Career aptitude test
An effective way to determine career suitability

A career aptitude test can be really helpful to you in identifying or clarifying what careers or occupations that you might be suited to. Doing such tests is part of the first step in career planning, which typically involves extensive self review.

If your employment and career are important to you it's natural that you'll want to make good, sound decisions about your future. Taking time to do some career related tests can often make all the difference between a great or regrettable decision about your future.

Anxiety in making career choices is common

Many of my clients who are considering changing careers suffer real stress when it comes to making career choices and decisions.

The stress comes from the anxiety and/or self imposed pressure they feel about having to make the right decision, or a perfect decision, about their future.

Questions my clients often ask themselves when making career decisions include:

  • What if I do make wrong career choices?
  • What if I don't like the choice I've made?
  • What if I'm not suited to do this type of work, or career?
  • What happens if this doesn't work out?

If you find yourself asking these questions, it's indication that you may be 'stuck' with your decision making.

If so, a career aptitude test can possibly provide some answers about the best way forward for you.

This type of career testing essentially provides a framework, or some guidelines, to help you to determine your suitability for a particular career path or occupation.

The results of such a test is an objective assessment. That is, they are not based on opinion, or 'gut feel'.

A career aptitude test - the benefits to you

So....the real benefit of a career aptitude test for you is that it provides a concrete framework for making career decisions.

The results of the test can be viewed objectively and dispassionately. Often you will gain new perspectives and insights about yourself in relation to your career.

Of course, no career test is perfect. But....just about all my clients who complete this type of test agree that they are of significant value to them in making good career choices.

At the very least, as a result of them completing career tests, I feel confident that my clients have real and objective information to work with in their career decision making (rather than just guesswork and trying to sort out a mixture of often unhelpful feelings.

What do career tests assess?

There are many, many variations of career tests that are associated with career aptitude testing.

And.....different tests assess different things about you, things that are likely to have an influence on your choices about career direction.

The type of tests you can undertake will really depend on where you are in your career. Consider, for example, the different situations in which a career test is useful:

  • High school and college students commonly complete a career aptitude test to assist them to determine their future career direction, and to help in selecting the subject/s they must study to pursue that career.
  • Recruitment agencies, and individual employers, sometimes use aptitude tests to determine that job applicants are in fact suited for the roles that they have applied for.
  • Organisations that offer redundancy and outplacement counselling will offer a range of career aptitude tests to help their clients make more informed career choices.
  • Job search and career coaches use aptitude tests in the same way - to help clients make the best possible decisions for choosing a career.

Types of career tests that you might complete

There are various types of career aptitude tests that you could potentially complete. For example:

  • A personality related test - for example a Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) or similar Jungian personality preference test
  • A career/life values inventory
  • A career interest inventory
  • Skills assessment
  • An assessment of your transferable skills - identify the skills you have that you could use in another career
  • A career obstacles inventory - identifying what might be stopping you from moving on in your career, or changing your career direction.

Career aptitude test - where to find free tests

Here is a short selection of sites that offer various types of career tests:

Personality profiling- - This is a useful website which has personality profiling tests for a variety of situations. Some of the tests are free, other you will have to pay for.

The Jung typology test, which can be useful for career planning, is here,'s free: Jung Career Typology Test

A word of caution about personality profiling.

A personality profile is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers, and no better or worse personality type.

When you get your results, look at the information objectively - what do you agree with, and where you disagree? Think about new insights that your report may give you, about you.

Consider showing your report to others whose opinion you trust. Ask them for their reactions about the report's accurately.

Values assessment-

A rigorous assessment/review of your values should be a part of any career aptitude test.

An interesting example of a career values test can be found on Dr Martin Seligman's website Values in action questionnaire and personalised report.

What does this have to do with career values?

Dr Seligman is a pioneer in the field known as Positive Psychology.. He studies the causes and effects of happiness and optimism. In particular his work has verified the lasting satisfaction we can all experience when we use our signature character strengths and virtues daily in our work, and in our lives in general.

Take the VIA (Values in Action) survey of character strengths which you'll see on the website. To find out what yours are you'll need to register your details, but it is free.

Seligman's theory is that we can achieve lasting fulfillment in our lives by focusing on what we do well - rather than focusing on our weaknesses. deliberately finding ways to use our strengths and practice our virtues on a daily basis.

His work, of course, has a direct relationship to career and life planning - make career choices which involve the use of your signature strengths and virtues.

I'm sure you'll find Seligman's approach refreshing and uplifting.

Skills assessment-

There are good lists of skills for self assessment purposes at these web sites

U.S.A. - America's Career InfoNet

Australia - My Future. You'll need to register to access the My Guide section which is where you will find the skills assessment questionnaire. Registration is free.

There are a couple of benefits from completing a skills self assessment:

  • You'll obviously have a better idea about what you do well in terms of your skills - your strengths.
  • You will also start to develop a vocabulary and become more familiar with the language you can use to describe your skills. Using the right language is essential to preparing a good resume, and being able to self promote in an interview.

In any skills assessment you will find that your skills can be categorised into three broad areas:

  • Your technical, or occupation specific skills - these refer to the knowledge and skills that are related to your profession, which you have acquired through your education, short courses, through on job training and from repeated use in your daily work.
  • Your transferable job function skills - these are the types of skills you have which are used in virtually any job role. For example, management and leadership skill can be applied in virtually any context. Similarly, so can your interpersonal and written communication skills, planning, organising, the ability to work in a team and so on.
  • Your self management, or adaptive skills - these are similar to transferable skills. Examples include time management, being adaptable or flexible, learning abilities, the ability to work under pressure etc.

It's not possible to provide you with a list of technical or occupation specific skills. If you want to clarify what these might be try a Google search for lists of skills that are related to your profession or occupation. You'll also get good Google search results if you search for either transferable skills or self management skills.

Why do this? The benefit will be that you will develop a very strong, and comprehensive vocabulary about your skills which will enable you to promote yourself to employers.

Career obstacles inventory

A career obstacles inventory essentially identifies the obstacles you perceive which are preventing you moving on with your career.

Just about every job searcher faces obstacles, both real and imagined, that they'll need to overcome if their job search is to be successful.

Here are some of the common ones I hear from my clients - many of which aren't really obstacles at all!
  • I'm too old, or too young
  • I don't have enough experience
  • I'm over qualified (for example because I've got a PhD)
  • I'm under qualified
  • I got poor grades at university
  • My qualifications aren't related to the field I want to go into
  • I was laid off from my last job - what will people think?
  • I have a criminal record
  • I've had too many jobs, people will think I'm unstable, or not loyal
  • I've only ever worked for the one organisation, how can I change now?

This is one of the more important career tests because it can reveal what is preventing you from taking action to change your career or job.

So, a key question - what is stopping you from taking action? If you are stuck, what's the reason? Next, is your reason valid - do you know for sure that this is a real obstacle to your career aims and ambitions?

Often the key to overcoming a career obstacle is to look at the situation from another point of view - the employer's.

Consider.....what might a future employer really think, and.....why would they be thinking this way?

The employer often won't see your obstacle, as an obstacle.

One of the benefits of working with a careers coach is that they can help to give you a fresh perspective on your career obstacles, and how to deal with any obstacles that actually might exist.

Career aptitude test - in summary

The availability of various career tests provides you with the means to make much better career choices. Your self marketing material (resume, cover letter, interview preparation) that you prepare as a result of career testing will also almost certainly be far superior to anything you can put together do without doing any testing at all.

Which career aptitude test should you do? Do as many as you need to do in order to fill in the gaps in your knowledge about you, or in your self marketing "know how".

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Career, Aptitude and Selection Tests: Match Your IQ, Personality and Abilities to Your Ideal Career

A very helpful book. Offers a range of IQ and other self assessments that will help you to really focus your job search.