How to Use Assessments to Find Your Next Career

In “How to Use Assessments to Find Your Next Career,” Jennifer Polk hosts Daniel Olson-Bang, PhD. Jennifer Polk, PhD and L. Maren Wood, PhD are co-founders of Beyond the Professoriate, a mission-driven organization that brings PhDs the latest resources, tips, and strategies for success in non-academic and academic positions.

Daniel is Director at Syracuse University’s Graduate School, Office of Professional and Career Development. In this webinar, Daniel discusses the value of using assessments during the job search and provides an overview of the best free assessments PhDs can take.

For the Skeptics

Usually, when graduate students think about assessments, they think about an unwanted test. However, career assessments can help you clearly identify your interests, values, skills, and personality, and provide some direction towards career fields of interest. Career assessments can be expensive, but Daniel introduces two free assessments that every PhD should know about.

The Myers-Briggs-Type Indicator (MBTI)

While the MBTI is most well known for determining extroversion or introversion, it also factors in other traits based on your skills, talents, and motivations. Daniel shares “4 Paired Preferences,” that the MBTI identifies:

  • Extraversion or Introversion: describes how you harness your energy. Do you get most energized from working in groups, or do you find yourself most energetic apart from others?
  • Sensing or Intuitive: asks you to consider what you do with information. Do you prefer to focus on basic information, like small talk, or do you prefer to interpret meaning?
  • Thinking or Feeling: encourages to think about how you approach decision making. Do you prefer to prioritize logic or people and contexts?
  • Judging or Perceiving: evaluates how you approach the outside world. Do you prefer to make clear-cut decisions, or do you prefer to stay open to new information?

The best perk about using MBTI is the “Career Plans Summary” it generates based on your personality type. It also lists your strongest skills, and those you may wish to develop more if you are serious about being an asset for your job of interest.


Both Jen and Daniel agree that being good at a particular skill does not necessarily mean you like doing it. Imagine PhD can help you pinpoint these nuances. It compiles your results based on three categories: skills, values, and interests. It further combines your self-assessment with career planning. It even takes your results a step further. Based on extensive research with job recruiters in multiple fields, it aligns your interests with people and common professions.

The Benefits of Trying MBTI and ImaginePhD

Understanding what your personality type is can provide insight into which tasks you find most fulfilling – and those you wish to steer clear from. Daniel’s experience as an apprentice for the graduate dean, for example, taught him that he disliked budgeting, traveling, and marketing. These tasks were “not how he wanted to do things.” What Daniel learned through much time and energy, the MBTI and ImaginePhD can help expedite. Daniel shares 4 benefits of taking these assessments, especially during the job search process:

  1. They help you determine what interactions and activities energize you.
  2. They help you develop essential questions to ask, and of whom.
  3. They help you make good use of your skills.
  4. They help you establish self-awareness during career exploration.

If you’re interested in hearing more about assessments, rent the webinar below. At Beyond Prof, we offer many resources designed with PhDs in mind, so feel free to browse around, too!

Beyond the Professoriate Community Members attend events like this for free each month and access replays free for two weeks. Ready to launch your next great career? Join the Online Career Hub for PhDs.

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