Anatomy of a Self-Assessment

A self-assessment, to be effective, must consider an individual’s work-related values, interests, personality type, and aptitudes. All of these characteristics make up who you are, so ignoring any of them won’t give you an accurate answer. Let’s look at each one.

Work-Related Values: Your values are the ideas and beliefs that are important to you. Your work-related values can include autonomy, prestige, security, interpersonal relationships, helping others, flexible work schedule, outdoor work, leisure time, and high salary. If you take these things into account when choosing a career, you have a better chance of achieving job satisfaction.

Interests: Your likes and dislikes regarding various activities make up your interests. E.K. Strong and other psychologists discovered many years ago that people who share similar interests also enjoy the same type of work. Based on this theory he developed what is now called the Strong Interest Inventory, an assessment many career development experts use to assist their clients with career planning. Examples of interests include reading, running, golfing, and knitting.

Personality Type: Your personality type is made up of your social traits, motivational drives, needs, and attitudes. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, developed a theory of personality that is widely used in career planning and is the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a highly popular personality inventory. Knowing what your type is can help you choose an occupation because personality types are better suited to certain careers, as well as work environments, than are others.

Aptitude: Aptitude refers to an individual’s natural talent, learned ability, or capacity to acquire a skill. Examples include math, science, visual art, music, verbal or written communication, reading comprehension, logic and reasoning, manual dexterity, mechanics, or spatial relations. You may have multiple aptitudes. It is important to keep in mind that having an aptitude for something, doesn’t mean you will necessarily like doing it. Or you may enjoy doing it, but not for work. That is something to keep in mind if and when you move up in leadership or within your organization.