Exploring your career interests may be a useful starting place for considering your next career move. There are several techniques that career practitioners use to help individuals explore their interests. One commonly used technique is to complete a career interest test.
You may be a Year 12 student who is undecided about your career or course direction for next year, a past student who has taken a gap year and is now in the same situation, a school staff member at the end of a short-term contract, considering a career change or wanting to explore a new career direction after retiring from school. If this is you, exploring your career interests may be a useful starting place for considering your next career move. There are several techniques that career practitioners use to help individuals explore their interests. One commonly used technique is to complete a career interest test.
As noted on the Grow Careers website, if you take a test to help you identify your career interests and come up with matching career options, it is important that the test be reliable and valid. A reliable test means that unless you have changed, your score on the test will be the same each time you take the test, no matter when or where you take it. A valid test means that research evidence shows that the test measures what it claims to measure, i.e., a career interest test should measure career interests and not something else such as reading ability and it should be valid for use by people similar to you in terms of factors such as educational, social and cultural background.
The Brief RIASEC Interest Measure1 is a reliable and valid career interest questionnaire that has now been added to the Grow Careers website. This measure is based on RIASEC Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments2, the most extensively researched and one of the most widely accepted theories of finding occupations that suit your interests.
The Brief RIASEC Interest Measure is an indicator of the RIASEC career interest categories that you most resemble: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising or Conventional. These are described on Grow Careers.
Theoretically, you are more likely to enjoy occupations and work environments that allow you to perform work tasks or study courses that match your top career interests. To explore your top RIASEC interest categories, download and complete the Brief RIASEC Interest Measure.
Strategies for identifying occupations that are related to your top RIASEC career interest categories are explained on the Grow Careers website and include locating a publication with lists of RIASEC occupations3 and using online databases to locate occupations that complement your career interests.
Reflecting on Top RIASEC Career Interest Categories
It is important that you do not rely solely on the results of a career test to make career choices. A career test does not know things like your life context, your personal circumstances, your hobbies, your personal relationships, your health, your family situation, the labour market in your local area, and more. It is therefore, important to reflect on the meaning of the results of any career assessment in the context of your life and circumstances. This is why the Integrative Structured Interview (ISI) questions developed by Dr Mary McMahon and Dr Mark Watson4,5 have been added at the end of the Brief RIASEC Interest Measure. By writing your responses to these prompt questions or by discussing your Brief RIASEC Interest Measure results and your thoughts about the ISI questions with a career practitioner or someone who knows you well, you will be exploring the personal meaning of your top RIASEC interest categories within the context of your life.
1Armstrong, P. I., Allison, W., & Rounds, J. (2010). Development and initial validation of brief public domain RIASEC marker scales. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73, 287-299. 2Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources. 3Shears, M. & Harvey-Beavis, A. (2012). Self-directed search: Occupations Finder, Camberwell, Australia: ACER. 4McMahon, M. & Watson, M. (2012). Telling stories of career assessment. Journal of Career Assessment, 20, 440-451. 5Watson, M. & McMahon, M. (2014).