You would have seen some variation of this chart already. You know the drill- the most common reason for job dissatisfaction is not compensation. Or job security. Or lack of promotions and career progression. It’s not even the bad boss or crazy co-corkers (though that would be in second place!). In first place is a mismatch between skills/talent and the actual work, leading to lack of motivation, boredom, and anxiety.
So the first order of business is, figure out what your natural talents and strengths are. Remember that these are different from learnt skills through formal education and work experience, though these play a part in honing your natural abilities. Over the years you may have learnt to be a decent presenter but are you a true blue “I love being on stage!” public speaker? I can bitterly make my way through a financial model because of my formal training but that is the furthest thing from a natural skill. Meanwhile my client Natalie who cannot string two words together but is an excel magic worker is stuck in a PR role where she simply cannot thrive.
There are MANY tools and tests currently available - some free, some at a small cost - to assist you in this area. If you are unsure about your natural talents and strengths and how these translate to real-world careers, then this list is a good place to start. But be prepared to waste your entire day categorizing yourself!
1. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
MBTI is one of the most common career and personality assessments in the world. There is a whole industry devoted to MBTI testing. If you don’t know your 4-letter type, there are many online quizzes to choose from - this is our favorite. You’ll get to understand i) how the needs and preferences of personality shape work preferences in general, and ii) the specific strengths and preferences of your personality type.
2. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter®-II
The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is part of the MBTI, in that the 16 MBTI types fall into 4 temperament categories. Check out in particular the Career Temperament Report, which is designed to help job seekers, those undertaking a career change, and students planning for future careers. Again the idea is to match your natural temperament to the right kind of work.
3. Strengths Finder
Strengths Finder 2.0 - also called Strengths Quest - is best purchased as a book, with the access code inside. That way you get the full language of the 34 themes, as well as a detailed breakdown of your top five themes. The philosophy behind SF (very much in line with what we teach at Careerly) is to focus on and built on your natural strengths as opposed to fixing your 'weaknesses'. SF the book also gives you hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths in daily life... at work, in the community etc.
4. The Motivated Appraisal of Personal Potential (MAPP)
MAPP is also rooted in personality psychology and motivation, but structured differently. It asks 71 questions; each consists of three statements, and you are asked to select one statement with which you most agree and the one with which you least agree. The report identifies interest in job content, temperament, aptitude, your approach to people, things, and data, and your reasoning, mathematical, and language capacity. The test identifies your top 10 career paths.
5. O*NET Online Career Exploration tools
O*NET is very popular with University/College career services, and assists students in finding occupations and conducting skills assessments. The Skills Search function is especially helpful.
6. The Holland Code Model
The Holland Code Model matches jobs into job codes, interest clusters, work personality environments, or personality types. The Occupational Codes are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
Please note that these assessments are neither particularly scientific nor comprehensive; on their own each may provide a part of the puzzle. But doing as many of them as possible, together with other clarification approaches (e.g. working with a coach), should get you close to a full picture.