Self-assessment tools are the best resource you’re not using in your job search. There isn’t one single test that will tell you if a job is right for you, but using a variety of self-assessment tools can provide a comprehensive picture of your likes, dislikes, and strengths. Ultimately, these tools can help you decide what career path might be best suited for you.

As a transitioning service member, you’re in the early stages of your career planning process. While most civilians address this during their college years, you’ve been serving the country and learning the life of the military. Now it’s time to take an objective look at yourself and make an informed decision about the next chapter of your life.

Self-assessment tools can help with that. You can use them to gather information about your values, personality, aptitude, and interests. Together, these form a composite image of the kinds of careers that might be best suited for your skills.

Values are the things that you find important in your professional life. These include achievements, success, status, and the ability to work on your own or in a group.

Personality questions look at what motivates you, along with your needs, desires, and overall attitude.

Aptitude measures the activities you excel at, either naturally or through formal education such as math, engineering, or writing

Interests are everything that you enjoy doing in your free time, along with professional interests.

Some people find value in hiring a career coach to walk with them through this process. If you’re a self-starter and like working independently, you might not need this service. However, if you feel like you have no idea what to do with your life, a career coach might be the best thing for you.

This list of self-assessment tools should be used as a starting point for figuring out which questions you need to ask yourself. Remember that all of these are simply tools. The real work comes from you, so the more open and honest you are with the evaluations, the more likely you are to find the kind of career that’s best matched to your personality.

Value inventories: There are two types of values: intrinsic and extrinsic. Value inventories ask questions relating to how work contributes to society and external factors like earning potential.

Personality Inventories: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most common personality inventories used to determine career aptitude. This inventory is built around the idea that certain personality types are suitable for specific occupations.

Aptitude inventories: Aptitude is either natural or acquired ability. These inventories are useful in finding your ideal career because they consider what you enjoy doing, which is important since you’re going to be spending so much time at work.

Interest inventories: Inventories like the Strong Interest Inventory can help group your likes and interests with career fields where other people have the same interests.

Remember that self-assessment tools should be one piece of your career search. These tests aren’t designed to be the “end all be all” since they’re completely fallible. The best thing to do is to be as open and forthcoming as possible so you can get the best results. It’s also a good idea to take these tests several times to ensure that your answers and responses are consistent. That way, you’re better positioned to find the kind of job that really suits you.

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