Why take a Career Aptitude Test?
We all know what we want and what we’re good at, right?
... Or do we?
Sometimes it’s not so easy to really nail down what type of work would best suit us. Or maybe we kind of know in our hearts but we don’t believe we’d be successful, or we doubt ourselves.
This is where Career Aptitude Tests come in handy. They can help you distinguish between interesting options that might not suit your natural inclinations, and those paths that are easy for you to follow. There are some things that we do naturally well, or that we learn easily, based on our individual personalities and how our minds work. Every brain learns differently. Some things that we wish we were good at are not actually the things that will bring us the most satisfaction and prosperity. For example, maybe you’d love to be able to make a living at acting, and you do enjoy being on stage, but you’re not naturally inclined toward the lifestyle of an actor.
There are many, many things to consider when working to find your true path. Career aptitude tests can help you identify which paths may, or may not, be right for you.
How do Career Aptitude Tests work?
There are several different types of tests. For the most part, they all lead you to determine how your personality type and your interests combine to lead you toward the right type of job for you, and even the right type of work environment. They may take into account such things as your work history, family values, communication styles, the types of tasks you prefer, whether you most enjoy coming up with ideas or completing the details that will bring the ideas to fruition, whether you prefer to give or to take direction, and many many more.
Tests can be used to assess questions about what your interests are, how your interests compare with others in your field of interest, even why your having difficulty deciding what to do. They do this by asking a series of questions designed to narrow down your inclinations to usable suggestions.
Types of Career Aptitude Tests
While there are many versions and adaptions, the main styles include those that measure:
- Needs and Values
- Abilities and skills
- Decision-making Style
- Career Maturity
- Family History
- Current Relations
Upon first consideration, some of these may seem irrelevant to choosing a career path but if you look more closely, you’ll see that a career encompasses far more than just one’s work life. It also affects life outside of work, and therefore taking the many areas of your life into account can be a very effective way to narrow down your options to the best that suits you as a whole person. After all, work takes up a lot of our time.
It’s only natural that our happiness, satisfaction and sense of purpose at work will then affect all other areas of our lives. If you are miserable and stressed at work, chances are you’re going to take that home with you and cope in potentially unhealthy, unloving ways. By contrast, if you’re stimulated, valued and fulfilled in your work life, what you take home with you is a sense of contentment, joy and satisfaction. Imagine the difference that makes on your family. Likewise, if your home life is not what you wish it to be, that can influence your work life.
Check out the Career Aptitude Quiz
There are two main assessments that help to define your work interests. It may seem to you that your interests are obvious, and you may know them very well. Sometimes, though, it can be very helpful to see them on paper in order to see how they measure up and relate to how you might use them to guide your career path.
These will ask whether you like/dislike/are indifferent to various occupation titles, activities, school subjects, working with different types of people, and your personal characteristics. Many of them are based on a well-known scale called the Holland Theory. The Holland Theory compares 6 areas of our personality and how prominent each area is in your life and in your personality. These areas are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
Here are the strength and natural inclinations for those strong in each area:
- Jobs with tangible results
- Using heavy equipment
- Using tools
- Physically demanding
- Fixing, building, repairing things
- Ambiguous/abstract tasks
- Solving problems through thinking
- Working independently
- Scientific or laboratory settings
- Collecting/organizing data
- Creating artwork/performing
- Working independently
- Unstructured/flexible work environment
- Solving problems/leading discussions
- Educational/mental health organizations
- Managing people/projects
- Giving speeches/presentations
- Financial/government/political organizations
- Organizing office procedures
- Keeping records/filing systems
- Writing reports/making charts
- Structured organization
- Clear chain of command
Needs and Values Tests
These help you to identify your work values. What are your reasons and motivations for working… other than a paycheque! What makes you want to get up and go to work? And what do you expect to gain from different types of work?
One example of this type of test is the Minnesota Importance Questionnaire. This measures 21 work-related needs, broken down into 6 value categories:
- Ability utilization
- Working Conditions
- Company Policies and Practices
- Supervision – Human Relations
- Supervision - Technical
- Social Status
- Social Service
- Moral Values
Abilities and Skills
This type of assessment is generally done directly with a career counselor. In these, it is up to the individual to rate their own abilities and so a formalized test is less appropriate. It requires more direct and intuitive communication between individual and counselor. Often, though, the counselor will ask a series of questions designed to assess the level of confidence an individual has in completing certain types of tasks, building on the same themes as the Holland Theory.
These are perhaps some of the most popular because they give interesting insights about who we are as people. The most widely known personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). There are many other tests that are built upon the MBTI premise.
The MBTI questionnaire asks a series of questions that eventually help you define 4 areas of your personality:
- How do you direct and receive energy? Extravert vs. Introvert
- How do you take in information? Sensing vs. Intuition
- How do you decide and come to conclusions? Thinking vs. Feeling
- How do you approach the outside world? Judging vs. Perceiving
None of the preferences in each of the four areas is good or bad, they just help you define your styles. In the end, you eventually fall into one of 16 types, based on your combination of preferences. This assessment is meant to help you understand not only yourself but also others and how to deal with them.
Benefits of Career Aptitude Tests
Finding your ideal career path can seem like a daunting task. There are so many options these days and it can be difficult to decide whether one type of work is more suited to you than another. We all have many different interests, too, and it can be confusing to decipher whether an interest is something that you can make a living doing. And if it is, do you have the type of personality that would thrive in that kind of environment?
Career Aptitude Tests have proven to be very effective in helping people figure out where to focus their efforts. They can assist in choosing educational pursuits and in deciding between one work environment over another. Within your field of interest, there may be two very similar jobs in very different environments…a very important element to consider. Don’t you want to be able to easily identify what types of people you work best with and in what type of physical space?
In the end, they all help us to better understanding ourselves. And that is the first step toward fulfillment.
Check out the Career Aptitude Quiz