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February 21, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Job seeker self assessment: Don’t skip this critical step when job hunting

Have you decided it’s time to look for a new job? Whether you seek growth opportunity, a higher salary or simply want a change that keeps you motivated, there’s an important step to take before you start sending out resumes: self assessment.

A job seeker self assessment can help you determine what you really want out of a new job, and sometimes more importantly, what you really don’t want. It’s a great first step to point your job search in the right direction because it will help you focus on positions that really suit your unique skills, passions and personality.

While job assessment is a valuable tool for young adults starting their careers, it’s equally important for seasoned workers. In fact, it might be even more important because, after years of employment, it’s easy to pigeonhole yourself into certain roles. Job assessment can serve as a wake-up call to what really drives you and where you should focus your job searching efforts.

Consider these five key areas when conducting your own job seeker self assessment:

Current job: A great first step is to determine what you like and dislike about your current job. The answers can be invaluable when evaluating new jobs. What do you love about your job? What frustrates you? What would you do different if you ran the company?

Personality: Your personality traits can help direct you toward a job that is rewarding both professionally and personally. You want a job that lets you be yourself, after all. Are you an extrovert? Do you like working at a desk? Do you have an interest in the arts, sports or education? These answers can help steer you toward your ideal job.

Experience: What is your experience and what skills do you have that would be of value to future employees? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Learn what skills you can highlight on your resume and at interviews. If you want to explore a new career field in which your skills are limited, look into additional training and education.

Location: Do you want to stay at your current location? What is the longest commute time you’re willing to have? If you are willing to move, how far away would you go? If your dream job was located on the other side of the country and required high levels of travel, is that something you’re willing to do?

Culture: What type of work environment do you thrive in? What workplace culture most fits your personality? Do you prefer a formal or a casual business atmosphere? Do you like to work in a big or small company? How do you prefer to be managed? A job is much more than your daily responsibilities – you spend 40-plus hours there a week so be sure the environment and people make you happy.

The answers to these questions can really help direct you toward a new job that you not only like, but one that you get excited to go to each and every day.

What other self assessment questions should job seekers ask themselves? Please share your answers with us in the “Comments” section.