Investing Ideas

The strong interest inventory

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Feeling “stuck” in a job can be exhausting. Every day, your alarm screams you awake. Bleary-eyed, you get dressed, and by the time your morning joe kicks in, you’re halfway to work.

Your shift is hectic, and you’re always focused on the next task in an endlessly growing to-do list. At the end of the day, you barely have the energy to auto-pilot home before collapsing on the couch. The TV drones on as you fall into a fitful sleep. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This story might sound familiar to you. On the other hand, searching for a new job or career can be so intimidating that many of us prefer the status quo, no matter how boring, stressful, or unfulfilling it is. Whether you are striking out on your own for the first time or thinking about making a move later in life, the options are endless, the stakes are high, and the sheer volume of information available online can be overwhelming. The job search is like an ocean, and many jobseekers feel like explorers, striking out on their own without so much as a map to guide them.

There is a better way! You deserve a satisfying, fulfilling career. Like any other journey, having a reliable guide along the way can make all the difference. This is where the Strong Interest Inventory® comes in. Think of the Strong Interest Inventory like a compass that can help you navigate the job search process and narrow your focus to careers and fields that fit your strengths and personality. Let’s take a closer look at this resource and what it can do for you.

What is the Strong Interest Inventory (SII)? The SII is a survey-style career assessment specially designed to help you find a fulfilling career. It works through a three-step process. First, you will answer a comprehensive series of questions that is specifically designed to help identify your strengths, preferences, and interests. For example, do you like working with your hands? What about public speaking? Would you rather have set work hours or have a flexible schedule where you manage your own time? Are you good at math? What about art? This instrument will help you become more aware of what it is you are actually looking for in a new career or a new job. Inversely, it can also shed light on what you find unsatisfying about your current position so you can make different decisions next time.

Once your survey results are collected, they are analyzed to provide insights into how well-suited you are for careers in various. This process works by cross-referencing your responses with an inventory that contains responses from thousands of other people who are employed in those fields. Finally, the inventory will recommend that you consider careers shared by other people whose responses were similar to yours. For example, the SII can inform you that your responses were similar to nurses, engineers, or professionals in hundreds of other careers. These insights can be invaluable in narrowing your job search.

What if I want more than a career recommendation? The SII is a powerful tool that can give you a lot of information. For example, instead of pigeonholing you into one “best-fit” career, it is designed to help focus your search to categories of careers that might fit your strengths and personality. The SII identifies six different categories of careers (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, conventional), each of which shares certain characteristics. For example, Artistic careers tend to attract people who enjoy expressing themselves through music, art, or other mediums, or who enjoy experiencing that expression, like film critics. If you are highly creative and indicated that you want an employer to accommodate your schedule and creative process, then the SII might recommend that you explore Artistic careers, like being a museum curator, food critic, or concert musician. On the other hand, if you are highly organized, enjoy working with data, and like having a set schedule with specific expectations, then the SII might suggest that you look into Conventional careers, like being an accountant or paralegal. Most of the time, the SII directs job seekers to two to three different categories of careers. Again, its purpose is to help narrow your job search, not to recommend a specific career.

Over the years, the SII has helped thousands of people find fulfilling careers. It could help you too! Just remember—it’s not a treasure map that will help you find the one job that is a perfect fit—it’s a compass to point you in the right direction as you navigate the job market. Good luck!

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The strong interest inventory

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