The most common new career test assesses your career interests in terms of career matches or career cluster matches. Career matches provide a list of the top 10 occupations matching your career interests. A list of related occupations to your top 10 is included in Expanded or Interpretive Reports. Career cluster matches provide matches to occupational categories. A long list of job or career possibilities are supplied within each occupational category from which you choose the most suitable career options.
The oldest such test is based on the work of John Holland who in the 1950’s discovered the correlation patterns between career interests and work environments. He developed the Self-Directed Search which is still in use today. It is still a very basic test with a simple report. It is most suitable for those with limited budgets, middle and high-schoolers, and adults who are seeking career cluster lists for their career type rather than career matches to their specific career interests.
The Strong® test is by the most popular career interest available today. Like the SDS career test, it is based on John Holland’s research. Unlike the SDS, the Strong® test has undergone rigorous validity and reliability testing which makes it a much more accurate career interest test. It is suitable for persons of all ages starting at age 14. Specific reports can be purchased for different career purposes – high school, college, adult/general – and at varying degrees of detail – charts only, interpretive, combined with Skills Confidence® or Myers Briggs® assessments.
The Strong® test presents the following information on each of each reports: (1) general
occupational theme scores, once called your Holland codes, typically includes brief lists of career values, leisure activities, work interests, subject interests for each theme. (2) basic interest scales which lists in rank order your favorite working activities or job tasks (3) occupation scales which lists occupations most closely aligned with your interests by matching your overall profile scores with normative scores of happy workers in each occupation. This is a more exacting way of determining the occupations you would most enjoy/like. (4) in the personal style section, scores are provided for work style, risk taking level, general learning style, leadership style, and team orientation.
In the interpretative or expanded reports, you can gain the following additional information: a) explanation of each of your scores, b) college majors for your top themes, c) work and volunteer activities, internships, first jobs, college courses preparing to perform your top working scales interests (basic interest scales), d) educational training, specific courses, related careers for your top 10 occupations, e) career motivator – that which drives you to work or perform, f) career arenas or industries for your theme, g) explanation of how you’d like to work based on each of your 5 personal scale scores, and h) additional resources and next steps to achieve your career goal.
When you combine a career interest test with another type of career test, such as skills or personality, you gain yet even more information. You receive not just the individual results of each but also the synthesized results of both. For example, with a perceived skills test, you obtain a ranking of your top theme codes based on both your perceived skills and your career interest in addition to your skills scores and interest scores. The Strong Interest Inventory® Test enables you to complete two career tests (skills and interests) to accomplish these results. The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS) is a single testing instrument that measures parallel career interests and skills should you prefer this tool.
You can also combine a career interest test with a personality test. The Strong® test offers significantly more information when it is combined with the Myers Briggs® personality test than it can with a perceived skills test. For information about this test combination, click here.
COPS Interest Inventory is another respected career interest test. It provides career
activity interest scores in relation to 14 career clusters. Each cluster provides list of possible occupations corresponds to that cluster, along with high school and college curriculum and skill or task descriptions. In addition, their online career test results provides direct web links to current sources of occupational information. This career interest test is recommended for your middle and high school age students, front-line and trades workers, and adults seeking numerous occupational options from which to select a career. COPS also offers companion ability and values tests which, when taken together, provides a ranking of your top career clusters based on three of the four factors impacting career decisions. Its limitation is that is does not match its results to specific careers which many individuals desire from a career test.
Each career interest test provided different career or occupational information. The Strong® Test matches your career interests with specific stereotypical occupations. The COPS and Self-Directed Search provide occupational lists from which to select a career. Both The Strong® Test and the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey offer combinations of perceived skills and career interest results. Only the Strong® Test combines with a respected personality test such as the Myers Briggs® test.
It is strongly recommend that you review samples provided through the links to each test and determine the degree to which you want to invest in your future before selecting a career interest test for yourself. (Access* to samples is found through link attached to each career value test title.)
Other Articles to Read:
- New Career Factors to Consider: Factors to Consider when Choosing a New Career
- Career Ability Tests for New Career: The best Ability Tests and Aptitude Test when you want a to find a New Career
- Career Values Tests for New Career: The best Work Values Tests for picking a New Career
- Career Personality Tests for New Careers: The best Personality Tests when seeking your New Career