I love this stuff, so I just have to share. Sorry if it seems gratuitous or 'braggy'. I don't mean it that way.
This might be the coolest thing I've done for my career in quite sometime. This week, I signed up to try out an Aptitude Test product by YouScience called Latitude. For a quick overview on what they do:
Now, I'm not afraid to reveal that I am 40 years old and have been working in marketing for almost 15 years now, so I'm pretty ingrained in my career. But nevertheless, I was still pretty darn curious to see if I had chosen correctly, so I signed up and sat down to do my testing.
THE TESTING BIT
Let me start out by saying that the testing part is rigorous and a bit grueling. You need to block off a good 2-2.5 hours of uninterrupted focus time. You'll need a few sheets of paper and a pencil with an eraser. You'll need to hide your phone so you aren't distracted by texts, notifications or phonecalls...and so you aren't tempted to use your calculator (I know I was). You'll need to be comfortable. And you should try to refrain from feeling discouraged.
I finished my testing in just under 2 hours because at the end, I didn't want to wait through the breaks (I just wanted to get it over with! That may have been a mistake - my brain was fatiguing!). Most sections were tough, but there were sections that nearly made me cry. My palms were sweaty. My heart was racing. I'm sure I was yelling at my computer loud enough for my neighbors to wonder what I was doing.
At the end of the tests, I got a message saying, "You'll get the results in 24 hours". I'm sure I didn't sleep that night. I was certain the results would tell me I suck at pretty much everything and I should give up on my future.
THE RESULTS BIT
When I received the notification my results were in, I held my breath and opened the report. Though Latitude's FAQ's insist there is no such thing as good or bad aptitudes, I still put a bit of a value on how I did in many of the tests. Not all sections tested skill levels, though. Some were more about personality type or leanings. But for those sections I saw as 'strengths' and 'weaknesses', I assigned a value to them. Here are my overall results:
1. Visual Comparison Speed (weakness) My type: Double Checker
Paperwork or video games are probably more tedious than enjoyable to you and you may need extra time to complete clerical tasks.
Your visual radar moves slowly and deliberately. You probably find clerical work or video games tedious, draining, and boring. You can find fulfillment in the completed product or game, but are more likely to enjoy fields of work or study that are more hands-on, interactive, or auditory.
YUP. Sounds about right. I remember really trying to focus on this test and having to read lines over and over. A 'tip' that made me chortle:
Yes please! :)
2. Vocabulary (strength) My type: Advanced
Your highly developed Vocabulary makes it easy for you to find just the right word to express yourself precisely. Your interests are likely to be many and varied.
You are likely to keep learning about many things because you are in the habit of paying attention to the meanings in words. There are always new interests to explore and new people with whom you can converse.
This one gave me a NICE boost in confidence that helped me breathe a little easier. So, I have a good vocabulary. That's true! I love words. I love learning them and using them (correctly, if possible). I love studying language and understanding which words to use for which audience. Actually, just last night I was having a conversation with someone about the language of corporate culture and how I used to keep a notepad of acronyms with me as a reference when I worked in enterprise software. Here is a little highlight that made me smile:
Oh God yes! It's my favorite bit!
3. Numerical Computation (strength) My type: Advanced Computer
Your high Numerical Computation make mental calculations and learning math skills super easy for you.
What may look like an unfinished puzzle to someone else is a clear picture in your mind. You can keep track of multiple calculations simultaneously even though you may not be aware you're doing it. You can also multitask while making calculations because it is so automatic for you that it takes little conscious attention on your part.
This one was a BIG surprise to me. I thought for sure I had bombed this section. In fact, I think I may have made a few lucky guesses as I went through the testing. Perhaps if I took this one again, I wouldn't be so lucky...but I'll let it be for now (and I *was* excellent at math in high school). This was the only 'tip' I could identify with:
Yes. Yes I can do that. In fact. I can 'eyeball' a teaspoon compared with a tablespoon as well...but that's cause I love cooking.
4. Numerical Reasoning (average) My type: Predictor
You probably enjoy looking for patterns in numbers but don't automatically do so. You have a solid grasp of trends in numbers after they are pointed out and explained.
You strike a balance between analyzing numbers when that is called for and applying existing formulas when that is more appropriate. You're the person who uses the formulas to direct the action.
I was actually quite sad to be average on this exercise, though I wasn't 100% surprised as I ran out of time with 2 problems left. I often play these games online where I guess for the value of n and I think I'm pretty good at it. But I guess I'm just average. Booo. But this does sound about right:
5. Spatial Visualization (strength) My type: 3D Visualizer
Your high Spatial Visualization makes it easy to organize and view your world as a 3D model. You may be able to retrieve books, a specific quotation, or objects quickly, even from a crowded space, because you "see" their location in your mind. People around you may comment that you're "very visual." You like to work and think about physical objects. You are good at using tools, machinery or equipment.
This was a bit of a head-scratcher for me because this exercise was really tough, but I guess I did okay after all! I didn't truly believe it until I read the 'challenges' to having this strength. This one in particular is very true:
I'm always drawing out what I mean and find it incredibly challenging to describe ideas without some sort of mock-up or diagram, which got me to learn Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator early in my career.
6. Inductive Reasoning (strength) My type: diagnostic problem solver
Your high Inductive Reasoning allows you to quickly see the interconnections between things and ideas that may seem unrelated to others.
As a detective, you follow the Sherlock Holmes model. You're likely to observe myriad details that others may deem unrelated or irrelevant. You see a pattern or story develop from these details that is plausible, odd as it may seem to others to whom you have to explain your reasoning process...Accepting that "this is the way it is" does not satisfy you. You're a diagnostician who thrives when there are new facts to correlate. The more facts and the faster they arrive the better. You like making changes that are improvements, small or large, whether they reach your target audience better, save money, promote world peace, heal someone, or fix an engine.
I LOVE that this is a strength and I really liked the inductive reasoning tests. I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes (who isn't?) and always try to solve a case before he does. I'm not always successful, but I'm not too bad. ;) I pride myself on having this as a strength:
If I was to pick one strength I'm most proud of, it is this one. I'm so glad I have it!
7. Sequential Reasoning (strength) My type: Sequential Thinker
Your high Sequential Reasoning ability lets you automatically shuffle and organize large amounts of information in your head and easily organize your thoughts and learned information in a methodical and logically organized way.
Your mental closet comes equipped with hooks, shelves, drawers, and hangers that you use to organize different pieces of information in your head. You may not feel the need to write out your ideas or have your physical surroundings organized in a structured way. In fact, you may have piles of stuff that look random to other people, but you seem to know where everything is.
This was another happy moment for me. And:
...this made perfect sense. I love doing my Keynote presentations.
8. Idea Generation (average) My type: Idea Contributor
You can elaborate easily on things that you have experience with or are knowledgeable about, but you might not come up with multiple ideas by yourself.
While you may not always have a flood of ideas to contribute, you can add to existing scenarios or put a twist on existing plans, approaches, or games. You enjoy sharing your own ideas with others, but you are just as comfortable when others share their ideas with you. You can create or execute ideas equally well and probably enjoy a balance of those two roles.
I thought I would do much better on this section, but after seeing the results and reading the description. It made perfect sense. Especially:
I really admire people who can do this. I have to research and gather my thoughts before I present anything. I also really like collaborating and riffing off of others' ideas and work.
9. Hand-eye Coordination (weakness) My type: Experiential Mover
You can understand movements by watching others, but replicating actions and developing flow takes repetition and consistent practice.
Once you have the sequence of motions down, you'll gain confidence; but remember that the initial learning curve will take you longer than for some other people.
I'm a good freestyle dancer, but it's true, I need to practice a LOT to get a movement down that someone else demonstrates. And I guess I shouldn't dismiss Zumba as exercise after all:
(even if I think it's a bit ridiculous)
10. Associative Memory (average) My type: Conscious Memorizer
You have the ability to memorize terminology with little difficulty; however, you should recognize that you'll need to use that information repeatedly if it is to be transferred into your long-term memory.
When you learn terms, codes, formulas, etc., you don't have to exert a great deal of effort, nor do you need to use memorization tricks. You will, however, have to make a conscious effort and possibly repeat terms a few times before they stay in your memory. Know that this is a conscious act that requires you to focus while learning terms and concepts simultaneously.
I really struggled with these tests. My visual memory is awful. And this is a HUGE weakness for me:
I've been known to forget names of people I've known for years when I've been over-challenged!
11. Visual Memory (average) My type: Data Reviewer
You're able to memorize important numbers and data like dates, codes, or account numbers pretty easily and can hang on to them for some time.
Numbers are a useful tool for you. You don't necessarily seek them out, but you know which ones are important to focus on. You memorize important dates, codes, or accounts easily, but you need to use calendars, notebooks, and other tools to keep track of the less important or frequently used items.
Again, not a surprise. I keep good records of numbers around me at all times because I suck at this:
12. Work Approach (personality type) My type: Generalist
You work best on projects that allow you to explore and exchange ideas and viewpoints with others.
As a Generalist, you prefer that the video lens be wide open so that you are aware of everyone involved. You will work best on projects that allow you to bounce ideas off others and exchange viewpoints and ideas. You will enjoy knowing all of the different perspectives, including the ones that differ from your own. It is usually easy for you to adapt your own perspective based on what you learn from others.
Yep. This is why I really don't like working solo:
13. Time Frame Orientation (personality type) My type: Future Focuser
Your high Time Frame Orientation lets you work toward goals in the distant future. Without something distant you may feel a bit aimless. You are more focused on the actual long-term goal or target than the specific day-to-day steps to success. You prefer to think about the impact of your decisions five to ten years into the future.
You are able to stay focused on a distant target and can work toward goals that may take years to develop or come to fruition...You might find yourself slowing down as you approach completion because you are uncomfortable without a long-range goal.
Exactly how I've been feeling for the past while and why this year is one of purpose:
14. Pattern Memory (average) My type: Map Reviewer
You're comfortable using maps, charts, and blueprints with little effort, but you aren't likely to refer to them from memory.
You're able to notice subtle differences in certain patterns, but might need to compare them side by side to identify specific differences. You don't need a lot of exposure before you memorize patterns, but they don't automatically stay in your memory.
That darned visual memory thing again. I thought for sure this result would be a weakness. I like the advice, though:
15. Interpersonal Style (personality type) My type: Extrovert
The presence of others energizes you. Getting to know people, catching up with old friends, and just laughing with others seems to lighten your day and bring you inner peace. It's nearly impossible for you not to engage with someone around you, even if it's greeting a stranger in a checkout line.
No surprises here! However, as I've grown older, I do need personal, alone recharge time. I'm a little less extroverted now. I'm pretty sure that I still do this, though:
THE CAREER BIT
If you think the aptitude assessment was interesting (as I did!), you are going to enjoy the career exploration even more! Latitude breaks these down into three sections:
Overall fit combines your aptitude testing results with your interests and gives you a list of career suggestions. In this section, I found out that I've actually done pretty well with my chosen path over the years and most of the other careers listed were quite appealing to me. Just the top 15 (I highlighted some of the roles I've played in my career):
- Broadcast News Analyst
- Architectural Teacher, Postsecondary
- Commercial and Industrial Designer
- Art Director
- Interior Designer
- Instructional Coordinator
- Advertising and Promotions Manager
- Genetic Counselor
- Social and Community Service Manager
- Counseling Psychologist
- Exercise Physiologist
- Creative Writer
The list of careers that solely suit my aptitude testing, however, were incredibly interesting. Some of the results were on my career path at one point, but I lost interest in them when I looked deeper into them (I began University in Computer Science, for instance):
- Energy Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
- Computer Systems Engineer/Architect
- Petroleum Engineer
- Engineering Teacher
- Urban and Regional Planner
- Mechatronics Engineer
- Advertising and Promotions Manager
- Transportation Engineer
- Market Research Analyst & Marketing Specialist
- Materials Scientist
- Securities and Commodities Sales Agent
- Aerospace Engineer
But lo and behold, Advertising and Promotions Manager and Market Research Analyst/Marketing Specialist are both present amongst the engineering heavy list, so yay!
Most of the list of careers based on my interests aren't actually that interesting to me now, but would have probably been VERY interesting when I was setting out in the world:
- Art, Drama and Music Teacher, Postsecondary
- Interior Designer
- Preschool Teacher, Except Special Education
- Broadcast News Analyst
- Music Director
- Music Composer and Arranger
- Architectural Teacher, Postsecondary
- Middle School Teacher
- Fashion Designer
- Theatrical Makeup Artist
- Film and Video Editor
- Park Naturalist
- Creative Writer
- Art Director
The way Latitude presents each career is really very cool and thorough, too. Take for instance the Broadcast News Analyst. They break down each career into four categories: A Day in the Life, How You Fit, Education and Salary & Opportunity. The information under each is quite thorough. Here are some screenshots:
From what I understand, the future of Latitude will be to match people with college programs and eventually jobs, which is really exciting. It's definitely a tool I could have used when embarking on my career. I may have weighed future salary and opportunities with my aptitude and stuck with that Computer Science degree after all. Who knows?
But what was so magical about doing this testing right now in my career is that I am able to validate my strengths and identify my weaknesses so I can both focus on what I'm good at and work on improving where I'm weak. And in future interviews when I'm asked, "Name three strengths and three weaknesses," I have really great answers with scientific proof behind them. If that doesn't impress HR, I'm not sure what will!
In fact, if I were in Human Resources, I'd be all over Latitude. The testing isn't lightweight and you can't really cheat it (you can't go back and change answers and it's timed pretty tightly, so you can't really beat it by googling stuff - not that I tried, but there wasn't much time to answer each question). And you wouldn't want to cheat it anyway - there is no 'good or bad', just a better way of fitting you with the right career. And cheating the system would work against your own happiness.
But maybe I'm wrong. I know this is a super long post, but if you've gotten to this point and are interested in trying it yourself, I've been told I can give out THREE Latitude Assessments for you to try at home. And just for clarity, this is NOT a sponsored post. I loved my assessment so much I wrote them to ask them if I could write this and offer a few passes to my readers and they said yes. :)