Strong Interest Inventory Assessment: Does it Really Help?

By: Paying

Like many others, I’ve always had in mind what I wanted to be and once I hit college I became very confused on what would really be best for me. Yes, everyone is super willing to give advice and try to lead you in the ‘right’ direction. However, the advice can be so broad that it doesn’t change anything: “Do what you love,” and even, “Maybe you should go talk to someone in the field you’re interested in.” Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree with this advice but it wasn’t until my personal experience in the Career & Internship Services Office that I truly started to think about my career path.

Weather vane; Do career assessments really help?

In my senior year of high school, I was set on the idea of being an English teacher abroad. However, I felt as if I was not social or outgoing enough which led me to go into college undeclared. After my first year here at UMD, I declared an English major because I loved to help my friends edit their papers and thought to myself, “If I love editing so much, why don’t I just make it a career?” So that’s what I picked. I’m glad I’ll be doing something I like but, I still wasn’t 100% confident.

Fast forward to now, my junior year of college when I decided to take the Strong Interest Inventory Assessment. It looked like every other assessment I’ve taken before and I honestly did not expect much out of it. I went into the appointment with a career counselor ready to hear what I usually hear, and I got so much more out that one-hour appointment than I did in most of my life.

During my appointment, the career counselor I was with asked me, “So tell me, why did you choose this editing path?” After I explained my story of how it felt nice to help edit my friend’s papers, she questioned, “Do you enjoy editing or do you enjoy helping your friends?” That simple question left me speechless and I did not know how to react. This whole time I thought I enjoyed editing. In reality, after I dug deeper into it, maybe it was the satisfying feeling of helping others instead.

This appointment has sparked something in me I can’t quite explain. I do enjoy editing and I’m not going to stop pursuing it. At the same time, I feel like there’s more I can do while being in an editing career. I plan on reaching out to different editors to see where they got their start and what an average day looks like. I’ll also look for other careers that an English major will be useful in such as Teaching English as a Second Language abroad. Strong Interest Inventory assessment showed me I enjoy helping others, and it also showed me I’ve changed since high school. Nothing is concrete or certain and it’s okay to change things up.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Jordan Ladikos

Putting the Assessments All Together

By: Logan

The career assessments offered at the Career and Internship Services Office are very beneficial in many ways. These assessments can help you target your strengths, where your interests lie, or find out more about your personality. Some people just take one or two of these assessments and learn from the individual results, but by taking all three and comparing results you can learn a lot more about yourself. You can observe where similarities may lie, or where there may be some differences. In my experience, comparing all three assessments helped me realize more about myself, and it helped me realize how I can incorporate these results into my everyday life.

My favorite assessment by far was StrengthsQuest. I really enjoyed seeing where my strengths lie and which strengths were the most prominent in my life. My top five strengths are consistency, harmony, positivity, includer, and futuristic. I found it helpful to learn this information because I can see where I excel, and I can also see where I may need improvement. After receiving my results, it made me more aware of these strengths I possess, and I felt more inclined to use them in my professional and everyday life. An example would be the fact that I have consistency as a top strength. I use this in my job by providing the same customer service experience to everyone who walks in the door. I treat everyone the same and do not give special treatment to some. I think consistency is a very important skill in my line of work. So just realizing what your skills are can benefit you in many different ways.

It is important to look at similarities between the different assessment results. By doing this you will make sure you get the most out of the assessments. I began to look more into my results to see if there were any similarities I could find. One theme I found throughout all of the assessments was communication and being social. On the Myers-Briggs I showed preference as an extrovert, and on my Strong Interest Inventory my highest theme was Social. I thought this was very accurate and I was not surprised this theme came up in each assessment. I like to work with people and I like to communicate with others, so I think it is accurate to have social themes on each of my assessments.

Another theme I noticed multiple times was being futuristic. As I said before, Futuristic is one of my top strengths on StrengthsQuest, but I saw evidence of this in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as well. I showed a preference for Intution, which means I will probably prefer an occupation that permits me to focus on the future, envisioning the possibilities of a person or a situation. I find this to be true. I consider myself a rather futuristic person. I am constantly thinking about the future and how my actions now may affect me down the road, so I was not surprised when I saw futuristic as a common theme on these assessments.

Another similarity I noticed in my results was feeling and people skills. The Myers-Briggs told me I was more on the feeling side, which means I would prefer an occupation where I would focus on people and process issues rather than the technical problems. It also means I would try to understand the particular needs or contributions of the individuals with those I work with. I think this relates to my results from the Strong Interest Inventory where Social was my top theme. This shows I prefer to work with people and be social with them, as opposed to working alone and focusing on technical details.

I think I learned a lot more from comparing my results from all three assessments. If I had not compared my results I may not have believed them as much, but after I saw physical evidence of these skills in multiple assessments, it made me very confident in the assessments’ accuracy at describing me. I believe everyone should review their results from all three of the assessments we offer, because you can learn a lot more about yourself than you would if you only looked at your results individually.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Services for Veterans

By: Taylor

The Career & Internship Services office is so proud of the troops who serve our country. More specifically, we are thankful for our students, staff, and faculty who are veterans or currently serving in the armed forces. Today in our blog post, we will emphasize some of the services we offer and talk about other resources available to these outstanding citizens.

As a veteran student, it may be hard to pinpoint where your interests lie as far as majors or careers.  In our office, we conduct student assessments such as the CliftonStrengths for Students and Strong Interest Inventory. These assessments will help you realize more about yourself, what type of careers may suit you, and your personality. After, you will meet with a career counselor to go over the results. Furthermore, if there is a subject or career you are already interested in, we have an abundance of reading materials that pertain to career environments, job outlook, salaries, and much more.

When receiving a resume, employers want a snapshot view of what your experiences have been and what you have to offer them. As a veteran, your experiences and skill sets are vast and it is important to market yourself in such a way. We can help you translate the skills you’ve obtained while in the military and put them onto paper. Make sure to highlight the great things you have learned such as teamwork, leadership, discipline, communication, dedication, and more!

Networking as a veteran can take you far. You have one of the largest networks out there and it’s all about who you know! Career & Internship Services can connect you with employers and also help prepare you for job fairs and other networking events. From deciding what to wear to knowing the proper dining etiquette, we will make sure you are ready for any type of event. There are also many organizations just for veterans that will aid in creating even more connections for you and your future career.

Stop on into Career & Internship Services (SCC 22 – just down the hall from the Veteran’s Center) and we will help you to develop your career goals and execute them.  And again, we are so grateful!

Of Possible Interest:

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Self-Assurance: Don’t Worry, I’ve Got My Back

By: Andrew [Achiever|Command|Focus|Strategic|Self-Assurance]

We have all had a person in our lives that we look to for advice and inspiration, but we are college students now. Does that mean our mentors have become obsolete? No. However, we can all take a look at ourselves and know that we are capable of being independent, self-reliable, and self-assured.

Self-Assurance is all about being confident in yourself and being confident about the daily decisions that you make. Further, decision-making does not intimidate someone who has this strength, even if the decision you come to is part of the minority. (Source)

List of strengths, Self-assurance in green

Surprisingly to myself, Self-Assurance is not even my top strength, it is my fifth. I have never been one that has been told to go do something and I have always been a self-motivated, independent person for a long time. My first “real” job was working at Taco Bell when I was 16. I had been 16 for a month and asked my parents if they could take me over to Taco Bell to apply for a job. By the end of May, I was working one day a week and one day every weekend. I felt that working was what I was supposed to do, no one told me to get a job, but I did not see the fun in sitting at home watching the summer pass by with minimal structure to it.

I really enjoyed this job, which reaffirms my Self-Assurance strength. My friends never made fun of me for the job I had, but they liked to poke fun at the fact that I was working fast food in a city where there were certainly more lucrative jobs to be found. Why work a higher paying job though? I lived with my parents, so no rent to be paid, no utilities, groceries were paid for, and so on and so forth. Clearly, money was never a factor in choosing this job, but working with great people and serving hundreds of people every day was a ton of fun. This entire point kind of comes back to the whole “do what you love and never work a day in your life” sayings. Never let others tell you what you like or why you should do something. You know you best, so choose for yourself.

Maybe you like to change what other people think, which is completely fine. Self-Assurance says that you can use your already solid beliefs to persuade and influence others, but do so with facts. We can all make stuff up off the top of our head, but persuasion is a strategic and calculated effort to tell others why you think you are right. If you are good at this, may I recommend being a salesperson to you?

Lastly, I will say that Self-Assurance is great for being a leader, but if you are reading this and are already self-assured, I probably did not just blow your mind with this statement. Self-Assurance is great for leaders because leaders have to make executive and final decisions, for better or for worse. Being self-assured allows one to get excited about their decision, but to also be able and ready to take any of the backlash of a bad decision.

If this did not sound like you, rest assured. There are 34 great strengths/talents in CliftonStrengths for Students, so come on down to our office at Career & Internship Services, SCC 22 (in the Wedge). We will get you all set-up to learn what your top five strengths are for only $15 (for current students & alumni), and you will get to meet with one of our counselors to go over your unique results.

Read about other 33 Strengths.

Check out Andrew’s other posts.

Find Your Passion, Find Your Career

By: Ashley

Are you undecided? Are you questioning if your major is really the right one for you? Maybe you’re wondering how to decide what the right path really is for you. The best advice I can give, and possibly the advice anyone would give you, is to figure out what you’re passionate about. I was reading an article on called The Four P’s of Career Satisfaction by Sarah Baicker and was like “you know, she’s right.” Baiker talks about some steps that can help you find a fulfilling career that you fit in and that you would be happy doing. These steps, the four P’s, are passion, place, people, and pay. By knowing what makes you feel good and gets you fired up, and knowing the people and places you feel most comfortable around as well as feeling like you are making a salary that can satisfy your lifestyle all make finding the right career path much clearer.

To achieve these steps there are several things UMD provides that can help you figure out all four of your own P’s. Here are a few things you can do to figure out what’s right for you:

These are just a few things that can help you find out where you feel like you belong, who you like being around, and mainly what kinds of things you enjoy doing. Trust me; you won’t regret using any of these services. What do you have to lose by using them? For learning about job shadowing and internships come down to our office in SCC 22 and ask questions, there will always be someone in the office that can help you. We also help with resumes and have drop-in hours in our office every Tuesday and Wednesday (2-4pm), feel free to pop in.

Overall I guess what I am trying to say is if you have doubts or you feel worried about where you’re headed, ask questions and take action. Find your passion; it’s not going to find you!

Read other posts by Ashley

Strong Interest Inventory in a Nutshell

By: Ashley

High school was ending; I had college tours and major decisions to make. I finally decided that UMD was the place for me, but choosing a college wasn’t the only decision I had to make, I needed a major. After talking with my family and my school counselor I finally chose to declare a major in Biology. I decided on biology because I knew that if I got my Bachelor’s degree in Biology I could do a lot of things with it, mainly I knew that with it I could help people. So the next step for me was to ask myself a few questions, and hopefully with the answers I could figure out what it was I wanted to do with my major.

The last two questions were pretty easy, I mean I know what I like, and I like people who are curious, independent and rational while still maintaining a sense of humor. I feel like the ideal environment for me would be one that is clean, organized, and quiet; a place where I could think and work independently while still contributing to an overall cause. Unlike the other two, the first question was much tougher. I had no idea what I could do with a BS in biology. But hey, I knew what I liked. Was this enough to figure out what I wanted to do in the future? Turns out, it was.

My journey to find out what I wanted to do started during Bulldog Welcome Week when I went to a presentation held by a student at Career & Internship Services with my rock group (of course this was before they hired me and I started working there). I heard they could help me with figuring out what I could do with my major, so I went and made an appointment to talk with a counselor. They were a big help, and the biggest help was an assessment I took once I started working in the office, the Strong Interest Inventory.

The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is an assessment that compares your interests to the interests of people happily employed in a wide variety of occupations and identifies job titles related to your interests. The SII uses John Holland’s, Holland Code, which breaks interests down into 6 themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. The SII gives you your code that consists of 3 of the themes, indicated by: R, I, A, S, E, and C, and this code can help find a career that clicks with you. Holland’s model also shows that themes closest to one another on the model have more in common than themes that are opposite on the model.

For example, my code is ICA, so I would have more interests in the realistic themes than those that are in the enterprising theme. Holland also suggested that people are attracted to occupational environments that meet their personal needs and give them satisfaction. Knowing what makes you comfortable is helpful in figuring out a career.

The most interesting thing about the SII was how accurately it described me. Several things I look for in a comfortable environment and in people that I feel comfortable around were identified in the assessment. One of the results on my top ten occupations I would be happy doing was a Medical Technologist; they collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. To some people, this job wouldn’t sound very fun. To me, it seemed perfect as I would work in a clean, organized environment, where I get to work independently as well as I get to help others while maintaining a sense of anonymity.

Basically, with a great job outlook and a decent median pay medical technology appealed to me right away and so far in my journey, it has been a steady goal of mine to be a med tech. My recommendation to all the students stressing and possibly freaking out is to stop into Career & Internship Services. It really is an office full of eye-openers that can help direct you towards a decision, and I strongly suggest taking the Strong Interest Inventory assessment, no pun intended, it will help you.

Information on the assessments Career & Internship Services offers.

Read Ashley’s other posts

Sources: Bolles, R.N. (2011) What Color is Your Parachute? (2011 Ed) and  Zunker, V.G. (2006) Career Counseling: A holistic approach (7th Ed)