Taking the O*Net interest profiler

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What is the O*NET Interests profiler?

The O*NET interests profiler (IP) is a free online tool, designed based on Holland’s R-I-A-S-E-C codes, which aims to help us discover the type of work activities and occupations that we would find the most interesting, exciting and engaging.

The IP was developed with four aims in mind:

  1. To create an instrument that reliably and accurately measures the Holland (1985a) typology. The IP measures this over six types of occupational interests, namely: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. The IP has been found to have excellent psychometric properties, making it a reliable and valid measure of our career interests
  2.  As an attempt develop a fair, and unbiased, instrument that is suitable for all genders and races
  3. To provide clients with examples of work activities, based on their main interests, that represent the entire world of work
  4. To develop a self-administered and self-interpreted instrument. This is crucial in aiding individuals to carry out career exploration without the help of career counselor’s or career coaches

What actually does the interest profiler intend to do?

The O*Net interest profiler is intended to be a a fair and psychometrically sound measure of what tasks like carrying out at work. Therefore measuring our occupational interests. It is designed to enhance our own self-knowledge and our career awareness. In return, this will aid each and every single one of us on our journey to finding the perfect career, without the help of a career coach or counselor.

The IP was also intended to be an easy to use, self-administered and self-interpreted tool available for anyone to use.

How do you complete the Interests profiler?

To take the IP, you do not need an account or to enter any personal details. Simply head to this website, and click the ‘next’ button.

The IP consists of 60 questions, which ask about your preference to enjoy typical work activities. For example, questions include things such as building kitchen cabinets, developing a spreadsheet using computer software or buying and selling stocks and bonds. You must rate how much you would like to do each of these workplace activities from ‘strongly dislike’ to ‘strongly like’. Note, that you must answer every single question before you can continue.

Once all questions are answered, your results are displayed on a new page. Your results will show you which of the six occupation types (social, realistic, investigative, conventional, enterprising and/or artistic) matches best to your interests. This page is really easy to interpret and understand. You will see what occupational interests are best suited to you and you can click on each occupational interest to gather a bit more information on what it means.

The Job Zones

The next page then categories the 950 occupations on O*NET into one of five ‘job zones’. These categories are based on how much experience, education and training are required for particular jobs. You pick one of these  categories, based on how much time and effort you are willing to put into your career, and O*NET will find career best suited to this. You can then view the careers that O*NET believes are most likely to make you fulfilled, happy and satisfied.

O*NET suggests that this takes around 10 to 30 minutes to complete. However, when I completed the whole IP process,  it only took me around 5 to 10 minutes.

What to do with your results

So, you have completed the O*net interest profiler, which has provided you with some reliable and accurate information on what kind of career you will most likely find enjoyable and fulfilling – what do you do now?

The IP should only be used as initial guidance that can prompt a deeper search. Do not base your whole career search just on the results of the IP. Here are some other things that you should consider doing:

Get to know your personality

To aid your journey of self assessment and exploration, you should consider taking a personality test, such as the Big Five or Myers Briggs Type Indicator. This will help you to understand your personality and how it might influence your career choice. For instance, a personality test can help you to understand whether you loathe social interaction or whether you thrive from it, or whether you really enjoy helping others or not.

Get to know the career better

Next, head over to The Career Project, where you can search for matching careers and read very detailed descriptions of specifically what you will do in that career, your salary, your hours, potential career progression, the educational requirement, the certification needed, career success factors and much much more. The career project also offers job titles for each careers. These offer tailored and specific advice as to what each  roles specifically does and the educational process to get there.

You will also find ‘job profiles’ on the career project. This is where real life people have completed questionnaires about their job. This gives you have an excellent idea as to what real life professionals do, what they like about it, what they dislike about it and how they got to that position.

We also recommend getting in contact with professionals in the industry (or industries) you are contemplating. Maybe, have a look through LinkedIn to find people who do that job. Or, ask around friends and family to see if they have any people they could put you in contact with. A bit like the job profiles on The Career Project website, this gives you a realistic and accurate picture of the job and will aid you in deciding whether it is the correct path for you.

Get some work experience

Finally, we recommend gathering some work experience. You may only have one career path from your research that you want to go into. If thats the case, get as much work experience in that field as possible. However, it is likely that you will now have a few possible career paths in mind. So, try and get experience in all of these so that you know whether you enjoy the role. Top tip, it will also look excellent on your CV!

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