Understanding Yourself: How the Birkman Assessment Can Be an Enlightening Resource for College Students Starting Their Careers

The world is full of people who analyze their every move, feeling, and trait alongside those who try to avoid such activities. I would say I am more of the former as I have always prided myself on understanding, or at least to my best ability, who I am, my passions, and emotions. As a rising senior in college, however, I have found myself at a pivotal crossroads. Recognizing what it means to be “me” is not only important for strengthening relationships, succeeding in the classroom, or finding “my people” but rather one step further: embarking on my career journey.

It can seem overwhelming or even impossible to find the right occupation, people to connect with in your industry, location, and more as college undergraduate students start the process. But for many, one of the hardest things is actually deciding how to present and communicate about themselves. You may think “Yeah, I know who I am and what I want to do” but when you sit down to write your resume, cover letter, or face an interview some people just go blank.

I have experienced this very feeling when trying to pick the phrases that best describe everything I am in a few short expressions. That in itself is daunting. How do you sum yourself up simply enough to where your future employer can quickly see who you are but not too simply that your talents and value do not shine through. That is where the Birkman assessment comes into play for students just like me. 

The Birkman method is a complex, in-depth personality assessment that maps out an individual’s personality data including strengths, social expectations, potential stress behaviors, occupational interests, needs for success, and more. After taking this assessment, I was able to confirm and appreciate traits I believed I possessed but also discover even more regarding my needs, motivators, stressors, and strengths. The chaos in my head about how to describe and promote myself cleared.

One of the main sources of clarity came from seeing a comprehensive list that describes how I operate in my day to day life as well as in a professional environment. That in itself was an amazing resource as a college student trying to hone in on who I am and how best to communicate that with the world. The results of my assessment shared what occupations seemed to fit my needs, usual behaviors, interests, strengths, and stress behaviors. Amazingly, my results pointed to my chosen career path which boosted my confidence in my future endeavors. 

Beyond that I really was able to reflect on when I am stressed, what causes it, and what steps I should take to get out of that negative headspace. Understanding your reactions to stress is something that is truly applicable to all areas of life beyond simply work as stress has the ability to impact relationships, success, and overall happiness. As I embark on my senior year, I feel equipped to manage any stress that may come from my courses, creating lasting memories with my friends, and pursuing my career post-graduation.

The Birkman resonated with me and can certainly do the same for other college students as we face the real job market and the interviews that come with that. Instead of feeling lost or helpless in this process, the Birkman has empowered me to feel proud of myself, how I function, and what I need to perform my best. Its usefulness does not have to stop right when I get a job as it can continue to be a resource for me and others as I join teams, shift roles, and more. I now know myself better and can help others understand, aid, and lift me to where I eventually want to be. 

However, it is imperative to understand that one’s results can be enlightening but do not fully define who you are. Take the tools from the test to continue to push, improve, and motivate yourself but not to box yourself in. Trust the Birkman but also trust what you know about yourself. The Birkman is a tool for unlocking and uncovering what makes an individual tick. 

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