University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources


By Jessica Spelbrink

Do you want a deeper understanding of yourself and how you interact with others? What about your work interests – do you know what work you are most comfortable performing? These questions and more can be answered through self-assessment inventories, career workshops, and classes and/or self-help books. Recognize your strengths and talents as valuable sources for your great achievements.

"I received an enormous amount of positive feedback from those I interviewed." Nancy Lundberg of the Carlson School of Management had many great things to say about her experience with self-assessments. Having her results interpreted with a trained professional in the Employee Career Enrichment Program (ECEP) was very useful. This allowed her to identify some areas to develop further, and, with the help of her supervisor, she created an individual development plan to explore opportunities in her department.

How to get started

The following suggestions are several ways to assess yourself.

Self - Assessment Inventories

These inventories can be a helpful way to assess yourself and get feedback. They contain multiple choice questions and are often completed online. The results should be interpreted by a trained professional either through one-on-one counseling or in one of the offered workshops. Here are some suggestions:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)® Step l ($20)
This assessment will measure how you get your energy ( Extrovert vs. Introvert), perceive information ( Sensing vs. Intuition), make decisions ( Thinking vs. Feeling) and demonstrate your lifestyle ( Judging vs. Perceiving). The results from this assessment create 16 possible personality types. Understanding your personality type will help you promote growth and development in your work life and personal life.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)® Step ll ($25)
If you've already taken the MBTI® Step l, this self-assessment goes into more depth on your personal style. Five subscales for each of the regular MBTI dimensions provide a fuller view of your style.

Strong Interest Inventory (SII)($15)
This assessment will help guide you to achieve satisfaction in your work and leisure. The newly revised Strong includes: a new focus on successful teamwork in business and technology careers, a more precise answer format to help clients better identify their interests, and new Basic Interest and Occupational Scales. For over 75 years, the Strong Interest Inventory has guided thousands in their search for a worthwhile and rewarding career!

Card Sorts (Values and Skills)

The Values Card Sort will allow you to see what your top work values are. The Skills Card Sort shows what skills you are good at and what skills you may need to develop if they are to play an important role in your career. Both card sorts are free.

Career Workshops

Career workshops and classes offer guidance and structure in exploring your values, skills, and personality. Workshops range from specific topics such as "Creating Professional Portfolios" to more general topics like "Midlife Career Development."

The Employee Career Enrichment Program (ECEP) offers a wide variety of topics for you to explore.

Self-Help Books

Self-help books are great because you are able to go at your own pace. If you feel your interests have changed, you can look back at previous sections. One thing to keep in mind is that motivation is a must when using these types of books. Otherwise, it is easy to set them aside and let the dust settle on them. Some suggestions:

  • Richard Nelson Bolles' book, What Color is your Parachute? , is an inspirational read and practical manual for job-hunters and career changers.
  • Gary Grappo's Career ReExplosion is written for people who are currently employed but are not happy or satisfied with their current situations.
  • Do What You Are; Discover the Perfect Career for You through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron Tieger is one of the most popular career books in the world.
  • Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life's Calling , by Richard Leider is another great read on discovering what career is right for you!

To succeed in your career, you must first know yourself

Carol Barnhart from the Veterinary Medical Center had many great things to say about her experience with self-assessments. Carol has taken several of them over the years and thinks they are a great way to better understand herself and her preferences. They have guided her on what types of jobs she's interested and do well in.

Self-assessment will help you find true direction in your career and personal life. It is important to know yourself and your skills so you can use these great sources to achieve success. Whether you choose to attend a workshop or to take an assessment, you will learn something new about your personal skills, strengths, or preferences.