By Mike Simpson
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If you’ve found this article, there’s a pretty good chance that you are either unhappy with your career or that you feel like you don’t know what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.
Enter the career test.
What is a career test?
Generally speaking, a career test is a multiple-choice test (primarily done online) that determines your different personality traits, and then uses this information to help identify a career that would suit you the most.
In theory, you should be able to take one of these tests and get a better idea of the type of work you should be doing based on your personality, skills, and temperament.
But it isn’t always that easy.
“Sigh. Is it ever?”
For one, not all career quizzes are created equal! There are questions that need to be answered!
- Who is administering the test?
- How do I know if it is legit?
- Are the results 100% accurate?
These are all questions that you should be asking yourself prior to making any decisions based on answering a few arbitrary questions online.
Many job seekers start searching around online trying to find the best test to take, and before they can even begin comparing tests, come across a slight road block…
Career Quiz vs Career Test vs Career Aptitude Test
So what is the difference between all of these tests?
In short… they are all basically the same thing and for the most part, serve the same purpose.
I suppose you could make an argument that a quiz is a shorter version of a test, but I’ve found that there are some long-form tests out there that are referred to as quizzes, so in my opinion, they are virtually the same thing.
With the career aptitude test, however, you occasionally find that the nature of the questions are geared more toward competency as opposed to personality traits.
In other words, these tests sometimes focus on your ability to complete technical tasks that are essential to a career (as opposed to how your personality traits might be suited to a particular field).
Having said that, there are also many tests out there that refer to themselves as all three of these things at the same time. The lesson here is to make sure that you are taking the test that provides you with the answers you are looking for, and ultimately, which career is right for you.
What Career Is Right For Me?
Everybody wants to have a career that gives them the opportunity to make a lot of money, but as the saying goes, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.”
While it’s a given that compensation is at the top of most people’s “career checklist”, more and more people are discovering that actually enjoying the work they are doing is almost as important as the amount of money they are being paid (and I would argue that a lot of people think it is more important!)
The best career for you is the career that provides you the level of financial security you require AND brings you a level of joy (or as some people say, “When the work doesn’t feel like work.”)
Taking a career quiz online is not going to make this happen overnight, but what it will do, is give you a better idea of the industry and position that would suit you based on your tendencies.
Below we outline a few of the most popular online career tests that you can use to help you determine the right career for you.
3 Career Tests to Help You Get a Job
MAPP Career Assessment
The MAPP assessment is perhaps the most well-known and universally respected career test that you can take.
According to MAPP, “Lots of career and personality tests tell you all about your personality, but the MAPP uniquely helps you find your true calling. We start by giving you a narrative that offers insights into what makes you tick. But we go much further. We then take your test results and match it to real careers, real jobs that are right for you.”
After taking the test, we would have to agree…. So how does it work?
Organized in a user-friendly, quasi – multiple choice format, the MAPP test uses 71 different “triads” made up of three statements. Your task is to choose the statement that applies to you the most, followed by the statement that applies to you the least, with one statement left blank without a selection.
Here’s an example:
After doing this 71 times, the people at MAPP will compile the results and make determinations about you on the following categories:
- Interest in Job Content
- Temperament for the Job
- Aptitude for the Job
- How You Relate to People
- How You Relate to Things
- How You Relate to Data
- How You Relate to Reasoning
- Mathematical Capacity
- Language Capacity
- Your Top Career Areas
It sounds like a lot, but the triads are VERY simple, and you can really breeze through the test in no more than 15 minutes.
You also get access to the results right away, but we should mention, that it is just a sampling of your results that are available with the “free subscription”. If you want to harness the full power of the MAPP test, you’ll have to spend a few bucks.
The question is… is it worth it?
In our opinion, it most definitely is. The results that MAPP provide are extremely thorough, and definitely provide the test taker with more insight than can be received anywhere else.
They also offer you three different premium options (the Starter package, the Career Seeker package and the Executive package) so that you are able to purchase a package that reflects your current situation. In other words, you can look at what comes with each package and decide if it is something that you really need in your situation (and whether or not it warrants spending some of your hard-earned dollars).
For example, the Executive package provides you with tailored statements that you can use on your resume (that are designed around the information you provided in the test), which as you can imagine, gives your resume objective or resume summary statement a little more depth!
All in all, we believe the MAPP assessment is an extremely important exercise in self discovery but more importantly, can actually increase your chances of matching you with a career that will earn you an income AND allow you to be content in your work.
Here’s a quick summary:
The Good: Very thorough, provides help with career placement, helps with resume
The Not So Good: There is a fee for the full results
Final Thought: A great resource for any job seeker that is wanting to “dig a little deeper” and find the career that will align them with their personality traits and bring the most job satisfaction.
Click here to check out the MAPP Test
The Princeton Review
This popular test would definitely fall more into the “career quiz” designation as I mentioned above, meaning it is a much shorter test than the MAPP and also provides much less insight into who you are and what you should be doing with your life.
The test consists of 24 different “questions” which each contain two scenarios, and you simply need to choose the scenario that most likely represents you:
After repeating this 24 times, the people over at the Princeton Review will provide you with two different types of results, “interest results” and “recommended careers”.
Your “interests” and “style” are assigned a color based on the questions you answered, which are then assigned to a personality type:
Based on your answers to the quiz, you will fall into one of these four categories. The Princeton Review will explain to you want it means to be in your category (“people with yellow interests are…”), and then they offer you recommended careers based on your style:
While this is an interesting little exercise and does provide a few interesting tidbits, it really feels quite basic compared to the MAPP test. The color system is a cute way of organizing the information, but it feels a little bit too general and simple.
The same critique can be applied to the “recommended careers” section. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of explanation when it comes to the results, and you probably noticed how random the careers are.
A sommelier or an astronomer?
I will give them this. If you click one of the recommended careers, it takes you to a page that outlines the career in much more detail. The “A Day In the Life of A…” feature is extremely beneficial if you are unsure of what can be expected in a typical day in that career, and the “Quality of Life” section is equally important in this regard.
Another great thing about the Princeton Review career quiz is that it is 100% free. So if you aren’t quite ready to throw down your hard earned dollars to learn some more about yourself and just want to get an introductory taste without breaking the bank, this career test might be for you.
I would, however, be careful not to make any life-changing decisions based solely on the results from this test. In our opinion, there just isn’t enough concrete information here to make any critical decisions and this should only be used in tandem with some other good indicators.
Here’s a quick summary of the Princeton Review Career Quiz:
The Good: No charge to take the test or get the results, the “A Day In The Life” and “Quality of Life” section of the career description pages provide some key insight into what you can expect in the given career.
The Not So Good: Lack of detailed results, career matching is very general and “all over the map”.
Final Thought: This career quiz is best used in conjunction with other tools, and not as a stand alone test. We’d be hesitant to make any huge decisions based on the results of this test. But it is free, so give it a try!
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The MBTI is one of the most well-known and well-taken tests that are available today. The reason for the popularity is likely due to how long it has been around, but also, since the test focuses so much on personality, the results can apply to many more fields than just your career.
According to the people over at MBTI, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test “helps you identify your preferred way of doing things in four key areas: directing and receiving energy, taking in information, making decisions, and approaching the outside world.”
The natural preferences that you display in these four categories will end up sorting you into one of sixteen different behavior categories called personality types.
Why is this important?
Well, your personality type has a great influence on many aspects of your life, but for our purposes, it also has a tremendous influence on all aspects of your “career life’.
According to the MBTI, “Finding the right career path can be an exhausting and frustrating pursuit, but the Myers-Briggs personality assessment can help. By knowing yourself, recognizing the needs of those around you, and identifying what environments you might naturally thrive in, your approach to career development becomes that much easier.”
We would definitely agree with this statement. So having said that, how does the test work?
The test is broken down into 93 multiple choice questions, and takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. Here is an example of what one of these questions might look like:
After you have completed the test, there is another 15 minutes worth of explaining how things work, which is a little tedious when you are just trying to get to your results quickly, but it is important stuff so I recommend that you take your time and go through it all.
When you have finally finished the tutorial, you’ll receive a PDF with your results and are then taken to the Home Screen for your personality type (which as you will see is a 4-letter indicator… for example, “enfp”) where you will receive all kinds of valuable information about your personality type.
The only thing that the MBTi doesn’t provide are recommendations for the specific careers you should be working in. As this test goes deeper than any other test into your personality type, their focus remains solely on that, and they leave it up to you to determine where you should focus your energy.
Another cool feature that the MBTI provides is the “What Do You Need Advice On” feature, which gives you personality-specific advice on the following categories:
- Staying motivated and engaged
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Dealing with disagreement
- Expressing creativity
- Making decisions
- Career thinking
While a lot of these things might initially feel like common sense, the fact that the MBTI is able to tailor the categories to your personality type is a very powerful tool that gives you insight that is specific to you.
Ok sounds good Mike. Is all of this information free?
While I think the MBTI is a very unique and useful tool, I should also mention that you cannot even take the test without paying for it up front ($49.95 plus tax). Ok, so the next question is… is it worth it?
It is. Not only is this test well reviewed and taken thousands of times over all around the world, it also provides a real depth of knowledge about one’s self and gives a lot of information that no other test will provide.
However, for our purposes I do wish that they gave a little more career-specific recommendations, specifically regarding the types of careers and jobs that the test-taker should be focused on. They would argue that they do provide some recommendations about “how to choose a career” which is true… I just would have liked them to provide a little more detail about the careers themselves.
Here’s a quick summary of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:
The Good: No other test provides more insight into your personality type and how it influences the different areas of your life
The Not So Good: The test can’t be taken without paying up front, there isn’t enough career-specific info for our purposes
Final Thought: All in all a great test that I would recommend to be taken in conjunction with another more career-specific test!
Putting It All Together
In conclusion, the biggest takeaway from reviewing these career tests was that it is important not to rely on the results of just one test, rather, to do a few of them and put all of the information together.
In other words… try them all!
All of the data together will give you a great idea of the career options that fit your personality the best, and in many cases, will also provide insights into other valuable areas of your life as well.
And remember, these career tests are not the “be-all and end-all” when it comes to the type of career that you should be focusing on. At the end of the day, the choice is still yours when it comes to the direction you should take.
These tests are just another tool you can use to help guide you on your journey.