Become a safer, more confident driver with the AARP Smart Driver course! Use the promo code VET and save 25% during November.
Updated August 2015
If you’re a 50+ job seeker, you might be tempted to rush into action, frantically answering job ads or posting your resume online. Don’t. Your job search has a better chance of succeeding if you step back and assess yourself first.
What’s in It for You?
There are many reasons to do a self-assessment. Here are four:
Understanding what you can do and like to do helps you target jobs and employers.
Self-assessment alerts you to skills that need brushing up.
Knowing your strengths will help you answer questions calmly and confidently in job interviews.
For career changers, assessments can point to other fields where you can put your skills to work.
What to Assess and How:
Assessments can be grouped into several broad categories:
Skills—your ability to perform a task or to carry out a responsibility. You can either write down your skills yourself or check them off from a list. Skill assessments let you easily match your skills with the jobs that require them. Try the free Skills Profiler on Career InfoNet.
Interests—topics or fields you that interest you or in which you like to participate. Interest inventories measure the fit between particular interests and specific jobs. Two reliable assessments are the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey and John Holland’s Self-Directed Search. Both are available online for a fee.
Personality—how you process information, make decisions, and interact with others. For work purposes, one commonly used personality measure is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. To take the full MBTI, you have to work with a certified counselor.
Work values and preferences—what you think is most important or worthwhile in a job. Values assessments help you decide the type of work environment you prefer.
Explore Assessment Tools
Jot down notes about yourself. Think about what you have to give the world. Ask friends, coworkers, and family members for their feedback. Then pick the tools that make the most sense to you.
Career books and websites for the mature job seeker are likely to include lists of skills and job descriptions to help you see how your skills fit. The Over-40 Job Search Guide by Gail Geary, has a helpful chapter on how to transfer your skills to a new job or field.
Online career assessments let you match your skills with different occupations. Some tests are free; others charge for more personalized service. For links to a variety of online assessment tools, see The Riley Guide and the Job Hunter’s Bible (look under Counseling). Also take a look at reviews of more than 30 online assessments at QuintCareers.com.
Career professionals administer and interpret skills-assessment tests. Most who work in this field call themselves either career counselors or career coaches.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 10% on their check every day.
Get answers to your Social Security questions with this free Q&A tool.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at