Take the Interest Assessment to explore your future

Interests are a great place to start your career planning. Whether you’re a student, a new graduate, or just want some direction for your career, interests are a helpful framework to generate career ideas that fit what you like to do.

The CareerOneStop Interest Assessment asks 30 questions about how interested you are in different activities. What if you’ve never had experience with the activity?  In that case, just do your best estimate on your level of interest based on similar activities you have done.

The Interest Assessment is based on the Holland interest themes. This approach has been shown to accurately represent the career interests of people of diverse backgrounds. It also has proven reliability, meaning results will typically be consistent over time.

How do you interpret your results?

Once you complete answers to the 30 questions, you will see your results page. You can start to explore by selecting the link in the left corner “What do my results mean?”

You will see how your answers relate to the interest categories, and can read short descriptions of each. These six categories are collections of characteristics that describe people and careers. You’ll see your scores for each category, but we typically focus on your strongest 2-3 interests.

Think about how your 2-3 highest-scoring categories relate to activities you’ve chosen, school or work experiences that you’ve especially enjoyed, hobbies, volunteering, etc.

For example, let’s say your highest scores are the Social and Artistic categories. People who score high in Social often like to work with people to inspire, inform, help, train or cure them. Maybe you like to help friends and family, have a knack for teaching people, like to read inspiring stories, and think about work in health care.

Then for the Artistic theme, people who score high in this like to work in unstructured situations using their imagination and creativity. You may relate to that interest by appreciating variety and creativity in your work or school activities, bringing your original ideas to a project, or you may dance, play music, write, paint or draw.

Knowing your strongest career interests can help you recognize work and workplaces that you will like, find motivating, and tend to grow in. And these interests often last over your lifespan. Aim to spend some time in this section to get familiar with these ideas and ways to describe yourself.

What can you learn about your highest interest themes?

Here’s an example of one of the six career theme descriptions:


People with Investigative interests tend to be logical, curious, precise, intellectual, and quiet.

You may like to:

  • Spend time thinking
  • Make observations
  • Seek scientific explanations
  • Learn new things for fun
  • Work independently

How do Investigative interests relate to careers?

Careers with Investigative interests involve using math, data analysis, researching scientific subjects, and studying human behavior. The detailed categories below describe aspects of Investigative interests you might use at work. Which do you relate to?

Detailed categoryExample activities
Physical ScienceUse computer models to forecast weather. Study stars, or chemical substances.
Life ScienceWork in a biology lab, study genes. Explore impacts on wildlife habitats.
Medical ScienceResearch and develop new medical treatments. Study how to prevent diseases.
Social ScienceResearch social issues such as economics, culture, mental health, politics.
HumanitiesStudy and compare religious beliefs, history. Research influences on literature.
Mathematics/StatisticsDevelop statistical models and conduct analyses. Expand knowledge in math fields.
Health Care ServiceProvide medical treatment to patients and prescribe medication.

Getting your career matches

Back on your main results page, you’ll see the number of careers your scores match with. How are the matches made? The Interest Assessment makes a profile of both your likes and dislikes. Then it compares your profile to the characteristics of different careers, and the most similar matches are listed in your results.

You will see your Best matches first, in alphabetical order, followed by Great or medium matches, then Good / lower level matches.

Next is occupation title, basic job outlook (how strong the job market looks), median hourly wages (median shows the amount where half the people working in the job earn more, and half earn less), and education level that’s typically required to enter the field.

You can sort your results using the options in the “Sort by:” box at the top of results. Let’s say you want to see your career matches with the strongest outlook, choose “Outlook – high to low”. Or if you want to see your matches that have the highest wages presented first, choose “Hourly wages – high to low”.

Over on the left, you can use the experience or education filter to select your current or – if you’re a student – planned education level. For example, if you select Some preparation, your list will narrow down to show careers that require a high school diploma or less.

This is what the education filters mean:

  • Little or no preparation: shows careers that do not have formal education required – or where, only occasionally is high school diploma required
  • Some preparation: choose this filter to display careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent or occasionally a bit more education
  • Medium preparation: choose this filter to see careers that match your interests and that typically require some education after high school, such as a certificate program, up to a two-year associate’s degree.
  • High preparation: this filter shows your career matches that require a 4-year bachelor’s degree, and a few careers that have variable requirements that include a bachelor’s degree
  • Extensive preparation: this filter shows your career matchers that would typically require a graduate degree to enter, master’s or doctoral/professional degree.

Using the icons at the top of your results, you can print your results, email them, save them to your CareerOneStop account, or post to your social media. Scroll to the bottom, and you can download your results in different formats, and choose the number of results you want to show per page.

Now that you’ve gotten the most you can from your Interest Assessment results, you can explore your top career ideas by selecting their job title to see an Occupation Profile to learn all about them!

What if your results aren’t a fit?

What if you see some careers on your list that look weird, or that are just not your thing at all? This is likely to happen, because careers are complex and made up of many aspects. But you can expect that a number of occupations on your list make some sense for you, some should be in the ballpark of what you’d like to do, and a few are likely to be great ideas for you.

But some people find that they really disagree with their results. This is often a result of answering the questions differently than they actually feel, so try to answer based on what you genuinely like to do vs. answering as you think you should.

You can select “Back to results” and then select “Change answers” at the upper left if you want to adjust your responses. You will go back to the beginning but keep your original answers so you can just change the ones you want to reconsider.

Ready to dive in? Take the Interest Assessment.

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