How Career Assessments Can Help Your Growth

By Amanda N. Wegner

In today’s workplace, continuous growth and self-improvement are essential for accomplishing your career goals. One way to support your achievement is by taking a professional growth assessment.

“Assessments can help people understand their personality, communication and conflict styles, learn about their work and personal preferences, and understand how they approach various situations,” says Kimberly Jarvis, Ed.D, CEO and founder, All Career Matters, Inc. “They’re integral to career and leadership development, in my opinion, and can be paired with coaching to fully leverage insights and how to gain the most out of them.”

Here are some options to consider.

CLIFTON STRENGTHS

CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) identifies your natural talents by measuring 34 distinct strengths. Through this assessment, you gain insight into your dominant strengths, which can help you make informed career decisions.

“Research done by Gallup shows employees are more engaged in their work if they can use their strengths,” says Melanie Schneider, a Madison-based Gallup-certified Strengths coach. “Knowing your strengths and being able to nurture them, having a strong understanding of them and how they make you successful, is valuable for individuals.”

CliftonStrengths offers several assessments. Available online, the Top 5 CliftonStrengths option is $20 and provides a report about your top 5 strengths. The more robust CliftonStrengths 34 report is $60, and rank orders all of your strengths in a report.

MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment tool that measures your preferences across four dimensions, resulting in one of 16 personality types. While not explicitly designed for professional growth, understanding your personality type can help you make career choices, communicate more effectively and work better in a team.

You can work with a certified practitioner to take the MBTI assessment; fees vary. The Myers-Briggs Company also offers an online version with a personalized consultation ($175) and a version without ($50).

DISC ASSESSMENT

The DiSC assessment focuses on behavioral traits and measures them along four dimensions: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. It helps individuals better understand their communication and working styles.

“It gives a snapshot of how you show up in the world,” says Chariti Gent, an Everything DiSC expert and director of professional coaching education for UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies. “It also gives a shared language of who we are and how to connect with [others], which is invaluable for teams and partnerships.”

DiSC assessments are available through certified practitioners. Online platforms offer free or low-cost versions for individual use, but Gent cautions that they are not statistically reliable or valid.

OTHER OPTIONS

Jarvis also regularly uses the Center for Creative Leadership’s 360-Degree Benchmarks for Managers Assessment, which assesses how a person leads themselves, their team and their organization. She also uses the TKI Conflict Assessment, which identifies one’s conflict styles and how to navigate conflict situations effectively. Both assessments are completed with a practitioner such as Jarvis.

GETTING VALUE

Professional growth assessments can offer valuable insights into your personal and professional persona. They can also empower you to unlock your potential, make informed career decisions and excel in your work.

Importantly, these assessments aren’t tests or seeking specific answers.

“These are neither good or bad, right or wrong,” says Gent.

“They help us understand ourselves and others, communicate and have more effective working relationships.”

She adds that each assessment is only as good as the data you provide.

“If you lie to the assessment,” says Gent, “it’s not going to be true.”

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