Career Development

What Is Aptitude? Definition and Common Tests

September 24, 2021

Awareness of your aptitude, or natural strength, can be a powerful tool. Finding a job you enjoy that aligns with your strengths and abilities can lead to a fulfilling, successful career. This article defines aptitude, explores the tests that exist to measure it and lists ideal jobs for specific aptitudes to leverage your natural strengths.

What is aptitude?

Aptitude is the natural ability to learn or perform in a specific area. It is often the case that a person has a number of aptitudes that complement each other and combine to help them succeed at specific tasks. For example, you could have an aptitude for math and logic, which together are likely to help you excel in probability and statistics.

Related: How To Identify Your Strengths in The Workplace

Types of aptitude

There are many types of aptitude, including:

  • Linguistic aptitude
  • STEM aptitude
  • Artistic aptitude
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Physical aptitude
  • Organizational aptitude
  • Spatial aptitude
  • Logical aptitude

Let’s explore more in-depth definitions of different types of aptitude below so you can identify your own.

Linguistic aptitude

Linguistic aptitude is the ability to learn a foreign language with ease. If you have this aptitude, you may find it easy to learn the structure of a new language and memorize words and phrases quickly. You may excel in learning how to read and write in a new language as well.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) aptitude

STEM covers a wide range of aptitudes in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. If you have an aptitude in a STEM field, you may find that you excel in solving mathematical problems. You could also find biology or chemistry simpler than others, or you may find it easy to adapt to new technology.

Related: What Are STEM Jobs?

Artistic aptitude

Artistic aptitude is the ability to create a work that is pleasing to see or hear. If you have this aptitude, you are probably a visual learner and enjoy finding ways to be creative. You may find it pleasing to arrange things in visually stimulating ways.

Mechanical aptitude

With this aptitude, you most likely know how parts of a machine work together, and you may enjoy building, taking apart or fixing objects. You are probably a hands-on learner who benefits from understanding how and why complex parts work.

Physical aptitude

Physical aptitude is natural bodily ability. You could have several types of physical aptitude, such as excellent hand-eye coordination, strength or agility.

Organizational aptitude

Organizational aptitude involves the ability to arrange and operate efficiently. If you have this aptitude, you may enjoy planning work trips and creating slides for a presentation. You may find it pleasing to organize and prioritize tasks and data at work.

Spatial aptitude

Spatial aptitude is a natural ability to understand the relationship between objects. If you have this ability, you are likely to be a visual thinker who can easily imagine or create 3D models.

Logical aptitude

Logical aptitude is the ability to examine problems and find rational solutions. If you have a logical aptitude, you can process information efficiently and make a conclusion based on facts. You can also account for all the separate pieces of a project and bring them together in a coherent way.

Related: The Best Ways to Strengthen Your Logical Thinking Skills

Aptitude tests

There are a variety of tests that can determine aptitude. Some will test for whether you have a combination of aptitudes that can indicate potential in a certain field, and some test for an individual aptitude, such as mechanical or spatial ability.

Some companies may give you an aptitude test as part of the hiring process to see if you have the necessary strengths to do the job. You can also take aptitude tests on your own time or at a career center.

Here are some of the common aptitude tests:

  • Watson Glaser critical thinking test: This test assesses your ability to understand information and come to a logical conclusion.

  • Logical reasoning tests: A logical reasoning test examines how you understand relationships between shapes and patterns.

  • Situational judgment tests: These tests will measure your problem-solving abilities with specific workplace scenarios.

  • Verbal reasoning tests: Verbal reasoning tests gauge how you gather information from a paragraph or short passage.

  • Inductive reasoning tests: In an inductive reasoning test, you will have to look at patterns and determine the next step in the pattern based on logic.

  • In-tray exercises: This test is also known as an "e-tray exercise." It determines your ability to prioritize work-related tasks.

Related: 8 Free Career Aptitude Tests for Adults

How to highlight your aptitudes

Your aptitudes can help you stand out to a potential employer. It can be helpful to know where to add your aptitudes to your resume and cover letter and how to explain your aptitudes during an interview.

Aptitudes on your resume

You can add your aptitudes to the skills section of your resume. You may have to tailor your skills section for the job you are applying for. If you can, list relevant skills from the job description.

Keep your list of aptitudes concise to make it easy to scan. Hiring managers should be able to look at your skills section and quickly determine whether you possess the aptitudes they need.

Related: How to Write a Skills-Based Resume in 5 Steps

Aptitudes on your cover letter

Your cover letter is another opportunity for you to highlight your aptitudes to a potential employer. After you have introduced yourself and your enthusiasm for a particular position, write about your background.

The second paragraph is where you can write about the aptitudes that make you a strong candidate for the job. You can focus on a couple of skills and expand on them by showing how you have succeeded in each.

Aptitudes during job interviews

Many questions that an interviewer asks will allow you to highlight one of your aptitudes and how you have used it in the past. For example, if an interviewer asks, “What are your greatest strengths?,” you can pick one of your aptitudes and explain how it benefits your work style.

Related: Interview Question: "What Skills Would You Bring to the Job?"

Jobs for your aptitudes

Aptitudes can often indicate a potential for success in certain careers. Below is a list of positions that are well-suited for specific aptitudes. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the links provided.

Linguistic aptitude jobs

National average salary: $45,612 per year

Primary duties: This role will translate speech or text from one language to another. For text, a translator must proofread to ensure there are no mistakes. Companies that conduct international business often need translators. There are also many remote opportunities.

Requirements: Translators need a bachelor's degree in the foreign language or to be a native speaker. Some high-level positions require a master's degree in the language.

National average salary: $67,491 per year

Primary duties: Financial analysts use data to help with a company's finances. They take data to create reports and budgets for companies and their departments. They help forecast finances and research new projects to determine whether they are a good investment. A variety of industries look for financial analysts, including banks and hospitals.

Requirements: Financial analysts need a bachelor's degree in a finance or business-related field.

National average salary: $69,417 per year

Primary duties: Web developers create and update websites for businesses. They use coding languages to develop user-friendly websites based on the client's needs. They must collaborate with a team to make sure the front-facing and back-end of the website are integrated and functional. Most industries need web developers. There are also many freelance and work-from-home opportunities.

Requirements: Some developers are self-taught and have a portfolio that demonstrates their skills, though many employers typically look for a bachelor's degree in computer science or engineering.

National average salary: $82,575 per year

Primary duties: Linguists translate and interpret from one language to another. They typically need to understand the dialects of a language. International companies, military branches and colleges hire linguists.

Requirements: Linguists need a bachelor's degree in a foreign language as well as a few years of experience. Linguist professors need a doctoral degree.

Artistic aptitude jobs

National average salary: $50,269 per year

Primary duties: Graphic designers use software to create a variety of products based on a client's needs. They may design print and internet logos, advertisements and promotional material. Many businesses hire graphic designers, such as advertising agencies and marketing companies.

Requirements: Graphic designers can get a certificate or associate degree, but most companies require a bachelor's degree.

National average salary: $56,768 per year

Primary duties: Interior designers create ways to use the space of a room. They must understand the client's needs and design the space to those standards. They use design software to conceptually design the room including flooring, lighting, appliances and furniture. Furniture companies, architects and renovation companies hire interior designers.

Requirements: Interior designers at a minimum need an associate degree, but depending on the company, they may need a master's in interior design.

Mechanical aptitude jobs

National average salary: $39,091 per year

Primary duties: Welders use a variety of tools to fuse metals according to client specifications. They follow diagrams and blueprints to create metal pieces. Manufacturing and automotive companies hire for these positions.

Requirements: There is no educational requirement for welding, though many employers look for a welding certificate from a technical school. Some schools also offer welding apprenticeships.

National average salary: $84,926 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineers create the specifications for equipment or mechanical systems. They perform testing and implement the results of the tests to the system. They use software to help with testing and data. Manufacturing, research and development and utility companies need mechanical engineers.

Requirements: Mechanical engineers need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Some companies require a master's degree, depending on the job.

Physical aptitude jobs

National average salary: $35,823 per year

Primary duties: Personal trainers work with clients to develop a health and fitness plan. They help outline client goals and create specific plans to meet them. They measure progress and alter programs as needed. Companies that look for personal trainers include fitness centers, rehabilitation centers and senior citizen homes.

Requirements: There is no formal education needed for some personal training jobs, though most places require certification from a recognized organization along with CPR certification.

National average salary: $67,766 per year

Primary duties: Massage therapists work and manipulate a client's muscles and soft tissue. They identify areas of stress and injury and treat the pain with massage. They should be able to relax muscles and relieve stress. Spas, fitness centers and rehabilitation facilities look for massage therapists. There are freelance career options as well.

Requirements: Massage therapists need a massage therapy license from an accredited school.

Organizational aptitude jobs

National average salary: $57,680 per year

Primary duties: Human resources generalists assist with recruiting and onboarding new hires, maintaining employee files and enforcing company policy. They help maintain compliance with government regulations and handle sensitive information.

Requirements: Human resources generalists need a bachelor's degree in human resources. Some companies require experience as well.

National average salary: $74,383 per year

Primary duties: Project managers are responsible for overseeing the full cycle of a project, planning, outlining and executing each step. They manage the budget, deadlines and the team.

Requirements: There is no minimum educational requirement to be a project manager, though companies typically require a bachelor's degree and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate.

Spatial aptitude jobs

National average salary: $97,671 per year

Primary duties: Architects design buildings and other structures. They use software and hand-drawn sketches to plan buildings including the materials to be used, size and feasibility. Architects often work with engineers to determine technical details. Architecture firms and government agencies hire for this position.

Requirements: Architects need a bachelor's degree in architecture.

National average salary: $299,001 per year

Primary duties: Surgeons perform a variety of medical procedures based on their specialty. They must analyze a patient's medical history and current condition to determine the need for surgery. Hospitals and specialty medical centers employ many surgeons.

Requirements: Surgeons must complete medical school, residency and board exams.

Logical aptitude jobs

National average salary: $59,646 per year

Primary duties: Research analysts collect and analyze data for a variety of businesses. They do intensive research on a subject and turn the findings into a report. The type of research will depend on the business. Research analysts can work in many industries such as education, marketing and sales.

Requirements: Research analysts need at least a high school diploma. Most companies require a bachelor's degree.

National average salary: $83,618 per year

Primary duties: Detectives investigate criminal cases. They gather evidence and witness reports. Detectives often testify in court regarding cases they are investigating. Government agencies hire detectives.

Requirements: Detectives need to attend a police training academy to first become an officer. Experience in police work is also required to become a detective. Some agencies require a degree in criminal justice.

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