Career-Personality Tests: Terrific tools, or useless entertainment?

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This week in my blog entry I'd like to consider something akin to the activity we did last week in our discussion sections. Below is a link to a career-selector personality quiz that claims to be based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers' personality typology.

For me, this is what it reported:

Qualitative analysis of your type formula
You are:
• moderately expressed introvert
• slightly expressed sensing personality
• slightly expressed feeling personality
• moderately expressed judging personality

Recommended careers for you are:
• Social work
• Religious education
• Education
• Counseling
• Health care administration
• Medical assistant
• Nursing
• Radiologic technician

For me, the qualitative analysis is pretty close, I suppose, but only one or two of the careers are anything I've ever considered or think I would enjoy at all. Of course, there are several possible explanations for this, the simplest being that this particular one just isn't a good test. But it draws into question the entire concept of choosing careers based on personality analysis. Is this an effective way to choose career options that might be good fits, or a just a way for high school students to amuse themselves?

I think it's certainly true that people are happier in careers that play to their psychological and personal strengths and don't strain their weaknesses too much. It makes sense that a test that could identify these psychological strengths, weaknesses, and predispositions could be a useful tool in identifying careers in which a person might be comfortable and happy. The problem is that it's difficult for these quizzes to take into account other factors that are important in career choice, such as talent for the actual skill involved in the job, interest in the subject matter involved, and interest in and talent for the type of preparation required. For example, I might be happy enough being a religious educator, except that I'm not a particularly religious person and have little interest in anything related to in-depth work in religious studies. I might like to be a nurse, but I'm not so great with needles. And I might like to be a teacher, but the educational program one must go through to teach elementary or secondary education would make me jump out a window. Of course, there's no way for the test to know these things about me, or about anyone else. Because of this, I think it's safe to conclude that while these tests may be useful for determining what a person's personal strengths and weaknesses are, they are less useful when used to simply "generate" a good career choice for an individual.

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This page contains a single entry by and02379 published on November 20, 2011 10:08 PM.

Lie-detection( polygraph-test) was the previous entry in this blog.

Trashy teens: reality TV gold, unfit parents is the next entry in this blog.

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