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If you've watched the news at all of late—or attended any family dinners, for that matter—you've likely heard someone say that nobody wants to work anymore. And, looking at the numbers, it can seem hard to argue the point: back in June of 2021, the number of job openings in the U.S. spiked to an unprecedented 10.1 million despite the fact that some 8.7 million were looking for work.
Since then, the ratio of unemployment to open positions has stabilized somewhat, but the debate rages on about why so many positions remain open. While it's easy to point fingers or politicize the issue, we genuinely believe that the numbers are less about people not wanting to work and more about people wanting the right work.
To our credit, this theory is backed by statistics showing that career satisfaction is at a 20-year low, with more than 34% of workers reporting increased burnout, anxiety, and general unhappiness in their current positions. With so many already miserable in the jobs they have, how can we expect people to jump into similar or, often, worse conditions?
Put simply: we can't. Instead, it's time to start reinvesting in career planning. By taking the time to map out your career path, you can maximize your chances of finding a job that checks all of your boxes—personal, financial, or otherwise. To do our part, we'll help you understand the role of a quiz for career planning, what to look for when choosing a quiz, and what to do after your results are in to start putting them—and yourself—to work.
The Five Most Important Parts of a Career Quiz
Having designed a career test ourselves, we know a thing or two about what goes into making them effective. In our experience, the best career test for career planning will include five essential ingredients, which are:
For most people, personality-focused questions are the most familiar and enjoyable part of a career test. Who doesn't enjoy learning more about themselves, after all? Still, a personality test for career planning needs to do more than entertain.
Instead, it's crucial that this portion of a career quiz measures the most important personality traits relevant to your career interests. Rather than simply telling you that you're outgoing and enjoy freedom, for instance, it would be better to say you'd excel in roles that allow you to solve problems creatively or by collaborating with other people.
Arguably even more important is the psychological research upon which a testing service builds its personality test. With JobTest.org, for instance, we combined several of the personality tests most trusted by psychologists to provide more comprehensive results. Regardless of how a company chooses to structure its personality test, however, always check to make sure they're using factual, research-backed information.
Finally, presentation matters. No matter how well a test defines your personality type, it doesn't matter if you can't fully understand what it's telling you. For that reason, tests that use graphs, visual aids, and clear language are often the most effective.
For more information about the different types of personality tests, check out our complete rundown.
As important as self-awareness may be, it's only truly valuable when it helps you improve your life—in this case, by finding the right career choices. To that end, all career tests should include a thorough list of job matches, well-articulated reasons why they match, and comprehensive information about specific openings or fields related to those matches.
With other career tests, this is generally accomplished by checking your answers against pre-generated or archived lists of careers. At JobTest.org, however, we take this aspect of career testing one step further by using our adaptive AI to pull information from reliable sources while you take your test. This means that each of the careers we suggest is based on the most up-to-date information possible.
Depending on which service you choose, a strengths assessment may go by many names: career aptitude test, skills test, talent index—you get the idea. Regardless of their name, each of these uses your answers to determine what you're good at now, what you could be good at with a little work, or how to use what you're good at to find success in the professional world.
While some other career aptitude tests focus on one or two of these areas, we know that all three are needed to provide a complete picture of who you are and what career paths might lead to the most success. We also know that insights into a person's weaknesses can often be as valuable as insights into their strengths.
For that reason, JobTest.org's strengths assessment gives you a full breakdown of your general strengths and weaknesses, the skills you currently possess, and clear-cut steps you can take to address areas in need of growth.
We called this section education advice, but it really refers to all advice about tools, opportunities, or resources you can use to improve your skill set in pursuit of a better career outcome. If, for example, your test results suggested a position that required a certain degree, the career test should ideally give information about colleges or even scholarships. For this purpose, JobTest.org maintains a close relationship with Bold.org, which specializes in connecting students of all ages with private scholarships free of charge.
Beyond formal education, other resources might include ideas for internships, volunteering opportunities to boost your resume and expose you to people in a certain field, or even specific certifications to pursue. In a more general sense, even advice on what personality traits to work on can help improve both performance and workplace satisfaction.
Taken together, our point is that a good career test shouldn't just teach you about yourself; it should also give you the tools you need to learn and improve and, by doing so, increase your chances of landing a job you love.
When we were first designing JobTest.org, we constantly encountered career tests that used cookie-cutter results or formulaic feedback to try and help their users. While we understand that most of these were limited by the technology of their time, it nonetheless seemed like an outdated and inefficient approach to the process.
Still, with technologies like AI or machine learning so readily available, there's no reason that a modern career test should give anything less than a fully personalized report. With our career test, for instance, every word of your report is tailored to your answers, personality traits, and career interests. That way, you can be sure that we're speaking directly to your situation rather than sorting you into a predetermined box alongside thousands of other users.
What to Look for in a Testing Company
Outside of the questions they ask and the way they design their test, there are some other important qualities to look for when deciding whether to trust a company to help plan your future. By our standards, these include things like:
In years past, career tests were used by private and government organizations to fill roles with those who might excel in a given work environment. While this may have worked then, the modern nature of career testing means that companies should be open and transparent about any connections they may have to other organizations or professional fields.
By doing so, companies can reassure their customers that their results are 100% unbiased.
As we mentioned earlier, the rapid evolution of modern technology has opened the door for unprecedented accuracy and customization in the field of career testing. When used correctly, technology such as AI and advanced machine learning can gather enormous amounts of data at a moment's notice, then reference that data against your answers to provide to-the-minute suggestions.
Even better, adaptive questioning like that used by JobTest.org learns about you as you answer questions, then uses that understanding to shape future questions so they more closely align with your situation.
For different companies, a community can mean different things. Some career testing services maintain forums for their users, others list hundreds of in-depth customer reviews on their websites, and a few even collaborate with universities or companies to help with recruiting.
At JobTest.org, we think community means giving something without asking for anything in return, which is why we dedicate time and effort to writing useful, relevant articles and guides about topics related to career growth and today's job market.
In our experience, far too many companies fail to include modern technology in their testing, but then use it extensively for their customer service. Not only does this mean outdated testing metrics, but it also means pre-generated responses or chatbots used to answer questions about pricing, results, or other types of customer support.
At JobTest.org, we know that sometimes people want their questions answered by a real human, so we maintain a specially-trained support staff dedicated to helping solve problems and help you maximize the value of your results.
Just like a career test itself should be tailored to your specific circumstances, so too should a company's pricing and results packages. With JobTest.org, for example, we offer three distinct tiers of results, each with increasingly comprehensive information related to price.
For customers who know they only need certain insights, this is a way to minimize excess and pay for only the elements you want most. Conversely, those who want the maximum amount of insight and guidance can opt for a slightly higher-tier package.
How to Start Planning Once You Have Results
After you've completed your test and received your results, it's time to start thinking about how to put them into action and build a career plan. And, while our post-assessment resources are some of the best in the industry, there are also some things you can do with this newfound information to ensure the greatest payoff possible.
Refresh Your Resume
When was the last time you really sat down and updated your resume? For most people, it's probably been far too long. According to some experts, in fact, career professionals should refresh their resumes every three months in order to keep up with projects and accomplishments that may otherwise go forgotten.
That said, many people struggle to "advertise" themselves in the ways necessary to build a truly compelling resume. Luckily, your results from JobTest.org will lay out your strengths in clear, professional terms that you can plug directly into your resume or cover letter to give them new life.
Instead of just providing general fields or professions in which you might excel, our results often outline companies within those fields that either have open positions or might be of interest to you. Once you receive these insights, it's best to take a little time and research the companies that best align with your career goals and values.
Remember, however, that this type of research shouldn't end with the company itself. Instead, consider looking into the departments or people with whom you would potentially be working. Not only can this help you build intelligent, thoughtful questions for a future interview, but it can also indicate whether you'd enjoy the culture and environment surrounding the role.
Set Up Informational Interviews
When it comes to learning about a position or company, there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than an informational interview. Generally, these involve you reaching out to the hiring department of a company, explaining who you are and that you're interested in the industry, and then asking for 10-15 minutes of their time when possible.
Often, companies agree to informational interviews as a way to build goodwill with the community and source passionate new talent for existing or future positions. Still, make sure to go into these interviews prepped with good questions and a game plan for how to make the most of the process.
Explore Further Education
Depending on where you are in life, you may or may not have considered going back to school to further your education or expand into some new area of study. For some, this can be one of the single most valuable professional decisions they can make.
Still, we've found that the term "education" has become far too limited, with many people only using it to refer to college degrees. Instead, we highly suggest seeking alternative education opportunities when appropriate, such as special certifications, experience-building, or even subjects you can study on your own time via online resources or books.
Find Volunteering Opportunities
Next to education, experience, and solid references, a history of volunteering can be one of the most influential components of a good resume or interview process. It's so important, in fact, that a 2016 impact survey found that 86% of people in hiring or hiring-related positions said volunteering would significantly boost an applicant's chances of being hired.
As if this number weren't convincing enough, you can also double down on the value by volunteering with an organization connected to your intended career field. Not only does it increase the impact of your volunteer hours, but it may help you build connections with like-minded individuals and people already established in that field.
Why You Can Trust Our Career Test
When we began building JobTest.org, we did so because we understood the value of planning and personal freedom when pursuing a dream career. Unfortunately, this kind of freedom can often be hard to find. Between pressure from family, friends, or even just society in general, too many people are forced into careers or positions they think they should have rather than the ones they genuinely desire.
By taking our career test, you can take back control over your own career path and arm yourself with the information and perspective you need to make real change. Even beyond the value of your results for career planning, we can also help you put that plan into action with real-time solutions tailored to your specific circumstances.