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3: Analyze Your Habits

Discovering Your Interests

Almost any career counselor will start with some basic questions, the first of which is often, “What do you like to do?” This simple question isn’t merely a way for them to get to know you better. It has deep implications for the type of work in which you would find contentment, the work environment in which you might excel, and areas in which you might already have or be willing to attain skills and training.

Assessments of your interests (along with your values, personality traits and skills) help narrow down your occupational choices.

  • The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is helpful for students and young adults just entering the workplace and usually is administered by certified career counselors or practitioners. Note: This requires a purchase.
  • The Career Interest Profiler at O*Net can be self-administered and interpreted. It measures six patterns of interest as follows:
    • Realistic — people who enjoy practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
    • Investigative — people who like to work with complex problem solving.
    • Artistic — work that is expressive, artistic and not defined by rules.
    • Social — workers who like to help or teach others.
    • Enterprising — workers who persuade, make decisions and like to start ventures.
    • Conventional — work that follows directions, standard procedures and routines.
  • The Career Interest Assessment at CareerOneStop offers a shortened version of the self-administered assessment at O*Net.
directional sign showing weaknesses one way and strengths the other

Aligning with Your Strengths

The strengths and abilities that you have acquired throughout your life will play strongly in your career choices. Strengths include things like your organizational and coordinating skills, efficiency and resourcefulness, and ability to plan or instruct. Some transferable skills Sometimes called soft skills, these are skills that can be used in a variety of situations. like negotiating, motivating, working in teams or communicating also come into play.

Get in Touch with Your Strengths

Here are links to some sites and assessments to help find your strengths:

  • Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 offers a scratch-off access code for an online assessment to help you find your talents. Note: This requires a purchase.
  • The University of Kent offers a free, online test of your strengths using straightforward language to help you apply your results to different occupations.
  • The O*Net Ability Profiler measures your abilities related verbal use, arithmetic reasoning, computation, spatial, form perception, clerical perception, motor coordination, manual and finger dexterity. Someone who has specialized training must administer it. Use the interactive map from the U.S. Department of Labor to find workforce centers that administer this assessment in your state.
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