Not everyone knew what they wanted to be when they were nine. Sometimes people get through college without having a clear idea of a career path. And even people on a career path sometimes look around and think, “What am I doing here?”
No matter where you are on your career journey, taking a career aptitude test can help you figure out which careers you might succeed in. However, because there’s no one right answer for what your career path should be, career aptitude tests are only part of your career exploration.
What Are Career Aptitude Tests?
Career aptitude tests, also known as career tests or career quizzes, are designed to help you figure out what career (or careers) you might enjoy. Because a job is so much more than a paycheck, these tests go a step beyond asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A career aptitude test tries to match you to the careers that you’re best suited for and will ultimately enjoy and thrive in.
How Do Career Tests Work?
An aptitude test evaluates your skills and abilities to measure your readiness for “the next steps.” The SAT is a good example. It helps measure how ready you are for college.
Like the SATs, a career aptitude test consists of a series of questions. However, instead of asking you to solve a math problem, career tests ask you how you feel about certain tasks (like performing math every day). The questions and your answers are designed to help you better understand yourself in areas like:
- Personality traits
The results help you understand who you are and suggest some careers that best match your likes and dislikes.
What Can a Career Aptitude Test Do For You and Your Career?
Unlike asking friends and family what career you should pursue (which is OK), a career aptitude test is generally an objective assessment of your personality. This objectivity can help you get a clear, unbiased picture of what careers might be best for you.
Likewise, career assessments can help you move forward when you’re stuck deciding what to do next. Students, career changers, and anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do (or do next) can benefit from taking a career test.
How to Use the Results
It’s important to remember that taking a career aptitude test is not a shortcut to finding the right career or even career success. While these tests can help you find your dream job, the results identify several possible dream jobs. The test will not tell you which career is “the one” or what you’ll ultimately be most successful in.
Career aptitude test results and the career suggestions are a starting point for your career exploration. Just because the test results say you might be good at something (like being a stunt double) doesn’t mean you should necessarily pursue it.
Eliminate careers you know you wouldn’t like, then give serious examination to the remaining career choices. You can even test-drive a few through volunteering, freelancing, or a part-time job to see if some of these careers really are the best choice for you.
Types of Career Tests
There are many types of career aptitude tests around, and though they may use different methods, they all ultimately measure the same things. You can find them on the internet, offered through schools, and given by career professionals (like psychologists or career coaches). Whichever test you choose, make sure you use one that’s valid and reliable, and remember, the results are only the first step on your journey.
Here are some career aptitude tests to try. Some are free, and some are paid.
- O*Net Interest Profiler (My Next Move): Free
- Career Aptitude Test (123test): Free
- What Career Is Right For Me: Free
- MyPlan.com (offers various career tests): Free to $19.95
- CareerFitter.com: Free to $39.95
Career aptitude tests are a fantastic way to discover more about your personality and motivations and identify careers that may be well-suited to who you are. However, they are only one tool out of many that you can use to help you better understand which jobs and industries you’ll enjoy being in.
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