When you're looking for a job or trying to pick a career that's right for you, the decision can be tough. You might have several different interests, maybe even in highly differentiated fields. Just having a passion about a particular topic isn't enough to know if you would excel in that particular work environment. Sometimes, you need to understand yourself better in order to make a wise career choice. Tests that uncover hidden talents that come naturally to you can help in your decision-making process.
A simple test you can do at home to help uncover your natural talents consists of reviewing your childhood and talking to people who knew you as a child. Think back on what activities you enjoyed doing as a child and what you gravitated toward. For example, when you played with toys, did you create imaginary worlds for them or did you take them apart to see how they worked? Ask relatives and friends about your childhood personality -- whether you were quiet or mischievous, what special talents you had and what your biggest strengths and weaknesses were. Then compare your childhood self to who you are now, focusing only on the areas that are similar. The traits that have endured through the years are your natural talents.
Basic personality tests can give you a great deal of insight into who you are and what type of career would be the best match for you. A number of tests are offered online for free. Although they are more elementary since they don't cost anything, they can point you in the right direction. The Big Five Personality Test asks you questions on a five-point "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree" scale. The Myers-Brigg personality test identifies you with four letters, such as INTJ for Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging. This test reveals, through your personality type, your natural talents and abilities, like whether you are a deep thinker who successfully processes complex ideas. The test then suggests careers that fit with your natural talents and abilities.
Psychological tests are more advanced at uncovering your natural talents, but they also come with a higher price tag. The Myers-Brigg test has a more in-depth version, called MBTI, that costs $150 and delves into your personality more deeply than the online practice version. You can pay to take the test online, but you must also get a one-hour phone consultation with a professional who explains the results and how they relate to your career. The Hogan tests include a personality inventory, motives and preferences inventory, business reasoning skills and development surveys. Some companies take the test for new or potential hires, but you can also take the test individually. It is given and scored by a professional psychologist.
Aptitude tests differ from psychological or personality tests in that they assess your learned and natural talents in areas of reasoning and fields more directly related to the workforce. An aptitude test might assess your ability to reason scientifically, your ability to analyze spatial relations, your mathematical skills, or your use of language in relating to people. These practical tests can reveal natural talents you might not be aware of that can point you in new career directions. For example, the Differential Aptitude Test assesses your language, numerical and mechanical reasoning skills. The Inventory of Work-Relevant Abilities tests not just your reasoning skills but also your ability to relate well with others. You can take these tests online. Some companies offer practice versions for free and some require fees.