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Career Development Tips

How Your Aptitudes Can Support Your Career

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Jun 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What are aptitudes?Common aptitude typesWhy is it important to know your aptitudes?Determining your aptitudesHow are aptitudes different from interests?Highlighting your aptitudes when applying for jobs

Guide Overview

Understanding your aptitude can support your career

Aptitudes are a person's natural abilities to learn and perform in particular areas. Knowing your aptitudes and understanding how they influence your professional capabilities enables you to find a career that best suits your unique strengths. Here we explore what aptitudes are, the most common types of aptitudes, why it's important to understand your particular aptitude set, and how to accentuate your aptitudes when applying for jobs.

What are aptitudes?

Aptitudes are an individual’s inherent talents and abilities for learning or doing certain things in different areas. For example, a person’s ability to carry a tune is considered an aptitude. Most people have several related talents, such as singing, reading music, and playing a musical instrument.

In the professional world, aptitudes enable individuals to excel in particular areas and help them succeed at completing specific duties and projects. For example, if you have an aptitude for mechanics, you’d likely excel in a career as a car mechanic or an engineering position.

While your aptitudes typically come naturally, you can hone these talents and abilities through training, experience, and education. For example, if you’re an exceptionally talented writer by nature, you could take a writing course to advance your skills and become an even better writer.

Common aptitude types

The following are the most common types of aptitudes valued in a professional setting:

Inductive reasoning aptitude

This aptitude refers to a person’s ability to come to conclusions by connecting various pieces of information. Inductive reasoning is a form of logical thinking and is especially useful in investigative and research professions.

Auditory aptitude

Someone with an auditory aptitude can easily distinguish aural pitches and tones. Auditory talents allow individuals to excel in musical and audio engineering careers.

Linguistic aptitude

Someone with an aptitude for linguistics can easily learn new languages and memorize phrases and words with ease. A linguistic aptitude is necessary for careers in languages, translation, and diplomacy.

Physical aptitude

This aptitude refers to a person’s inherent physical ability, such as physical strength, hand-eye coordination, and agility.

Numerical aptitude

Numerical aptitudes refer to an individual’s natural ability to analyze and interpret numerical data and find relationships between the data. Careers in finance, statistics, analysis, and economics require numerical aptitude.


Graphoria is a person’s natural ability to perform clerical duties such as handling paperwork and administrative tasks. This aptitude is necessary for accounting, banking, and clerical positions.

Analytical aptitude

Someone with an analytical aptitude can choose and organize related information and formulate solutions to problems logically. Engineers and science professions usually require a talent for analytics.

Artistic aptitude

Artistic aptitude is a person’s natural ability to see and create concepts in an aesthetically pleasing way. People with artistic aptitudes are creative and nature and excel in art, design, and fashion careers.

Why is it important to know your aptitudes?

Knowing your particular aptitudes is beneficial for several reasons, including that it:

  • Helps you better understand the careers that best suit your specific skills and abilities
  • Gives you a better understanding of your unique strengths and personality
  • Increases your chances of success in the workplace
  • Provides you with direction as to which skills you should focus on honing
  • Offers insight into any hidden talents or ability you may have that are beneficial in the workplace

Determining your aptitudes

The best way to determine your aptitudes is to take one or more aptitude tests. There are several different aptitudes tests available that you can take online. The most popular types of aptitude tests include:

  • In-tray tests: In-tray tests are exercises that simulate an email inbox and require you to respond to a hypothetical scenario such as an email received or the organization of tasks.
  • Inductive reasoning tests: These tests look for a person’s ability to identify underlying patterns and connect them in a logical way.
  • Cognitive tests: A cognitive ability test assesses an individual’s ability to work through problem-solving and reasoning exercises.
  • Watson Glaser tests: This aptitude test analyzes a person’s capacity for thinking critically and coming to logical conclusions. This test includes five different types of questions that include assumptions, interpretations, deductions, inferences, and argument evaluation.
  • Numerical reasoning tests: A numerical reasoning aptitude test assesses a person’s ability to analyze and interpret information and perform basic math functions including percentages and factions.
  • Diagrammatic tests: This aptitude test assesses an individual’s ability to use logical reasoning by incorporating a particular set of rules from one situation into a new situation.
  • Verbal reasoning tests: A verbal reasoning aptitude test measures someone’s ability to understand and interpret text and come to accurate conclusions.
  • Situational judgment tests: This aptitude test analyzes an individual’s ability to use sound judgment when resolving work-related issues.

How are aptitudes different from interests?

There are a few key differences between aptitudes and interests. Aptitudes are a person’s innate abilities to perform specific tasks and excel in particular situations, while interests come from someone’s experiences and knowledge. Whereas aptitudes typically remain constant over time, a person’s interests can change depending on their experiences.

For example, while you may have enjoyed building model airplanes when you were 12, you’ll likely have different interests as you get older. However, the artistic aptitudes that allowed you to excel at building model airplanes will stay with you throughout your lifetime.

Highlighting your aptitudes when applying for jobs

Knowing and highlighting your aptitudes when applying for jobs can help set you apart from the competition. Here are a few areas in which you can emphasize your aptitudes during your job search:

On your resume

You can include your aptitudes on your resume by mentioning them in both the skills section and in your job descriptions. Provide specific examples of how you used these aptitudes in your previous work experiences.

On your cover letter

Choose one or two aptitudes that are related to the job your applying for and mention them in the second paragraph of your cover letter. Provide a specific example of each aptitude in relation to how they allowed you to excel in a previous work position.

In a job interview

Interviewers often ask several questions that give you the opportunity to discuss your aptitudes. For example, if an interviewer asks you what your strengths are in the workplace, you can mention one or more of your aptitudes and how they allow you to excel at work.

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