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Career development questionnaires can be used by anyone seeking to improve themselves: students, unemployed job seekers, employees seeking to advance their careers, people returning to the workforce, or employees pondering a career change. For example, if you’re at a loss for what to do next to improve your chances at getting a higher-paying job that's best suited for your talents, consider completing a career development questionnaire. Surveys, paper-based or online, typically pose questions or statements and allow you to answer or rate them. These tools typically provide useful insight that can guide and focus your career development activities.
Online career development questionnaires used at academic institutions, such as high schools and colleges, prepare students for future jobs. These tools typically calculate a score that can help them make a decision about what to pursue in a given field, based on their skill level, knowledge, interests or personal preferences. Additionally, career counselors typically help students interpret paper-based survey results. Human resource departments, job training businesses, unemployment offices and personal coaches also use career development questionnaires to help clients recognize their strengths and weaknesses and direct career planning activities using free tips, tools and templates. For example, the U.S. National Career Development Association provides access to many free tools and resources.
Questionnaires vary in length and purpose. For example, the ISEEK skills assessment enables you to rate yourself on 35 skills and displays a list of occupations that represent a match for skills you rate as important. This questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete. Other questionnaires, particularly those developed internally by small businesses to address unique needs, take much longer for candidates to complete. Some even allow you to invite your superiors, subordinates and peers to rate your performance so you get a broad perspective of opinions to guide your career planning.
How to Use Results
Career development questionnaires help you learn about yourself. As you explore different careers, job descriptions and career paths, you want to know whether you have the right skills, personality traits and experience to do well in a role. Skills and interest assessments shouldn’t be used in isolation, however. If you intend to remain with your current employer, consider contacting a trusted manager or the HR department to identify the next steps to take, such as asking for a stretch assignment, requesting a mentor or transferring into a different job.
Most companies require employees to take responsibility for their own career development and learning. For example, the Center for Creative Leadership observes that successful business people learn, grow and develop primarily through on-the-job experiences. Additionally, relationships, such as mentoring and coaching, make up about 20 percent of the learning time. Formal coursework and training amount to just 10 percent. Completing a career development questionnaire can help you focus your time and energy in the right endeavors.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.
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