No-Cost Career Tests as a Start in Choosing a Direction

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As you seek a direction in life, it is good to understand your particular desires, talents, and personality. Career tests can help you explore these personal aspects and then suggest paths you might follow. Though personal career counseling from a specialist may be important, one can begin by using no-cost tests. This article overviews three such tests.

General Career Test

FunEducation ( offers the 485-question Career Test to suggest career and job options from personality measures. Once you get your results, you can put that link into your browser’s favorites list. Subsequent logins enable the results so that you can recover them. This test is derived from the scholarly work of Dr. Lewis R. Goldberg of the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. Follow up on the references at if you want to learn more.

The results of this test are presented as a hierarchy with three levels. The first level offers 50 personality facets and your measured strength in each. The second level yields 36 top-level career area suggestions that derive from your personality profile. These results help you explore options that may allow you to feel fulfilled and skillful, and in which you might develop a high interest. The third and deepest level combines personality and career paths into specific jobs within several job categories. This level describes and scores 305 specific jobs. From these you can pick ones to follow up on. (You can read free material  about specific careers and jobs at

O*NET Interest Profiler

Personality and talents may make you psychologically and mentally fit for a given career but that has to be matched with desire if you are going to achieve more than average results. The O*NET Interest Profiler ( helps you weed out career and job choices suggested by FunEducation’s General Career Test results.

This profiler leads you through 60 questions about your interests, shows your results, and then helps you explore jobs that match your profile and your desired level of preparation. Your “likes” are the only measure to consider. Do not worry about whether or not you have the training or education, nor about the amount of money you may or may not make. The idea of the interest profile is to measure your likes or interests, that is all.

Clicking on any of the job links brings up an overview describing that particular job. You will also see brief summaries of the required knowledge, skills, abilities, personality, and education. These are accompanied by a summary of technologies employed in that job and the USA employment outlook. There are even links to related jobs. If you want more details about a particular job, be sure to click on the See More Details link at the bottom of each page.

International Personality Item Pool

You can find the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) at This is a personality survey. It does not point you at careers and jobs but it does help you attain an understanding of yourself. There are two versions of this test, short (120 questions) and long (300 questions). Both tests were developed by the Personality and Social Dynamics Lab ( at the Department of Psychology, University of Oregon.

After you answer all the questions, a text screen explains the various traits that were surveyed and gives you an explanation of your score. This is a fairly long screen but is worth reading. You can copy the text to your word processor. Once you leave the final screen, your results can not be retrieved later.

Closing Thoughts

A concern one may have is that these tests were developed in the United States. Might there be some cultural bias in the questions and results relative to other nations? Not being a psychologist, sociologist, nor anthropologist, I can not give a scientific answer to that question. However, I am a technologist with 35 years of successful experience. I have lived and worked overseas and with people from many cultures, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses whose students represented a mix of nations and cultures. From this background I feel comfortable saying that the foundations of success in a given career exist world-wide. A country’s culture may require or disallow certain behaviors. A specific job may have its unique requirements. But, the fundamentals do not change. The same can be said for personality and its relationship to career and job success. No matter where you come from, your personality will suit you well for some things and not for others.

None of the no-cost tests I saw measure talents. Rather, they measure personality and desire. What about talent? If you want to explore the subject of talent more deeply, I recommend the following book. It is based on solid research in practical settings by Gallup (

“Now, discover your strengths”, By Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, New York, NY, The Free Press, 2001.

This book coaches the reader in talent discovery. A prime benefit is the inclusion of a special key that unlocks a website that allows you to take a talent survey and receive results that derive from your questions.

In this article you have read about three no-cost tests and an inexpensive book that provide an early start to the testing phase of a career counseling process. Take advantage of these as you discover the path that is right for you.


Reviews of this article were gratefully received from Rabison Shumba, CEO of The Greatness Factory Trust in Zimbabwe Africa (; and from Gary Crossley, a labor market consultant in South Carolina USA (


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