It’s time for a little self-evaluation. Do you see determining a career path as impossible? Are you so on the fence about the path you’ve chosen that the thought of pursuing it produces a less-than-happy feeling? When it comes to your career, are you just generally clueless about what you want or what you’d be good at? If you said yes to any of these, you’re an ideal candidate for a career aptitude test.
More commonly referred to as inventories since there are no right or wrong answers like a traditional test, these career aptitude tests help you get a better sense of who you are and where you fit in the world of work. But be sure to keep your expectations in check; if you’re expecting the results to spit out the perfect salary, job title, and organization that’s right for you, you’re going to be disappointed. The purpose of a career aptitude test is to give you some ideas of what you might want to explore, based on the inventory of interests, skills, abilities, and personality traits that you provided by answering the questions.
Here are a few of the most popular career assessments and their functions, so you can choose the right one to help you on your path towards your dream job:
Strong Interest Inventory (SII) Based upon your answers about various activities you enjoy doing, the test results suggest some general-interest areas and specific occupations you might want to check out. It also categorizes your interests into six broad areas: social (helping, instructing), investigative (researching, analyzing), conventional (accounting, processing data), artistic (creating or enjoying art), enterprising (selling, managing), and realistic (building, repairing).
Self-Directed Search (SDS) Although shorter and quicker, the SDS serves close to the same purpose as the SII, including the six categories listed above.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Focusing more on personality rather than interests like the two previous tests, the MBTI uses four scales to determine what makes you tick, essentially. The first scale measures how you focus your attention (introverted vs. extroverted), the second scale measures how you view things (sensing vs. intuitive), the third scale looks at your decision making processes (thinking vs. feeling), and the fourth scale measures how you deal with the world around you (judging vs. perceiving). This much information allows for some insight on what type of work you’d like to do, with whom, how you’d like to do it, why you like to do it, and even where you’d like to do it.
Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) This is one of the few tests that actually has right or wrong answers. It is also timed, encouraging candidates to answer with their gut rather than dwell on a question. The questions are formed to truly test your knowledge in eight different areas ranging from mechanical reasoning and spatial relations to verbal reasoning and language usage. Just like a standardized school test, the more wrong answers you receive in a topic, the less knowledge you have of that topic.
Choosing a career that’s right for you can be daunting. Luckily, career aptitude tests exist to help narrow down the search. Just remember, these inventories aren’t meant to give you all the answers, just the direction you need to discover them yourself.