What job are you qualified for after the military? It is a question everyone asks during military transition. Isn't there a post-military career aptitude test that leads veterans and spouses straight to the job listing of their dreams?
Not so much. Instead, when veterans and spouses start searching job listings during military transition, we typically find an endless array of job titles that sound both boring and risky at the same time. Back-end developer? Anti-money launderer? Penetration tester? Good heavens, how can you know the best job for you in the civilian world without an aptitude test?
What Kind of Job Are You Looking for?
One way to identify the best job for you is to stop thinking of your first civilian job as a math problem with only one correct answer. Instead, your first civilian job after the military is a little more random -- like discovering a baby unicorn shivering under a cabbage leaf.
The more you want a meaningful job that will use all your strengths and pay pots of gold, the more your job hunt is going to be a mythical journey. You are going to ask a lot of questions about the civilian work world before you can discover the right job for you.
That is why taking career aptitude tests, quizzes and assessments are a good way to get started on your job hunt. These tests could give you a little more data about how you and your skills fit into the civilian world.
Many of the career aptitude tests, quizzes and assessments I list below are completely free. Some have a free component, then they offer to sell you a more complete version. Please note: few of them are scientifically valid so you won't base your entire career decision on a free test. Their value is that they outline some of the personality traits, interests and values you will need to do well in a career. Give these a try.
The 15 best career aptitude tests for veterans:
1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
When I suggest an MBTI personality assessment for your career, I am not referring to those memes that tell you which Harry Potter character you are, which Jane Austen character is your soul mate or which Disney princess has the same magic flair as you.
Instead, I am referring to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator originally invented by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs, during World War II. Using the theories of Carl Jung, they developed the test to help people identify which war job would suit them best. The test is relevant for your career, as long as you verify your type.
You can take the official test online for $69. You can also take free MBTI-type tests from 16personalities.com or the Typefinder Personalities Test. When you get your results, you can Google the best career types for your personality to come up with 21st-century career suggestions.
2. Tech Career Quiz
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers a free career quiz to help veterans and spouses figure out whether they are suited for a career in information technology. The quiz asks you what stage of your career you are in, what kind of puzzles you like to solve, along with 10 other questions. There are no math questions involved. Then it gives you a score that suggests how much of a fit you are for a career in IT.
3. Cyber Career Assessment
The Cyber Aptitude Typology Indicator Assessment combines the MBTI and tech aptitude tests to give you a complete profile that indicates your natural fit in the cyber domain. It is designed to identify aptitude, match learning preferences and hone in on personality characteristics resulting in a complete profile and career path in cyber. It costs about $100.
4. Project Management Aptitude Quiz
"I got a job as a project manager and everyone thought I was so lucky," a veteran told me last week. "But the job was a really bad fit for me." It turned out that the tasks that fill the day of a good project manager were not actually the things he wanted to do for a living. I found two free informal aptitude tests for project managers that tell you a little more about the job. Check out the quiz How Good Are Your Management Skills?
5. Law Enforcement Quiz
To get a job in law enforcement, candidates usually have to take a serious entrance exam and pass a background check. But are you really a good fit for that kind of work? On How Stuff Works, I found an informal assessment Would You Be A Good Police Officer? It asks questions relevant to a career in law enforcement like: Do you trust members of the public? How good are you at seeing patterns? How are your knees?
6. Recruiter Quiz
This year, companies are having trouble filling all their open jobs -- even in talent acquisition. 'Recruitment consultant' is one of the jobs where applicants are in demand. You can even specialize as a technical recruiter, engineering recruiter, nursing recruiter, veteran talent recruiter, etc. But is this the job for you? Check out the quiz from the Society for Human Resource Management, How Well Do You Understand Recruiting Fundamentals? Even if you spent much of your military career in recruiting, crafting the right job listing and evaluating sources of hire is harder than you think, but may be a great fit for you.
7. Management Consultant Career Quiz
I hear from a lot of veterans -- especially veterans with an MBA -- who are interested in working in management consulting. They want to solve the world's business problems with firms like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PWC, KPMG, BCG and McKinsey. But what do these firms really do? And which area of business is right for you? McKinsey & Company have a really interesting 10-question career quiz that asks questions like what kind of TED talk would you give and what kind of work you find most satisfying. It will get you thinking.
8. Entrepreneur Readiness Quiz
After taking orders all their lives, many veterans are interested in working for themselves. Many military spouses are also attracted to entrepreneurship since you can take the job with you on your move. There are a bunch of quizzes out there for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Several offer free reports with a longer version for sale. Based on your answers, you'll get advice tailored to your current mindset, business know-how and financial situation. For fun, you can try Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss? Or Are You a 100% Entrepreneur?
9. Careers in Health Care Quiz
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for health-care workers is supposed to grow more than any other industry. There are so many jobs in health care that you might be wondering where you could fit in after military service. This health profession quiz from Your Free Career Test is designed for students and adults and requires no registration. It asks about some of the tasks you would do in different health-care careers, which you rate on a scale from very interested to not interested.
10. The Holland Code (RIASEC)
One of the oldest career assessments -- and the one many other career assessments are based on -- is called the Holland Code. It was invented by John Holland in 1959 who believed that your interests and how you approach life are the best clues to your perfect career.
In the assessment, you are asked a series of questions about which kinds of jobs you would prefer, like repairing a dishwasher or analyzing the structure of molecules. Then you get assigned a three-letter job code including your preferences for job categories like Realistic. Investigative. Artistic. Social. You can get a Holland Code test for free from Truity. The best part of this test is that it corresponds with 923 occupations identified in the Department of Labor's O*Net database.
Here are other free online personality tests that might help you define your next high-impact career:
- The Princeton Review Career Quiz
- 123 Career Test
- Glassdoor's What Job Fits My Life Quiz
- Career Fitter
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at Jacey.Eckhart@Monster.com.
Learn More About the Veteran Employment Project
The Veteran Employment Project is Military.com's FREE collection of classes, videos and instructions helping veterans and spouses find their next high impact job. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.