Career tests can be a good way for you to gain insights into your career preferences and possibilities. Tests are often available through industry and trade associations and, commonly now, online. Many trade and professional organizations also publish some sort of trade magazine or other publication that will give you more insight into a particular line of work, in addition to information you may find on their websites. It might benefit you to take a few minutes and investigate an unknown career a bit further.
If you can't find time during the day to meet with a career professional, there are plenty of places online where you can learn more about the kinds of careers that may be right for you. The following websites offer career planning information and will even allow you to take computerized versions of some popular career planning tests:
Some people balk at the idea of career tests. It's true that a computer or some premanufactured form or even a career counselor probably won't know more about you than you do. Therefore, you should not rely solely on what these tests or counselors tell you. But be open-minded; if a career test suggests that you would make, say, a fantastic poultry engineer, why not take the time to figure out what such a person actually does?
Employers may also use career tests as part of their screening process, and it can be helpful to be familiar with some of the more commonly used tests, including the following.
Career Ability Placement Test (CAPS)
CAPS is a timed test that, while it does not seek to determine whether questions are answered right or wrong, does provide an indication of how you score in eight different areas from mechanical reasoning and spatial relations to verbal reasoning and language usage.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The MBTI has become a popular assessment for organizations to determine how candidates might fit in their employee mix. The MBTI measures personality based on four scales—extrovert/introvert, thinking/feeling, sensing/intuitive, and judging/perceiving.
Strong Interest Inventory (SII)
The SII measures interests based on answers to questions about various activities that fall into six general categories: social (helping, instructing), investigative (researching, analyzing), conventional (accounting, processing data), artistic (creating or enjoying art), enterprising (selling, managing), and realistic (building, repairing). Another assessment, the Self-Directed Search (SDS), is similar to the SII; it is focused on the same six areas, but is a shorter assessment.