Should You Make A Career Decision Based Upon A Career Quiz?
By Brian Fong
Q. I'm about to graduate High School and I don't know what I want to be "when I grow up". Do you think that a career quiz might help me decide?
A. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! But maybe not for the reasons that you think. You see, as the great Quizmaster, I've found one thing to be true: A career quiz, or any quiz for that matter, is always biased towards the thoughts and belief's of the person who wrote it.
Usually a career quiz is written for entertainment purposes only. Now, if you are calling it a career quiz, but you really mean some sort of standardized occupational guidance test like professional career counsellors and the military use, then those are typically valid assessments of your career capabilities.
However, since you are asking the question here, and I am definitely not a career counsellor, then I'm going to assume that you are talking about your run-of-the-mill career quiz like the type that you find in typical magazines and on a variety of general audience web sites.
So, the reason that I said "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes" is because anything that gets someone thinking about career options is a good thing. A well-written career quiz has the effect of causing you to brainstorm over your career options. What you want to be "when you grow up" may be a moving target for you. Most people evolve as they mature and their goals change. What sounds like a good idea now may be far away from what you will eventually become. However, as I said, a career quiz gets you thinking and that's a start!
When looking for a career quiz take a good look at the type of questions that are being asked. Remember what I said about the author's bias earlier? You want to find a career quiz that asks "horizontal" questions rather than "vertical" ones. For example, a horizontal question might be: "Do you enjoy working against deadlines?", while I vertical question might be "do you prefer the precision of hand tools versus the speed of power tools?".
Horizontal career quiz questions are designed to explore general career likes and dislikes while "vertical" questions tends to try and shoehorn you into a particular career path. Now don't get me wrong, there is a place for a vertical career quiz. For example, if you are thinking about a career in woodworking, and you are trying to decide if you want to be a cabinet maker or a house framer, a vertical career quiz is exactly what you need.
The important thing to remember is to never make a career decision based solely upon the results of some career quiz that you happen to come across. If the quiz gets you to thinking that you might enjoy some particular career, then research that option more fully. A career quiz is simply another tool to help you navigate the pathways of life. Good luck!
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