I envy those professionals that enjoy their sector – I was one myself once. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, Java programmers – everyone that is working in a defined role in which there is a demand and doesn’t have to invest a lot of effort considering which job to target when they are seeking work.
Alas, many job seekers do not fall into this category, either because their work history does not correspond into a specific category or because they are interested in a variety of work roles. Or, the problematic case of people looking for employment that have no idea what they want to do!
For someone that is stumped identifying which types of jobs to target, a visit with an employment advisor is certainly recommended. In addition, many job seekers turn to the Internet and search for sites that can help them identify careers that match their interests/skills. Here is an article on this subject: http://jobsearchinisrael.blogspot.com/2010/03/transferable-skills-professions.html.
One category of resources that people use is career (personality) tests. The idea is that after answering a battery of questions, you will be labeled with a profile as well as a list of jobs that can be suitable for people with that profile. Sounds great, right? Well, as with most things, it’s not so simple. I remember that when I was in high school in the US, I took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test. This was the test that our school counselors told us all to take in the 11th grade to understand where we should be focusing our future attentions. As with astrology newspaper predictions, you can always find something in these reports which can be used as validation for yourself; for instance in my results the lowest ranked job was to work as a ditch digger, which made sense to me. However, there were a bunch of other details, totally forgotten by me now, which my school counselors advised that I should interpret as solid facts. Unfortunately I don’t have the results now (lost together with my baseball card collection), as I am sure it would be interesting to look at now.
As time passed, I have become a firm believer that desire is a (the) critical influencer in estimating career success. Yet, as an example, one career test measures the candidate’s personality related to extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving. All of these indicators are useful as input for a person to generalize about their personality, but they completely ignore desire, which many career experts feel trumps all else. Bruce Springsteen says that he was advised by his parents and everyone else (older than him presumably) to go to college and be practical, yet he followed his dream and has the gratitude of my generation for his decision. There are countless well-known tales of famous people, entertainers and business moguls, who suffered through years of failure before they succeeded, using their undying motivation to ultimately reach their goal.
Nonetheless, because I know it is difficult for people that are looking for work without a solid objective(s) to move forward, even with all of the pitfalls, I do think there is some value in taking a test or two and looking at the results, as long as they are reviewed with the proper perspective. So, without further ado, here is a link to some of the popular and free career tests: