All About Career Tests,
Career Testing, and Career
This is a quick guide to help you determine which type of career test is best for you. We are of course biased towards the career test that CareerPlanner.com offers. None the less we will attempt to be as objective as possible. At least you will know which way we would try to spin things.
Just to show that we are trying to provide you with quality information with minimal bias we will actually give you links to many of the most popular career tests available today on the Internet. We will also provide links to books that offer career testing.
The Purpose of Career Tests
All career tests regardless of type and technology attempt to help you figure out which careers would be the most satisfying and successful for you.
Success and job satisfaction is the ultimate goal in career testing.
Career tests do this by asking you questions and then matching your answers to a database of careers. Each career test has it's own algorithm for matching your responses to careers.
Thus career tests vary in the types of questions they ask and in how well they match your answers to a list of job titles. It's that simple.
Now here is the big disclaimer. We do not think that any career test available today will give you the single magic answer as to which specific career will result in the greatest success and job satisfaction. Each career test will help you understand more about yourself and the careers that might work for you. Each career test will give you a broad listing of matching careers. From there it is up to you to do some serious soul searching, introspection, and research.
Your final career decision should include a large amount of intuition and gut feel, but only after you have thoroughly explored your career choices.
One of the primary benefits of our Career Test, is that it can help confirm your decision. At least that's what many of our customers say.
In short, all career tests are "tools." Learn how to use them and they will help you discover your ideal career. Sometimes it may take more than one type of tool to help you.
Types of Career Tests
Lets make it very simple. There are only three distinct types of career tests and then there are blends or hybrids:
- Interest Tests - Tells you what type of work matches your interests and values and helps you identify your true passion.
- Aptitude / Skill Tests - Show how well you can perform certain types of work with your present skill set.
- Personality Tests - Tells you about your personality and how it compares to others. They also show how you like to work.
Interest Based Career Testing
Interest based testing will tell you "What" types of work you might enjoy and be successful in.
Interest based career testing determines those things you are interested in and then matches those to jobs. Done correctly, a interest based test can help you discover what you are passionate about. It can even help you rediscover passions you once had before you had to start earning a living and paying taxes.
OK, so here is our sales pitch. Let's get it out of the way. The career test that CareerPlanner.com offers is largely based on your interests, but, it also infers what you are good at, not by making you take a math test, but by identifying those areas where you have confidence. To read about our career test click here.
The benefits of the CareerPlanner.com Career Test are:
- It is written in a very simple and clear language.
- You can fully understand your test report within a few minutes. You won't have to spend hours studying it.
- Your test report will show you how to analyze any job and determine if it matches your interests and why.
- Careers that are not a good match are also explained so that you can avoid costly career mistakes.
- The test takes only 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
- The report includes a long list of careers that match your interests.
- If you already have a career in mind, the career test will help you validate your idea.
- The test report can help you build confidence in your career decision.
- The knowledge and insight you get from this self assessment can change your life.
OK, enough commercials. Just try it. It's only $19.95.
Another interest based test is the MAPP™ assessment test offered by www.Assessment.com . This test sells for approximately $20 up to $130. MAPP stands for
"Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential." The test consists of approximately 79 questions each with three answers. You pick the statement you like the most and the one you like the least.
We found that for many of these questions there were no choices we liked. For example you might be given three careers, poet, writer, and teacher. Then you are forced to say you like one of them more than the other. What if you don't like any of the choices? These forced choices can lead to very inaccurate test results. We suggest avoiding any tests which force you to choose between any two careers.
The CareerPlanner.com Career Test uses a more accurate approach. The test simply asks whether you like something or not or whether a particular type of work sounds interesting to you, or not. Thus you are never forced to choose an answer that you really don't like.
The MAPP report for the $39 version runs about 16 pages. It describes 10 to 20 generic types of careers. For specific careers you have to go back on line and do more research on their site.
Obviously we can't be objective about this product, however we have a few observations. The test report feels as if it is written for your employer rather than you, the test taker. I picture the HR department of some company looking at this report and it feels like an invasion of privacy. The test report does provide valuable insights into ones interests and to some extent, ones work preferences. However we thought the report was a bit wordy and overly complex. We would not recommend it to young students.
The JVIS interest test provided by www.JVIS.com is another interest based test that forces you to decide between two activities, neither of which you really want to do. Sorry for being so critical but getting through the 289 forced choice questions was pure pain. I had to do it in three sittings.
Here is an example of forced choice questions. Pick the activity you like the most:
A) Analyzing the role of salt concentration on seaweed growth.
Finding low-rent housing for families of the unemployed.
Sorry, but I'm not interested in either one. You might be, but I'm not. Can I skip a question if I don't like either choice? Again, sorry no.
Here is another example:
Explaining how bacteria maintain shellfish populations.
Using children's blocks to demonstrate simple arithmetic.
These activities may be of interest to you, but I am sure you will be forced to chose activities you would never want to do.
Here is another example:
Comparing the development of teeth among different animals.
Can results be accurate when you are forced to say you would like to do something when in reality you would never, ever try it?
Stay away from forced choice career interests tests like the JVIS and the MAPP unless for some reason you want to get into the wrong career.
Yes, this is a harsh review, but if you don't believe me try those tests and send us an email afterwards.
Aptitude Based Career Testing
Aptitude based career assessment determines "How Well" you can do a type of work today. The goal here is to identify your top skills, and then match those with jobs where those skills are required. The idea is that if you are good at something you will enjoy it and be successful at it.
One weakness of aptitude testing is that it shows you today, not after you have learned new skills and developed new talents.
Our opinion, at CareerPlanner.com is that you do need to know what you can do well and what you can't do well. However in discovering your ideal career, we believe that your interest level and the amount of passion you have is far more important than actual ability.
If you are passionate about something, you will learn how to do it well.
Also, even though you might be very, very, good as something, you may have no passion for it. However, if you are gifted with a very strong ability - Do Not Ignore It. Exceptionally strong skills in an area may be a clue as to what you ideal career is.
Having said that, after you have identified careers that are of interest to you, you should have a look to see how much "aptitude" you have for that job. If nothing else, you might have to work a bit harder to develop the aptitude.
For example, lets say you have a strong desire to be an electronic engineer so that you can create new products. Well, engineering school requires a lot of math and science. If you are weak in these areas, you may have to work a lot harder than others.
After identifying your top three career choices, have a look at how your aptitude and skills match up. This will show you areas you will need to improve on.
Aptitude, i.e. your ability to do something well can be measured in these areas:
- Verbal Reasoning - your basic understanding of the written word
- Numerical Reasoning - your basic math test
- Perceptual Ability - seeing similarities in shapes and patterns
- Spatial Ability - can you visualize in 3D
- Technical Ability - Can you program that VCR
- Analytical Ability - solving word problems
- Acuity - the ability to do things quickly and accurately
Books that offer aptitude testing:
"Test Your Own Job Aptitude" by Jim Barrett and Geoff Williams
"Career, Aptitude and Selection Tests" by Jim Barrett
"Discover What You're Best At" by Linda Gale
Personality based career tests will show you "How" you like to work.
Personality tests attempt to determine how you behave in certain situations and then match those behavior patterns with specific jobs. For example, if a test determines that you are very outgoing and extraverted it will match you with jobs where the ability to go out and meet people and entertain people is an asset. A good example would be a sales person. It's hard to imagine a shy, reserved, introverted person being successful at making cold calls.
We think that personality tests are much more useful for helping you work with the people around you than at pointing you to a specific career. If you are having trouble at work, personality tests can help you understand yourself and your coworkers better.
We suggest using personality tests, after you have taken an interest based testing. Use the personality test to narrow down your career choices.
The basic behavioral / personality traits used by these tests are:
- Introverted - Extraverted
- Risk Taking - Cautious
- Patient - Impatient
- People Oriented - Things Oriented - Idea Oriented
- Decisive - Indecisive
- Leader - Follower
- Detail Oriented - Big Picture Oriented
- Self Starting - Likes Direction
- Leader - Team Player
Examples of "Personality" based Career Tests:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®
The most powerful personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). This is the most well known personality test, and it can be applied to career types.
Click here to take our free personality type test. It will give you your 4 letter personality type.
The Enneagram divides all personalities into 9 basic types and shows you which is your dominant type. After reading most of the books on the subject, we have concluded that this test is not useful for pointing you towards a specific career, but it is very powerful at helping you understand yourself and how to work with others.
Books on the Enneagram method can teach you how to identify the personality types of yourself and your coworkers. From there you can more easily understand why they behave the way they do and how best to approach them on their terms and in their comfort zone.
CareerMaze at http://www.CareerMaze.com
Uses approximately 82 key words which you check off if they describe you. Test report provides a very good description of how you behave. Provides a listing of careers that match.
CareerFitter at http://www.CareerFitter.com
This test, which costs about $19.90, asks 60 questions related to how you behave at work and how you prefer to work. Thus it is a behavioral test. The report is nicely formatted and shows several careers that have a match to your personality type.
Other Types of Career Tests
Here are interesting, possibly even fun career tests you can take on the web.
Tarot.com at http://www.Tarot.com
OK, this is going to sound a bit odd to most, but developing your "intuition" is probably the absolute best way to figure out what career is right for you. The career tests listed above will give you insight and very good information about yourself, but at some point you are going to have to develop a very strong gut feeling about a future career. There are many ways to get intuitive. Meditation is one. Using Tarot cards and Numerology might also help give you intuitive insights. If nothing else it can be fun. Try it and let us know what you think.
ColorWize at http://ColorWize.com
This highly rated site is very attractive and plays some nice, mellow background music. You are shown 66 pairs of colored spheres and asked to pick the one you like the most. Then after the 66 colors you are asked to select 5 careers out of a list of 430, that interest you. We are not sure of the algorithm used here but we guess they match the 5 careers you are attracted to with the colors you like. Then they compare this to all the other visitors to their site. Again it can be fun and it's free, but we would not want to base a lifelong career choice on color.
Career Testing Summary
There are a lot of career tests out there. We think Interest based testing is best because it can help you identify your true passion.
Personality testing should be used only after you have identified your interests. Personality testing is really best at helping you improve your interpersonal relationships both at work and in your personal life.
Aptitude and skill testing can show you if you have unusually strong abilities which may point to careers where you can be successful. Aptitude tests will also show you what skills you will have to improve upon. Our position on aptitude testing is that if you are passionate about a particular type of work, you will learn to do it well. Aptitude testing only shows you who you are today. It won't show you who you can become.
In short, take our interest based Career Test first, and then follow this up with a personality test like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
Also, if you are having interpersonal conflicts at work or school, you can use the personality tests to better understand yourself and those that are different from you.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is the registered trademark of Consulting Psychologists Press Inc. http://www.cpp.com/
MAPP™ is a trademark of International Assessment Network.