going to try and get into a great music program for graduate school, I just can’t put it off any longer (and I’m doing it anyway, school or no)
Hope you figure it out man!
Aloha to all 😉
Wow this is awesome!
I DO REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR GOOD WORK AND ALSO THE SCHOLARSHIP CHANCES AVAILABLE FOR US . I AM REQUESTING YOU TO HELP US GET ACCESS TO THE SCHOOLSHIPS FOR $ 10000 FOR I REALLY NEED THIS SCHOLARSHIP TO FINISH MY BBA DEGREE WHICH REQUIRES AROUND $ 10000 TO FINISH.
I HAVE TRIED ALL MEANS AND WAYS OF RAISING THAT MONEY BUT IT HAS BEEN INVAIN AND I DO HOPE THAT YOU WILL NOT LET ME DOWN. MY NAME IS LILIAN NJAMBI KUNYIHA A KENYAN AND 18 YEARS OLD.
Hey folks, I appreciate everyone sharing the resources they know about. Honestly I learned a lot about what I enjoy from doing and quitting. Trial and error is never quick and rarely painless, but if you are completely at a loss… you might as well. Attend workshops and lectures at your local College/University, go listen to authors when they are in town to speak, take free art/computer/whatever classes, etc. Also, TALK to people. Just ask everyone around you what they want to do and why, what the downsides are, etc. Never forget that as people we can offer each other so much, just like we do on this website. By interacting with a variety of people with a range of different interests, and participating in activities with them, you just might stumble upon your heart’s desire.