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Personality Traits and Career Fit: How Personality Affects Career Choice

How Personality Affects Career Choice

Summary: Career path quizzes and other assessments can help you identify your strengths and what workplaces you would most thrive in.

Navigating Your Personality Traits and Finding a Great Career Fit

Navigating Your Personality Traits

A good career combines skills and interests, but a great career also fits your personality. What you like to do, how you approach new situations, react to people and events, and make decisions affect every part of your career. When a job meets more of your personal preferences, it becomes a better career fit.

Analyze Your Personality Traits

Researchers use statistical techniques to narrow down key personality traits. One personality theory that has received a lot of research is the Five Factor or Big Five Personality Theory. It suggests that everyone’s personality can be described as a combination of five major factors. The Big Five Personality Traits include:

  • Openness to experience – Your preference for routine or adventure
  • Introversion or extroversion – How outgoing and sociable you are
  • Conscientiousness – How you think and act toward responsibilities and commitments
  • Emotional stability – How easily you get excited or upset
  • Agreeableness – How cooperative you tend to be

What are your personality traits? You can use these personality traits assessments as a starting point to learn more:

Choose the Personality Traits That Describe You Best

Choose the Personality Traits That Describe You Best

After taking some assessments, you probably have a long list of adjectives that describe your personality traits. Now choose a few of these adjectives that best describe your work-related personality. Use the following steps to identify your best work-related personality traits:

  1. Look for patterns – Go through the results from the different personality tests you completed and look for traits that are repeated in your results.
  2. Summarize – Sum up several similar words in a single term. For example, if your list includes the words and phrases punctual, timely, prompt, and meets deadlines, you might choose one of these words to summarize them all.
  3. Prioritize – Choose your top five to seven personality traits and create a list. Also, note why you believe these words describe you best.

Explore Your Personality Type

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (also called the MTBI or simply the Myers-Briggs) is a popular personality trait test that is based on psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung’s ideas. Research suggests that people with various combinations of these four traits tend to think and behave similarly. The Myers-Briggs assigns people a four-letter code that indicates their combination of these four traits, and there are 16 possible codes or types.

Completing personality tests is the most common method for analyzing your personality type. Here are some online personality type tests. Remember to take several tests, analyze your results, and read the descriptions of all personality types to help you decide which personality type fits you best.

How Traits Support Careers

In addition to your skills, values, and interests, personality traits can be an important factor when choosing a career. If you describe yourself as introverted, you might find a fulfilling career as a researcher or forest ranger rather than in a busy office interacting with a large group of co-workers. If you see yourself as very responsible, you might prefer a career that organizes and manages a company’s employees or products. And if you like routine and repetition, you might find more satisfaction in a job with those exact requirements.

Whatever the personality traits that fit you best, there is also a career that is a fit. When reading career descriptions or job hunting, look for job characteristics and environments that appeal to your personality choices. As the Greek philosopher Socrates said, “Know yourself.” Your career might be a more rewarding one because of it.

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