A Practical Guide to Self-Assessment: Your Key to Opening New Doors

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Overview

“Who am I?” Answering life’s big question has never been easy, but if you’re on the job hunt, it’s worth your weight in gold. Self-assessment can help you determine the self-concept you need to achieve your career goals. The linear formula is simple: self-knowledge, self-awareness, SUCCESS.

As the world is on standby now due to the COVID-19 crisis, suggestions of what to do with your time during quarantine are endless. Taking an online course is always a good idea, but in addition to a course that can boost your CV, leveraging what you already have might also bring you closer to your dream job. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, if you start your road to self-discovery, you will emerge as a mindful, redesigned jobseeker at the end of your journey. So why not start today?

What Is Self-Assessment?

Self-assessment is an efficient technique that helps you become more self-conscious. It echoes your current self-view by measuring your values, skills, and motivations.

You might be already familiar with this approach from school or work, but conducting a jobseeker self-evaluation can deliver a surprising insight into your personality. During this process, work-related characteristics and aptitudes may come to the surface which you never thought you possessed. Accordingly, Raj Raghunathan argues in Psychology Today that “[self-discovery] may reveal aspects of the self that may not have even existed before one embarked on the self-enquiry.” Although they are there somewhere deep, they might have not been part of your reality.

You may also feel that you have certain abilities, but be unable to fully articulate to what extent. This implies that you unconsciously abide by the values and preferences that drive you in your career path, but do not fully realize your talents. Luckily, asked the right questions and reflecting deeply on yourself can help you determine whether your hunch is right. If so, you can examine the presence of your till-now-vague skill supply and take one step further towards self-knowledge. 

Self-Knowledge

Self-knowledge is the array of information you learn about yourself and later blend together when trying to answer the question “What am I like?” Self-knowledge affects how we think, feel, act, and guide. It is generally accepted that multiple self-knowledge systems may exist, but the majority of self-understanding is evidence-based. As studies have shown, we build our evidence set on our past behavior, memories, and autobiographical information. Thus, even the smallest chunk of self-info can impact how you vision yourself. Take, for example, your date of birth, a sweet childhood memory, or an inconvenient call from your manager that you received an hour ago. 

It is important to note that our own background endorses only one aspect of our self-concept. Reflected appraisal also performs a massive role in shaping your self-view. In other words, what strangers, acquaintances, or your loved ones think or say about you can evolve into a forever scar or the most motivating memory of your life. That can rearrange the whole layout of the person who you think you are. It’s logical, isn’t it? 

All in all, your self-knowledge forms your self-concept. The more details you gather, the closer you get to understanding yourself. Thus, if you paint an accurate portrait yourself, you generate certainty. With certainty, you can lay the foundation of self-awareness, build your self-esteem, and effectively define your career goals.

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is an aptitude that allows you to consciously act in alignment with your standards. It reflects how clearly and objectively you can define your individuality. Moreover, it evolves how well you can judge if you do the right thing to reach your destination. To give you an idea, imagine that you get a job offer. You will likely evaluate multiple factors before making the decision of whether to accept it. And you can get your bottom dollar that with high self-awareness and top-notch judgment skills your yes or no will move you in the right direction.

Regarding your career prospects, the extent of your self-awareness indicates your spectrum of possibility for success. The more self-aware you are, the higher the chance is for achieving your objectives. As Tchiki Davis writes, people with high self-awareness have the capacity for success because they likely recognize when an event is an opportunity for them, and have a clear idea of how to access it.

If you take a moment to look back, you’ll surely find an example when you succeeded because you knew what you wanted 100% with know-how. So, if you’re striving for career satisfaction, grow reliable self-knowledge with a sufficient amount of evidence and enhance your self-awareness with self-assessment. 

It’s Time to Assess!

Being equipped with the theoretical background of self-assessment, it’s time to find out to what extent you truly know yourself. Our goal is to help you determine your motivations and pinpoint your TOP work values and skills. But before you get started, make sure:

  • you take your time. Self-assessment is a long process. If you can’t dedicate much time to it now, put it aside and choose another day in your calendar. Plus, as you need to digest substantial information, we advise you to complete it in more sittings.
  • you’re being as honest with yourself as you can, even if it aches.
  • you’re being patient. Though this is about your career and your life, it may not come easy.
  • the environment is ideal so you can stay focused.
  • you have a pencil and a piece of paper (or another note-taking tool that you prefer) near at hand.

Tip: in case you have no work experience, try to translate all the questions and aspects into another scenario where you had to meet requirements, e.g. as a student.

If you’re ready to roll, read on and assess your work values, work skills, and motivations now!

Work Values

These are the work-related values you appreciate the most. We distinguish two work value categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic values are basically your input – every principle and effort you foster in a work environment. Extrinsic work values, the output, include all the outcomes of your input, and the opportunities a workplace might convey.

TASK #1

Let’s see your input first. What intrinsic values are important to you? Choose 5 values from the list below, or bring your own, and answer the questions.

Work morale

Development

Responsibility

Accountability 

Diversity

Inclusion

Transparency

Efficiency

Quality

Trust

Competence

Personal conviction

  • (value)…is important to me because…
  • I can bring (value) to the table because… (give an example. Link it to your work history or other fields that can convert into a professional area)
  • How much … (value) I can take?
  • How much … (value) I want to take?
  • How could my (future) employer benefit from my…(value)? 
  • When I live (this value), I act/react…
  • When I live (this value), I feel…
  • When I live (this value), I put emphasis on…
  • Does the world need my (value)…?
  • If there were only one value I could sell, would they pay for my…(value)?
  • How does my community appreciate my… (value)?
  • Does my community recognize… (value)?

If your answers suggest that this is your genuine value, great! But if you’re not sure, investigate further. Try to think of a situation when you (or somebody else) represented or performed this value. The feelings and thoughts this value generated in you were…

Awesome

Good but nothing special

Neutral

Not good at all

If your rate for this value is “neutral,” or “not good at all,” don’t put it on your list. 

TASK #2

Next, throw light upon your output. What extrinsic values are important to you? You can find a few examples on our list below.

Working conditions

Work-life balance

Recognition

Feedback

Job security

Social contacts

Autonomy 

Financial compensations

Choose 5 values that are important to you from our list, or bring your own, and answer the questions:

  • (value)… is important to me because…
  • I can benefit from… (value) because…
  • Does … (value) add to my professional development to a great extent?
  • How does this value influence your decisions, behavior, or lifestyle?
  • When I encounter/experience/have…. (value), does it make a difference?
  • How does my current/last employer represent/deal with … (value)? Am/was I satisfied with it?

If your answers suggest that this is your genuine value, great! But if you’re not sure, investigate further. Think of a time when this value occurred in your career and try to rate it. Was it…?

Outstanding

Excellent

Average

Below average

If you choose average, or below average, don’t put this value on your list. After examining your values in this task, you surely have a few in both categories which got you closer to self-knowledge. Let’s move on to work skills.

Work Skills

You need several abilities to excel in a work environment, and the ones you specifically need to do your job right are called work skills. Skill sets can be divided into many different categories, but the three main groups are soft skills, hard skills, and hybrid skills (a combination of hard and soft skills).

Soft skills carry your personal traits (e.g. adaptability), and as we have discussed before, if you want to be competitive in a fast-changing job market, you need them as much as technical skills. However, they might be harder to prove, but it is essential to become aware of your top ones. 

Our Workstyle Game assesses your soft skills and helps mobilize the features of your personality type. After getting the results you can’t get anywhere else, you’ll have a large amount of fruitful information which you can exchange into benefits.

Hard skills, or technical skills, can be developed via educational programs (e.g. Maths). You can show them with countable evidence like certificates or qualifications. So, one may assume that hard skills are much easier to validate, but possibly you will feel the other way around. 

We have listed various skills for you below. Build your skill inventory with these items, Lensa’s Workstyle Game results, and if you like, your own elements.

If you’re ready, let’s expand your insights into your skills by answering the questions below:

  • What are my strongest skills? Make a list (consider your hard and soft skills as well).
  • How do I demonstrate them? Take your time and explain one after another.
  • Give an example of an instance when you exhibited your mastery of these skills.
  • Which skills I am the most powerful with? Prioritize your assets.
  • What I am not really good at? 
  • Which skills are not my strengths at all?
  • Are these my weaknesses, or simply not my TOP ones?
  • If these are my weaknesses, are these my obstacles as well?
  • Do I need to develop any of them? Why?

When you have finished this task, you will certainly understand the nature of your skill set. Let’s move on to your motivations.
work skills

Motivaton

Work-related motivation is the desire that urges you to have a career. Namely, a factor, or set of factors that engage you to look for a job and encourage you to thrive in it. Motivation can be measured by your attitude and the intensity and quality of your work. As motivation is noticeable, after reviewing what really drives you, you’ll be able to represent yourself more transparently.

Again, investigate what does really interest you with our questions:

  • What do I love doing? Is it a mission? 
  • Do I enjoy what I’m good at?
  • Is the social status of the job important to me? Why?
  • Is it important to me to work in the public/private sector?
  • Is corporate culture important to me? If so, how much and why?
  • Is a nurturing work environment important to me? If so, how much?
  • Is working in a friendly team important to me? If so, how much?
  • Is professional development important to me? If so, how much?
  • Is having tasks that meet my education level important to me? 
  • How does it feel when I get a task which seems to be too hard/easy?
  • Is having flexible working hours important to me? Or would I prefer a 9-5 job?
  • Is it important for me to have weekends off? Why?
  • Is a high salary important to me? Why?
  • Is having access to a benefits package important to me (e.g. medical, dental, and vision plans)? Why?

After finishing the list of the things that matter the most to you, take time to reflect and sort out the ones you think drive you the most. Those will be your motivations.

Lastly, finish your self-assessment: read through all you’ve learned and focus on your TOP assets and priorities. Whether you found anything surprising or not, believe in what you want and what you have. As you become a confident jobseeker, your ability to stand out from the crowd will increase. So catch the attention of your future employer and share your self-knowledge in your CV, cover letter, portfolio, Linkedin, and everywhere else you need to fill in the “About” box!

Adrienn Herendi

Adrienn Herendi

Adrienn is a content writer with a passion for people, cultures, and the world. After earning her MA in English Literature, she worked in further education in the UK and gained experience in literary translation. Subsequently, she covered America's equity capital markets as a journalist at a leading financial news agency.

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