Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DIY guide to getting to know yourself

Self assessments are the foundation blocks which support the rest of your job search project. If the foundation ain't strong enough, your job search efforts may not get you through the current stormy climate.

The first stage of effective self assesment is understanding the critical role your personality plays in determining whether or not you will succeed in a given environment. How you perceive situations impacts on your behaviour and actions, how others will react to you and whether or not you will be productive under certain conditions. So your career success will be determined by how well you know yourself (and ultimately how hard you are willing to work on yourself) so you can make wise career decisions.

There are tons of assessments/tools you can take online for free or at a low cost. But only a few are worth bothering with. You can get away with doing 3 key assessments to give you a good start at understanding your career 'personality' but if you want to platinum clad your job search capability I'd recommend the ACTIVATE 8 step programme which you can have personally designed for you at www.springboardconsulting.ie.

Here's how you can get started on the self assessment phase.

1. Take a personalilty inventory to determine what type of temperament you have. My favourite is the MBTI available from MAPP.com or OPP.co.uk
This will give you great insights into your personality and reveals excellent advice with loads of career options suitable for your 'type'.
It is far and away the most reliable and well researched tool available and even if you are content with the online version,it is most accurate when administered by a qualified career counsellor.

Once you know your type you can check out your career recommendations in a brilliant book called Do What You Are and it also provides excellent job search advice specific to your type.

2. The second assessment that is well worth checking out is one that evaluates your values. I like Schein's career 'anchors' test but my favourite is the Richmond Career Drivers. In under ten minutes you can compare and rate a range of statements to determine how your outlook reveals your underlying motives.
This ensures that your career choices are in harmony with your value system.

3. Next I recommend conducting an interest inventory. The Strong interest inventory is my fave but some people swear by the Birkman test. The 'What colour is your parachute' workbook (rather than the book, although do get the book too!) contains multiple lists of activities and tickbox activities with headings such as 'things i like to read about' followed by an exhaustive suggestion list for you to ponder.
Once you have amasssed about 5/6 areas of interest you're ready to brainstorm career option by seeing if you can spot any connections between the things that interest you. Enlist the help of a creative friend or lateral thinking buddy.
That should give you a push in the right direction...

*This advice comes with a huge beware sticker. These tests and inventories are best taken with a qualified psychologist or career counsellor who can interpret them correctly and give you responsible feedback.

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