How to Conduct a Personal Inventory: Do you ever wonder? What can I do? Which things am I good at? What skills do I bring to the workplace? If so, a personal inventory may be just the thing. It is composed of three steps: a Skills Assessment, Interest Assessment, and Job Market Assessment.
Personal Inventory – Step 1: Conducting the Skills Assessment to identify your abilities
A skills assessment is a good way to see what skills you have. You can also identify areas to improve. The assessment asks questions and your answers help you develop a skill profile of your capabilities. This can make it clear what you are good at and what skills you bring to the job. It can also help you identify areas you would like to strengthen in order to be even more competitive in the job market.
A skills assessment can provide you with confidence in your own abilities! It can empower you to ask for a promotion, look for a new job, or consider going out on your own. When you know your own strengths, you can be your own cheerleader as you navigate the career path that is right for you.
Where to Start – Skills Assessment
So where do you start? Here are some web links that can take you to free skill assessment tools. Take a few minutes to explore these tools and assess your job skills.
- Department of Labor Skill Assessment Tools
- Job Skills Transfer Assessment Tool (Job STAT)
- The Riley Guide of Self-Assessment Resources
How to Continue – Consider how to use your skills on the job
Once you know your skills, consider how they can be used on the job. What jobs would use your skills? What skills would you like to develop further in order to be more competitive in the current job market? Come up with a strategy for regular improvement of your skills. Working on one new skill at a time can expand your capabilities. Just think of all the new skills you could develop over a number of years!
Consider adding new skills
As you evaluate your skill set, keep in mind that there are certain skills that will be useful no matter what career you are in. Now may be a good time to tune-up some basic skills and enroll in an online course on Skills for Making Great Decisions, Interpersonal Communication, or Keys to Effective Communication.
You are now one-third of the way through your personal inventory. After completing your skills assessment, take the time to evaluate your interests, the job market, your life stage and purpose, and explore career opportunities that are a good match for you.
Personal Inventory – Step 2: Complete the Interest Assessment to figure out what you like to do
The second part of the personal inventory is an interest assessment. What is an interest assessment? It is way to find out what you are really interested in. After all, those who love what they do on the job, never feel like they are working! They may work, but the excitement and enthusiasm for what they do is so great it doesn’t feel like work. You can be one of the lucky ones and do what you love. This starts by figuring out what you like by taking an interest assessment.
What do you like to do? How do you spend your free time? What do you do when you don’t have to do something? The answers to these questions can help you identify your areas of interest. Even if you are good at something, you may not like doing it. The happiest people are those who do what they like on the job. Listen to Your Heart and Success Will Follow is an online course that helps you identify areas of interest and ways to move forward with those interests. Take the time to evaluate what you like and dislike. Below are several interest assessments that can help you identify your areas of interest.
- Interest Assessment
- O*Net Interest Profiler
- Interest Profiler
- Self-Assessment – Interest Checklist and Interest Inventory
Compare your interests and Skills
Once you have evaluated and identified your areas of interest, then take the time to compare your interests to your skill set. How do your skills match up with your interests? Do you have the skills to work in your interest area? If not, what skills do you need to develop? Make a plan to align your capabilities with your interests and you will find it easy to be working in your area of interest.
Look at pay scales for things you are interested in
When evaluating your interests, you may find that you have more than one area of interest. If this is the case, then consider other factors such as which of your interests would pay more money. You may decide to pursue the more lucrative interest as an easy way to meet your financial goals.
Whatever your area of interest, be sure to also consider other factors such as the job market, your life stage and purpose, career opportunities, and your skill sets. Your final career decision should be based on a solid understanding of each of these things. Great! Now you are on the home stretch of your personal inventory. Only one steps left.
Personal Inventory – Step 3: Complete the Job Market Assessment for the current marketplace
An important part of the personal inventory is the job market assessment. The job market assessment will help you evaluate the current job market, the number of jobs available, the type of pay in the marketplace, and how tough the competition is. If you are equally qualified in two areas, then you want to target the job market which is easier to enter. Knowing the job market can help you plan strategically to be prepared for those markets that hold the jobs of the future.
Assess the Job Market
How do you assess the job market? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook is a searchable handbook. You can search jobs by pay, educational requirements, and growth rate. Use the handbook to help you identify job areas with more jobs in the future. Find jobs that match your interests and skills and pay well. Consider areas where a little job training may help you be competitive in a field you would enjoy.
Look at career trends
Take a look at National Job Trends. Consider current job trends and how your skills, abilities, and interest can contribute in jobs that have an upward trend. Evaluate Employment Projections. This can help you identify those areas where there is likely to be the most job growth. Consider career trends for 2014.
Compare your skills and interests to trends
Once you have gathered information on career trends, take the time to compare your career skills and interests with the trends. Find a good match between your skills and the job market. What jobs catch your interest that would pay you the most? Do your skills match rising job market trends? How can you make your skills even more competitive in the marketplace? What training would help you improve your job skills? Which job trends interest you the most? Your analysis will help you find a good match between your abilities and available jobs. Often, a small boost in your skills can make all the difference in landing the job of your dreams.
You’ve now completed your personal inventory and can used this introspection to help you boost your career! Keep reading for more tools and tips.
Personal Inventory – Step 4: Evaluate your Life Stage, Purpose, and Lifestyle to be sure your job fits your life
Those who have a good life/work balance find that they are happier in life and on the job! This can require some evaluation of where you are in life, what you want out of life, and what kind of lifestyle you want. Here are some things to consider. If you find that your life stage, purpose or lifestyle don’t match your current job, take a look at The 8 Stages of Career Transformation. You have the power to transform your life and your career!
Stage of Life
Consider where you are in your career. Are you just starting out and want to select a career that is best for you? Are you mid-career wanting to make a change to better match your lifestyle? Have you been downsized out of a job and need to find a new job fast? Are you looking towards retirement and just want to hang on a few more years? Take a look at 5 Different Career Stages for an Employee. Does your career match the stage of life you are in? If not, you may want to consider a career change.
Your life stage will impact your choices, your job needs, and financial goals. Take a look at Planning for Your Financial Life Stages or Life Stages and Financial Planning to evaluate how your stage of life impacts your financial needs. Your financial needs will impact what you need from a job.
What is your life purpose? Which kinds of things bring meaning to your life? What activities are rewarding to you? Consider these questions and your answers. Take a look at How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes or Helping You Find Your Life Purpose. Consider what you like to do, what you enjoy, and what bring you joy! Your life purpose may be right there before you in the things you like to do best!
Relate your life purpose to the job market
Once you have determined your life purpose, consider how your current job relates to your purpose. Do you get excited and want to tell people about a new product? Then maybe you should be working in sales! Have you found in a new passion in helping the younger generation prepare for the future? Teaching may be a good job for you. Look for ways to align your life purpose with your work and you will find your work very fulfilling! Take a look at 6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Purpose or 10 Ways to Make your Work Your Life’s Purpose. You may enjoy reading some of these books on finding your purpose in life.
- With Purpose LP: Going from Success to Significance in Work and Life
- The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
- Seven Priorities That Make Life Work, Walking with a Purpose
- The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work
What kind of lifestyle do you enjoy? Do you like being in the outdoors? Then an outdoor career may suit you. Do you like having your evenings and weekends free? A Monday through Friday job may work best for you. Do you like having blocks of time to travel? Maybe shift work or longer days with days off in blocks of time are the answer.
Consider how your job schedule impacts your lifestyle. Does your schedule matches the lifestyle you want? You may decide to take a job with a more regular schedule to spend more time with family or friends. When your job matches your lifestyle then you will enjoy a good work/life balance. This can make your life more fulfilling and rewarding.