Match Your Career To Your Personality
Are you wondering how to match your career to your personality? Does your job feel like a badly fitting coat that you really have to stop wearing? Are you thinking of a career change and trying to find something that will suit your personal style?
Good idea! Personality matching is an aspect of career choice and career change that is often overlooked and yet a poor match between career and personality is often the source of much frustration on the job.
Here’s what you should do.
Take a personality test
First of all you need to have some useful measure of your personality. There are many free personality quizzes out there, some better than others. As a career coach, my long term favourite is MBTI or the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The thing I like about this personality assessment is that it helps you to understand how you prefer to behave, but does not pigeon-hole you rigidly into a specific personality type. Indeed, there is a suggestion that your personality will mature as you grow and so what may seem like ‘you’ at 20 will probably look rather different by the time you are 50! You can take a look at a simple personality type quiz on my How To Change Careers website and there are many more variations on the internet.
Take a pinch of salt!
No personality test is perfect. No test is really able to capture exactly who you are, so always take the results with a pinch of salt. Do not let yourself be ‘labelled’ or adopt a fixed and rigid view of who you are. Be ready to disagree with the results - they can be wrong! A lot depends on how you were feeling when you answered the questions and you could get a different result if you tried the test again in a few weeks time.
But this doesn’t mean these tests are a waste of time though. A personality type test gets you thinking in detail about how you tend to habitually respond in a range of situations and puts this information together in a format that helps make your personal style clear to you. You may not agree entirely with what they say, but you will have done some useful thinking about yourself in the process.
Take a look at your job
Now take a look at the work you are currently doing in relation to the personality traits identified in the test you have taken. The key question is – does your job allow you to use your preferred ways of working or is it forcing you into an artificial ‘work persona’?
The most obvious example to use here is Extroversion and Introversion. These are personality characteristics that appear in most personality tests. How does this relate to your career? Well clearly if you are a quiet and private person who likes to take time over your work and needs space to reflect before responding to questions and problems, you will find it a challenge if you are in a job where you are constantly interacting with colleagues or clients or where all decisions have to be made collaboratively and quickly.
Conversely, if you are an outgoing people person, you will want to find work where you can get that interaction with others, because that is what gives you a buzz. You will probably prefer to do your problem solving by talking things through with people and would find it hard to work for long periods on your own. So a job that demands quiet concentration would be likely to drive you up the wall pretty quickly!
OK, this is a pretty obvious example, but it makes the point that the personality traits you can identify in yourself can be a very useful measure to help you assess whether a new career idea you are considering will be a good match.
Once you have identified the key aspects of your personality and especially if you have spotted a mismatch with your current career, you need to do something about it.
Assess how big the gap is between you and your job. In some cases you may feel you can stay put because the difficulties are not too severe. The next option, if you are finding your job quite a challenge, is to explore how you might be able to change some of your current duties and responsibilities within your existing role. If you are really at your wits’ end with your current role, then use your personality test as a starting point to help you find out what career ideas would be a better match for you.
Don’t just sit there in a job you hate – life really is too short. Match your career to your personality and start on the road to a more satisfying working life.
Author: Cherry Douglas, Your Career Change Guide