Career Assessments: Build Your Future Based on Your Interests

Learn about yourself and your options.

Career Assessments: Measuring Interests, Values, and Skills

Today's students have access to a variety of majors and career paths, and new careers appear all the time. This can make choosing a path seem like a daunting task, especially when you haven't had much work experience. Thankfully, BigFuture offers resources that can help you through the career exploration process.

You may opt to take a career assessment to help you narrow your options and see which career profiles are worth deeper exploration. These assessments can give you some insight into how your interests, values, and skills match potential opportunities.

For this overview, career assessment, quiz, test, and survey will be referred to interchangeably, but that doesn’t mean that they’re created equally. Different assessments have varying levels of rigor around their development and administration. If possible, learn more about whether an assessment you take has been evaluated for validity and reliability. Find out if it does what it says it’s supposed to do. A career quiz that gives you a list of possible matches based on your name is unlikely to provide any meaningful recommendations. A tool like BigFuture Career Quiz can help you. That’s because it’s based on the well-researched O*NET Interest Profiler, which has been evaluated for more than 20 years.

Read on to learn more about these tests and how they can help you find a rewarding path.

Types of Self-Assessments for Careers

You can take different types of assessments. Each one will help you learn something new about yourself and your potential career paths. Consider taking a few of these tests to get a more detailed and accurate picture of how you could see yourself in the workforce. A strong career match will align to your interests, values, and skills.

Interest assessments

Interest quizzes ask you questions about the things you like and don't like to do. These questions cover a variety of topics, such as hobbies and academic activities. Some assessments ask you to choose your favorite things while others ask you to rank each activity on a scale.

Interest assessments match your answers with careers that fit your interests. For example, if you enjoy participating in sports and leading others, you may get a recommendation for occupations such as fitness trainer or high school sports coach.

Although some recommendations may seem obvious, good interest assessments are far more nuanced. They can give you suggestions you may not have considered. If you enjoy sports, you've probably thought about being a professional athlete. An interest assessment may pair your passion for sports with your enjoyment of art and suggest you become a sports photographer.

What are the RIASEC career interest areas?

Many interest assessments, including our BigFuture Career Quiz, are built on John Holland’s RIASEC framework. This framework includes the following six interest types, which are also mapped to work environments:

  • Realistic: Best for those who like to do and make things and enjoy being outdoors
  • Investigative: Best for people who like to analyze and solve problems
  • Artistic: Good for students who enjoy using their imagination and being creative
  • Social: Best for those who want to help other people in some way
  • Enterprising: Good for people who enjoy leading others, growing a business, and making financial gains
  • Conventional: Best for students who are meticulous and enjoy math and compiling information

Matching Interest Types to Career Profiles

The BigFuture Career Quiz provides a list of 30 potential careers based on how your preferences align to what is known about different occupations. The assessment will match your interests to the careers that best represent them.

Work values assessments

You should also assess your work values when choosing a career. When your values align with your job, you’re more likely to be happy and successful. One way to assess your values is to write down what’s important to you and rank these values so you see what matters most. Once you’ve identified your values, you can see how they connect to work by researching career profiles, speaking to professionals, and getting firsthand work experience.

Skills assessments

A skills assessment helps you connect your talents, skills, and aptitudes to different careers. Skills assessments often measure specific skills, such as whether you can write computer code. They also measure general aptitudes, such as communication skills and athletic ability. The SAT Suite of Assessments measures quantitative or literacy skills, which have been mapped to every career listed in O*NET. Once you have an inventory of your own skills, either through an assessment or a simple listing of what you know, you can align these skills to different jobs by viewing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities on the career profile in BigFuture Career Search.

Parting Thoughts on Career Exploration

Choosing a career path is important, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Career assessments are designed to offer you valuable insight into what you enjoy and value. They can give you suggestions to help you consider career paths that may be good fits for you.