Of all the decisions that you take in life, a career decision has the most permanent impact on you. Whatever you choose to do for a living will most probably govern 70% of your life ahead. Thus, it helps if your career choice is in sync with “who you fundamentally are.” You are likely to have maximum job satisfaction in occupations that match your personality type. Personality type or the values that you stand for, will always govern what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. These traits or values must be taken into account for arriving at what type of career is suitable for you.
The degree to which your personality matches your career is a big factor in whether you will enjoy it. A poor match can lead to demotivation and poor performance. A good match means you are more likely to be successful and will enjoy going to work.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
Our personality traits control our emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions, attitude and behavior and they remain mostly consistent throughout our lives.
What your personality means for your career
The greater your self-awareness the more likely it is that you will make better career and life choices and feel more content because you will be living your life authentically. This is why it is important to learn more about your personality and come to a better understanding of your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses.
Self-assessment tools can be useful in helping you to develop your self-awareness and can play a great role in helping you to make important decisions about your next career move.
What is your personality type?
One way of determining your personality type is to just take a long and deep look at yourself. Asking questions is a great way of discovering who you are and what you are. There are some very good personality analyses tools available online.
Play to your strengths
“My best friend is the one that brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford
Work is much more enjoyable when you’re doing something you enjoy and you’re good at, so take some time to think about your key strengths, skills, experiences, knowledge and interests.
Here are some questions to ponder and jot down your answers
Tip: Your response to some of these questions may appear to be the same and that’s perfectly ok. Go with the flow and see where it takes you and if any themes appear.
Capture your strength
- What are my strengths in and outside of work?
- What do I really enjoy doing?
- What are my favorite skills?
- What do I do best? What am I good at?
- What are 3-6 of my strongest skills or competencies?
- What have been my greatest personal and work achievements?
- What do other people say I’m good at?
- What awards and certificates have I received?
- What have I been recognized for inside and outside of work?
- What type of activity or environment attracts me?
In a next step, you can take a look at your answers and make a list of any skills, interests, attributes that keep cropping up and stand out.
Now consider if your list of strengths can be clustered into themes and make notes.
You may have strengths that you recognize in yourself or others recognize in you but this doesn’t necessarily mean you want to use those strengths in your next career move.
So, now is the time to review your answers and make a note of those strengths you would like to make use of in your next role.
Tip: This is about you so be honest and don’t be influenced by other people who think you should do something because you are good at it.
There are many theories that establish the relationship between personality type and a matching career. One is by John Holland, coined in 1985.According to this theory; there are 6 types of vocational personality which could make individuals better predisposed to certain occupations. Holland’s fundamental underlying hypothesis is that people will have the most job satisfaction in occupations that match their personality type and so tend to choose a career that is reflective of their personality. Quoting John Holland himself, “people can function and develop best and find job satisfaction in work environments that are compatible with their personalities”.
These are the six personality types in brief. While each type is normally a part of us, usually one type is evidenced most strongly
- REALISTIC: outdoor type. These people tend to like and be good at activities that require strength and co-ordination. They are not too keen on socializing. They also like working with things (tools, machines etc). Examples of suitable jobs: Farmer, Truck driver, Pilot, Builder, Carpenter, etc
- INVESTIGATIVE: interested in logic and concepts. These people tend to enjoy and be good at abstract thought. They are often interested in science. They also like working with information (abstract ideas and theories) Examples of suitable jobs: Chemist, Mathematician, Pharmacist, Dentist, Researcher, etc
- ARTISTIC: tend to use their imagination a lot. They like to express their feelings and ideas. Dislike rules and regulations and enjoy music, drama and art. They also like creating things. Examples of suitable jobs: Artist, Actor, Dancer, Designer, DJ, Composer, Painter etc
- SOCIAL: enjoy the company of other people especially to help them. Tend to be warm and caring people. Example of suitable jobs: Nurse, Librarian, Counselor, Physiotherapist etc
- ENTERPRISING: also enjoy the company of other people, but mainly to dominate or persuade rather than help them. Enjoys actions more than thought. They also like to be the leaders. Examples of suitable jobs: Sales Rep, Headmaster, Lawyer, Managers, Journalist etc
- CONVENTIONAL: likes rules and regulations, structure and order. These people tend to be well organized with little or no imagination. Examples of suitable jobs: Secretary, Typist, Clerk, Factory worker etc
There are other theories which establish a relationship between career choice and personality types. One is Parson’s Theory. Parson’s Theory is advocated by careers advisers in which you analyze your skills, values, interests and personality and then match these up to jobs which use these.
If you know yourself, analyze your strengths and weaknesses well and plan your career accordingly, you can reap the benefit of being engaged in a satisfying and fruitful career forever.