Assess Who You Are


Understanding yourself is the first step in identifying a good fit for satisfying career. Often people want to skip the important first step, Assessment, and jump right into exploring options and launching a job search plan. But before you jump forward, it is important for you to step backward in order to identify what's most important in your career and life so that you can make informed and meaningful decisions. We know that people who find satisfying careers are those whose strengths, interests, values and goals are in alignment. Often they lead healthier and more fulfilling lives and can achieve future successes.

To help you learn more about yourself, our recommendation is to start by identifying your values, interests, key relationships, personality traits, and personal and professional goals. (Sometimes in the CEC you will hear us talk about your "VIPS": Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills.) You will use this knowledge to explore the skills and roles that will make a good "fit" for you.

Self-Assessment Exercises

The following assessment exercises and instruments will help you uncover important themes about yourself in order to identify careers and industries to explore. Your goal will be to seek a position that uses your greatest strengths and provides you with professional growth and opportunity. In many cases you will be working with a career coach for the administration and review of these exercises, though they can also be undertaken independently. Each self-assessment exercise is briefly explained, and a link provided to the relevant exercise. Note that all the documents are in MS Word format so they can be written to and saved by the user:


An ability is something you do well such as a competence, talent or capacity. Not every ability is supported by an interest. You may be good at data collecting, but hate number crunching. Access the Self-Assessment: Abilities here.


An interest is something that motivates and energizes you. Not every interest is supported by a talent or ability. You may wish you could wind-surf without having the ability to do so. Access the Self-Assessment: Interests here.


Accomplishments are activities that give you pleasure, fulfillment and feelings of pride and success. They represent you at your best. By taking a close look at your accomplishments, you form a better idea of the kinds of things you may want to do in the future. Knowing what you do well and feel pride in will help you to build confidence, seek positions that fit you best, and communicate effectively in networking meetings and interviews. Access the Self-Assessment: Key Accomplishments here.

Personal Relationships

Think about the importance of your personal relationships which may include family, friends, and other people who care about you and support your personal growth and development. Who are the people that you admire and why? What are their special interests and attitudes that have had a positive effect on your life? Access the Self-Assessment: Personal Relationships here.


Clarifying your most important values is critical for your personal and professional fulfillment. When your values are in synch with your work and life you feel most satisfied and happy. Access the Self-Assessment: Work Values here.

Ideal Position

Finally, it is helpful to picture your ideal work situation. You will perform better and be happier if you are in the type of work environment that suits you best, working with the kinds of people you get along with, and doing activities that play to your strengths. Access the Self-Assessment: Your Ideal Position here.

Skill and Personality Assessment Instruments

Plan to set up an appointment with a CEC career coach who can provide a professional interpretation of the following instruments and its impact on career choice and decision-making. Contact the CEC about login information for any of these instruments and to interpret the results with a coach:

Do What You Are

Do What You Are is a proven online personality type assessment. The assessment generates an individualized report that provides you with an explanation of personality type, your natural strengths and blind spots, college satisfiers, career satisfiers, preferred learning style, communication preferences, interpersonal negotiating style, and potential careers and majors. This assessment takes 15 minutes to complete and your report is provided instantly after completion.

To create your account: Visit this page and click Log in at the top right of the screen. To register as a new user, enter the Access Key: 298C2XW and click submit. Then enter the registration information and click Save. Make a note of your username and password for future access to your DWYA portfolio.

For additional information check out this Quick Start Guide

Myers Briggs Type Indicator — Personality Assessment

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-assessment tool that can help you focus your career exploration. The MBTI is primarily concerned with highlighting your particular personality traits and suggests work environments, careers, and academic fields which may be a good fit for you. It examines your personality preferences and answers the following:

  • What energizes you?
  • How do you like to take in information?
  • How do you make decisions?
  • How do you organize yourself?

Contact the CEC for more information on how to take the MBTI assessment.

Gallup's StrengthsFinder Assessment

The Clifton StrengthsFinder™ is a web-based assessment that provides you with your Top 5 Talent Themes as a starting point of self-discovery. The goal is to uncover your unique strengths in order to help you do what you do best in whatever career you choose. The themes focus on how you build relationships, accomplish your goals and complete your tasks. After taking the assessment, you will receive a customized report that lists your top five talent themes, along with action items for development and suggestions about how you can use your talents to achieve academic, career and personal success. Cost: $9.99. Click here to order.

An Ongoing Process

Assessment is not just a one-time event but an ongoing process to revisit at turning points in your work and life. A thorough understanding of self is the necessary foundation for all good career decisions, both as you finish graduate school and as you pursue your career. As the first step in the CEC's 5 step career development model, we recommend, and expect, that individuals will continue to assess themselves over time as part of a healthy and normal career development process.