Self-assessment is the process of learning about yourself through defining your interests, values, skills, and abilities. The process includes analyzing past and current experiences and accomplishments to help give you a sense of direction. While no assessment can perfectly describe who you are or what your career should be, they are valuable in helping you to consider options that you may not have previously considered.
The Piper Center offers two guided assessments at no charge to alumni.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) Assessment — The MBTI is a personality type inventory that promotes awareness of the self and others. It is a widely-used, nonjudgmental tool that can help you gain an understanding of four natural preferences in how people gain energy, gather information, make decisions, and approach life.
Strong Interest Inventory® — By giving you insight into your interests, preferences, and personal styles, the Strong can enable you to identify specific courses, jobs, internships, and activities that you’re likely to enjoy.
If you feel that these assessments would be beneficial to your process of discernment, please contact Jenele Grassle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynda.com — Tutorials on Lynda.com can help you discover what you’re best at doing and how you can leverage these strengths and abilities in your professional life.
O*Net Interest Profiler Short Form — This instrument is a web-based, self-assessment career exploration tool that can help you discover work activities and occupations related to your interests. The instrument is composed of 60 items and measures six types of occupational interests.
Minnesota Careers Interest Assessment — This assessment can help you discover how your interests relate to various occupations. The MNCareers interest assessment is a simple 42-statement quiz.
O*Net Work Importance Profiler — This career exploration tool can help you identify occupations that you may find satisfying, based on the similarity between your work values (like achievement, autonomy, and conditions of work) and the characteristics of occupations that may interest you.
Career Info Net Skills Profiler — You can use the Skills Profiler to create a list of skills and then match them to job types that use those skills.
Iseek Skills Assessment — Everyone has things they love to do and skills they like to use. This assessment enables you to rate yourself on 35 different skills and then to see which occupations are a match for the skills that are important to you.
Career Key — Motivated Skills, Dependable Strengths — This assessment can help you identify the skills that motivate you, and can offer a powerful approach for guiding the direction of your career.
Accelerate your search with these tools and industry-specific resources:
St. Olaf College Alumni Group on LinkedIn
The St. Olaf College Alumni Group on LinkedIn will enable you to connect with over 6,000 Oles!
More than 75 million people each year use The Muse to help them win at work, whether they’re seeking professional advancement or skill-building or searching for a job. This online career platform is a favorite of many young professionals. Create a free account to begin your search.
Indeed is the largest online job search aggregator in the United States. The site aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, staffing firms, associations, and company career pages.
Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job recruiting sites, offers millions of job listings combined with a database that includes company reviews, salary reports, and interview reviews.
VolunteerMatch is the world’s largest volunteer engagement network, connecting qualified volunteers with non-profit organizations.
D&B Hoovers leverages the world’s largest commercial database, 120 million business records and analytics, and includes comprehensive industry, company, and financial information to fuel your research.
Learn How to Become
Learn How to Become ranks the best career websites and includes career guides for a broad range of industries to maximize your job search.
Arts Administration, Visual Art, and Museums
Business and Finance
Computer Science and Math
Education (certification not required)
Non-Profit and Social Service
Sports and Recreation
Volunteer/Full-Time Service Opportunities
As with all things, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that writing a good personal statement is hard work. Successful applicants often write 5-10 drafts before they have a polished piece. The good news is that, even if you find writing to be a challenge, with practice and hard work you can write an excellent personal statement.
If you need help with a personal statement, please make an appointment with Jenele Grassle, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services. Jenele will direct you, based upon the graduate program to which you’re applying, to the appropriate coach in the Piper Cente for Vocation and Career. Faculty members are also excellent at assisting with personal statements and letters of intent. Allow plenty of time if you wish to contact a faculty member — as well as for revising and editing.
Reviewers will have your application, academic transcript, and resume. They may even have a description of a project that you’d like to undertake. Despite all of this material, reviewers want to know whether they’d enjoy your company.
They will read your personal statement to answer the question, “Who are you — as a person?” Are you someone whom they would enjoy having on their team? In their lab? In their workgroup?
The aim of a personal statement is to create a version of yourself — a persona or character — that feels alive and present to the person reading your work.
How do you create a version of yourself that feels alive?
Personal statements are written in the first person using “I.” The position taken by the “I” persona is usually one of reflection. The narrator in a personal statement steps back from daily life and reflects on past experiences in a thoughtful, probing, and considered way.
Personal statements often include stories about yourself. These stories are short, usually a paragraph in length. They describe an experience that you’ve had — one that shows what you value, what you’ve learned over time, and why you’re applying for a particular program or course of study.
When creating your “I” persona, think of yourself as an “older self” looking back on a “younger self.” Step outside of yourself and write about yourself as if you were a character in your own life.
Gig employment, or independent work, consists of income-earning activities outside of traditional, long-term employer-employee relationships.
Gallup, in their recent study, Gig Economy and Alternative Work Arrangements, found that 36% of current U.S. workers, approximately 57 million people, are gig workers:
“29% of all workers in the U.S. have an alternative work arrangement as their primary job. This includes a quarter of all full-time workers (24%) and half of all part-time workers (49%).”
By 2027, more than half of American workers — 58 percent — will have had some experience as independent contractors.
– MBO Partners Looking Forward: What Will the Independent Workforce Look Like In 2027?
19.8 percent of full-time independents earn more than $100,000.
– MBO Partners State of Independence In America 2017
Gig work allows you to:
Gig work typically does not include:
Understand your goals:
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you may want to investigate gig employment.
Check out these job search sites specializing in gig employment:
Behance.net – For creative roles
Fiverr.com – For freelance roles across industries
FlexJobs.com – For remote and flexible jobs
Freelancer.com – For project-based freelance jobs, a marketplace where job seekers bid on projects
Gigster.com – For IT projects, with a focus on software development
Guru.com – For freelance jobs in a variety of categories
LocalSolo.com – For freelance roles across industries
Toptal.com – For freelance software developers, designers, financial experts, product managers, and project managers
Upwork.com – For a variety of freelance roles