No two job seekers are alike
Some may have never worked before while others may have a job and are looking to make a career change. Still others may need training or education before they are ready to start their job search. For other job seekers, developing a better sense of their own interests and skills may be an essential part of the career planning process.
While a person-centered career planning process is one approach, some job seekers find that that have additional questions about their skills and interests that can better be assessed through a more formal vocational evaluation or assessment.
Before participating in any formal evaluation or assessment consider meeting with your vocational rehabilitation counselor or employment specialist to clarify the questions you have and what you would like to learn as part of the evaluation process. It might help narrowing your interests, assessing your skills or even measuring your knowledge in a particular subject. This will help you and your service provider select the type of evaluation best suited to your needs.
There are four different kinds of vocational evaluations and assessments.
- Interest inventories are tests that identify your interests, especially work-related. There are no right or wrong answers, and no pass or fail grades.
- Achievement tests measure how well you know a particular subject, such as reading or math. This is different from an intelligence test, which measures potential ability or learning capacity.
- Skills assessments are tests that measure how well you can perform a particular job such as typing, assembling things or sorting items.
- Situational assessments gauge how well you perform specific tasks in a particular type of work environment.
It’s important that the evaluation not be used to decide if you can work, but rather what line of work you may want to pursue, and what type of preparation might help you be successful.
Where to get a vocational evaluation or vocational assessment
Several places in Massachusetts offer vocational evaluations and assessments. If you are a young adult, evaluations and arrangement should be arranged through your school. If you are no longer in school, there are different places you can look for help:
- One-Stop Career Centers are a source for some interest inventories and may be able to offer other referrals.
- State disability agencies such as the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB).
- Other state disability agencies also may serve as a resource for gathering information about vocational evaluation.
There are also assessment tools that you can pursue on your own. For example, many books, software programs and websites offer self-assessment tools.
O*Net IP is an interest profiler that will help you discover the types of work activities and occupations you would like. O*Net WIL is a tool that allows you to pinpoint what is important to you in a job. Career One Stop Skills will bring you to tools where you can create a list of your skills and match them to job types that need those skills.