Most of us remember a day in our teens when our high school guidance counselor called us in for career counseling. She scrutinized and evaluated us, gave us tests with cryptic questions, and in the end proclaimed with some certainty that our career destiny was to become a fireman-or a stonemason, or a math teacher, or something equally mysterious. As baffling as this process was, if you’re the parent to teenagers, you probably find yourself wishing you could give them such definite career advice.
With so many career options in the modern workplace, it can be difficult for parents and teens to narrow down the choices. The good news is, those career tests your guidance counselor gave you have come a long way. Today’s career assessments provide an accurate, sophisticated, and time-effective way to help your child discover their career aptitude. Tests of your child’s personality, preferences, talents, and interests provide you and your teen with essential information as you make choices for college and beyond.
Do you know whether your child is a structured traditionalist, or a sensitive artist? Do they do their best work in solitude or on teams? One of the most widely used career assessments for teens, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®), assesses your child’s personality type on four scales: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. Based on these measures, the test results provide information on careers, industries, and work environments that are good choices for your child’s personality type. Knowing your child’s personality type is crucial to choosing a career path that will motivate, challenge, and satisfy them.
Extensive research has been done using the MBTI to correlate personality type with career success, so that once your child knows their type, they can benefit from the career experience of thousands of similar types. The test results will help them to understand the key factors for their job satisfaction, crucial stressors to avoid when choosing a career, and some common pitfalls they may encounter as they start on their career path. Although your child’s interests may change over time, their personality type will remain constant, and preparing your child with an awareness of their personality type will benefit them for the rest of their life.
To discover the best career for your child, it is also important to understand how their interests, hobbies, and favorite activities can inform their career choice. The Strong Interest Inventory®, a well-researched and widely used career test, assesses your teen’s interest level in six major career categories: Conventional, Investigative, Realistic, Artistic, Enterprising, and Social. Then, it matches your teen’s test scores with the interest profiles of successful professionals to rate the careers that are the best match for them. The Strong Interest Inventory results can help your child to understand the day-to-day tasks that certain jobs require, and how their interests match up with possible careers.
Both the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator can be taken with the assistance of a qualified career counselor. You may choose to visit a counselor in your area, or you can have your teen take these tests online. If you feel your teen may need ongoing coaching, it may be best to visit a counselor in person. However, many families find that it is most convenient to access these career tests for kids online.
However you decide to take the tests, you can ensure you get the most out of the assessment by reviewing and verifying the results with a qualified counselor or coach. Both the MBTI and the Strong are designed to be interpreted and explained by a professional with training in the use of the assessments. Your counselor or coach will help you to make sense of the results and apply them to your teen’s individual situation, and will assist you in planning the next steps for your child’s career exploration.
The sheer variety of career options today is astounding. Your teen has a dazzling, and sometimes overwhelming, array of choices. With so many options, teens and parents will benefit from using the excellent personality and career tests that have been developed to help students choose a rewarding career. Not only can these assessments provide much-needed direction, but they can help steer your child towards a career that will challenge and satisfy them for many years to come.