Career Exploration

Career Exploration is simply learning about various occupations and their "fit" with your unique career preferences, e.g. the skills, interests and values you want satisfied by your career. Ideally, you engage in career exploration during or after identifying your career preferences through self-assessment.  Our district is in the process of starting a new program called Xello which will be implemented this year.

In the meantime, below are some great websites and articles that will help you explore career opportunities. Information taken from

Free Career Aptitude Tests

The following tests are available for free online and can be a good start to identifying your next career.

123 Career TestThis aptitude test can help you gain insight into the careers that best fit your personality. It will help you learn what kind of work environments and occupations suit you best.

Human MetricsUsing both Jung’s Typology and Myers-Briggs insights (see below), Human Metrics takes you through 64 questions to rate you on both scales. The results explain to you how each piece relates to your personality type.

O*NET Interests ProfilerMy Next Move’s O*NET Interest Profiler is administered by the United States Department of Labor. Users take a 60-question interest inventory that yields a profile of interest tendencies including six areas: Realistic, Investigative, Social, Enterprising, Conventional, and Artistic.

You will see a list of careers related to each cluster, and can then sort those careers into five job zones representing different levels of preparation ranging from little job preparation to extensive preparation. The site also has extensive career information related to a variety of careers.

PathSourceThis is a free career exploration solution that helps students and job seekers make better career choices with its free mobile app. Users can produce lists of careers based on personality characteristics and an interest profile. Lifestyle issues and income expectations are factored into the analysis. An extensive collection of 2600 informational interviews on video provides an insider's view from workers in a broad range of professions.

A database of careers related to various academic majors helps students to explore the implications of their academic choices. Users also can search for colleges based on academic offerings, financial aid, average test scores, and other admissions data.

Skills MatcherThe Department of Labor has developed this resource to enable users to assess the skills they want to incorporate into their careers. You will rate basic skills like reading, writing, speaking, scientific reasoning, and critical thinking, as well as more specialized social, technical, analytical, computer, problem-solving, and resource management skills.

SokanuSokanu is a free platform for users to assess their interests, personality types, abilities, career values, and preferred work and social environments in order to find matches that will lead to satisfying careers. Sokanu suggests careers after users respond to a series of questions. There's detailed information available on each of the suggested career options. In addition, users can browse occupations by clusters like health and nutrition, law, arts and entertainment, animals, food and drink, politics and law, sports, travel, music, engineering, and science.

More Career Assessments and Personality Tests

While some career aptitude tests are free, others charge for results. Be sure to check before you start the test to see whether you are interested in paying for the advice.

Self-Directed Search (SDS): The Self-Directed Search (SDS) is a standard testing option which revolves around categorizing careers in six areas: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. Answer questions about your goals, dreams, activities, and interests, and you'll get a list of the three types of careers that are best matched to you, plus careers that are suited to people with a mix of those characteristics. Keep in mind that you are required to pay a fee for this test.

Career KeyAnother career aptitude test that costs a fee is Career Key. This is an online career assessment tool that determines how similar you are to six different personality types. The results are linked to occupational choices.

Personality Tests

Online personality tests measure your intelligence or aptitude, inventory your skills, and assess your ability to succeed in a career. Some are as simple as selecting colors you like and don't like. With others, you'll need to answer a number of specific questions.

Personality tests can be useful for showing you what kind of career you might want. They also can show you what skills make you a strong candidate for a job.

Once you know your skills, you can highlight them on your resume and cover letters.

Some tests are free, while others cost money. Be sure to research the cost of a test before doing it. Some can be done online, while others require a career counselor to interpret them.

For example, the Typology Central Jung Personality Test is a free personality test that combines two systems for evaluating personality type—Jungian Cognitive Functions and Personality Dichotomies. After you take the test, you'll get a report that outlines your temperament.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most well-known, authoritative personality test available in the psychology and human resources community. It assesses your personality type and explores career options. If you're a college graduate, check to see if your career office offers no-cost testing for alumni. Otherwise, review these options for taking the assessment either online or in-person.

This test categorizes people into 1 of 16 personality types. With a series of questions, the test determines whether you gravitate toward extroversion or introversion, sense or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving.

Here's a quick guide to understanding the four categories within the Myers-Briggs test:

  • Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I): This is about how you get your energy. Do you turn inward or outward for sources of energy?
  • Sense (S) or Intuition (N): Which one you gravitate toward reveals how you perceive and absorb information. People who get an S result are more likely to use past experience and common sense to evaluate situations, while the intuition-focused readily see the big picture and patterns.
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): With this personality trait, your decision-making style is revealed. Thinkers are guided by logic and common sense, while feelers may rely on values feelings. For feeling types, the decision-making process may be guided by how a decision would affect others.
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): This last piece of the personality type reveals lifestyle preferences, or how you like to live your life. Judging types are organized and comfortable working within rules and framework. You can count on someone of this type having a five-year plan. Perceiving types are more likely to prefer a flexible environment, adapting plans as needed. 

Test questions reveal whether you are an ISTP (that's Introversion, Sense, Thinking, Perceiving) an ENFJ (that's Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging), or one of the 14 other possibilities. 

Talent Assessment Tests

Talent assessments are used to help an employer identify candidates who will be a good fit for jobs. Talent assessments help predict a new hire’s performance and retention. These tests assess your personality, work style, knowledge, and/or skills.

These assessments often are given to job candidates either online or in the company store or office. Large companies like WalmartBurger King, PetSmart, and others commonly use talent assessment tests.

Pre-Employment Tests

Talent assessments are only one of many different kinds of pre-employment tests that employers might give job candidates. Employers often use tests as part of a larger selection procedure to screen applicants for hire. Other types of tests that employers might give candidates include personality tests, cognitive tests, emotional intelligence tests, physical examsdrug testscredit checks, and background checks.

There also are tests for specific industries. For example, restaurants often test job candidates to see what they know about the industry. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most common personality test given by employers to job candidates.

Pre-employment tests are legal as long as employers do not use the test results to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age. One exception is a lie detector test, which is unreliable and illegal in most employment situations.