Qualifications? I have my bachelor’s degree. Skills? No problem, I’m trained for the task. Experience? Got that too. So think you’re set for the job? Not quite, there’s an X Factor which you should consider. Think of it as a central puzzle piece. When you find it, the picture becomes clearer. People, we’re talking about personality!
By JOSH RAYAN
Possessing the right qualifications, skills and experience are crucial to job success. But your character and personality traits are crucial to determining whether you’ll cruise along smoothly on the career track; or chug painfully slow with the handbrake pulled up. Or worse, you may get derailed! Yet, many people don’t even consider the character factor let alone understand it. They jump into jobs that clash with their personalities. The result – job dissatisfaction and frustration as well as job burn-out before their time. Instead of taking the express coach on the railroad to success, they’re trapped on the train to nowhere.
If you can match your personality with your profession, you’ll be much happier and your prospects will shine brighter. So where’s the best place to start looking for a job? The Classifieds? At a recruitment agency? Or at notice boards? You should start with yourself. Your ‘job journey’ starts with you.
The personality factor is becoming increasingly important in hiring decisions for most of our clients, multinationals and blue chip companies,” says Chong See Ming, Head of Communications, at a leading employment consultancy. “The more ‘engaging’ or fitting the candidates’ personality, the better their chances of building and managing positive and beneficial relationships with employees, clients, suppliers, the media and other stakeholders,” she clarifies.
Check this out. Based on a Wall Street Journal Report, an increasing number of companies in France, Spain, Holland and Israel, are now requesting that job candidates hand write their resumes instead of printing or typing them.
Why? So prospective employers may analyse the different handwriting styles to discover applicants’ personalities and whether their character traits make them suitable for the job or otherwise (source: http://www.myhandwriting.com).
The point hits home too. Many companies in Singapore are already implementing such application screening techniques. Based on the current trend, you can only expect this number to gain in momentum. Employers want to hire the most ‘personality qualified’ candidate for the vacancy.
Now wouldn’t knowing your personality give you an edge to enhance your prospects and opportunities? French philosopher, Rene Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am”. What he meant was that our mindset and personality influences how we react to our environment, our communication styles and who we are as people. In other words, our personality impacts our mental and physical conditioning and actions, which in turn makes us suitable (or not) for a particular situation such as a job or profession. But finding your very own personality-profession connection isn’t difficult. The key is to keep an open mind and learn about yourself.
CONSULTING FAMILY & FRIENDS
Get Feedback to stay on track. Most of us don’t know everything about ourselves. Unless you have a camera monitoring you 24/7, like in some Reality TV show, it’s next to impossible for you to view and review yourself completely. But family, friends and career counsellors can help. They’re in a better position to view your verbal responses, actions and habits. They can confirm/refute pre-exiting self perceptions; stuff like “Yes, you are creative” or “No, you’re more of an analytical person rather than a spontaneous one”. So get people around you to help. Start the session off by asking them some simple questions like:
· Describe me in five words.
· What job do you think best suits me and why?
· Or try the direct approach, how would you describe my personality?
You can also ask five or more friends to list down what are your 10 most positive and negative traits. Later, look up which traits appear the most. Ask your friends why they think in such a way. This will give you richer insights and a better understanding of yourself. Remember; only ask reliable sources that can give you reliable answers. It’s your life; make sure your respondents take it seriously.
Professional Counsellors have assessment tests that integrate a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques.Two instruments that measure and record personality types are the Keirsey Temperament Sorter© and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator®. Plus their expert advice and experience could be the spark you need to see the light. Watch out: These tests come with a price tag! But if you can spend, then you may want to keep the option open. Alternatively, there are many free psychometric tests on the Internet that will give you a glimpse of your personality. In making life easier for you, we’ve listed a few. Log on to:
The last option is super as it has many test sites listed on one page. Several choices available at your fingertips…and a few clicks of your mouse!
MATCH JOBS WITH MY PERSONALITY
My job, my personality. What suits me? Wonder no more, read on to find out.
If you’re an extroverted, aggressive person who likes to be around people and has a flair for conversation, a sales or marketing position would be suitable for you.
For those who are technically inclined, possess strong visualisation skills, have a strong affinity with tangible objects and are able to focus deeply on a specific area or topic without being wavered by distractions, engineering could be your field.
Can you remember facts, analyse them and report them in an accurate manner? Have a nose for news? You have the makings to be an outstanding journalist. But if you’re more adventurous in nature; like challenges and love the outdoors, than travel writing may be a better option.
Some people love a regimented lifestyle – joining the armed forces or the police, could be a great choice for them. Those who are more abstract and creatively inclined may want to venture into the arts or music. There’s drama and theatre too, if you’re the bold, artistic and gregarious type.
Someone who is a conformist, prefers to blend in the crowd but at the same time has a confident extroverted nature is suited for administrative or managerial positions. Think managers, executives, and so on.
Are you a numbers person? Are you introverted and generally quiet? You’d make a good auditor or accountant. Your bosses will sleep better knowing you won’t divulge confidential figures! If you’re calm and cool and an adventurer at heart, fancy being a pilot or working with the maritime industry?
Moving to creative characters, those who are outgoing and handle pressure well may find that a career in advertising or Public Relations could be on their cards. As for the artistic but more reserved types, then becoming a graphic designer or illustrator is a better option.
If you’re passionate about helping people and have a strong social conscience, then working in a hospital or old folks home or serving with non-governmental bodies is an option. Let’s take it further. If you like caring but also enjoy making split second, life and death decisions, then the emergency room is where you need to be. If you’re good at resolving issues, like to dominate proceedings, relish complex concepts and mind games, try pursuing law. Most lawyers possess these traits.
Those who are academically inclined, think logically; are systematic and organised may find technical fields to be like their second home. Chemistry and physics are just two areas they may wish to pursue.
THE HAPPINESS HYPOTHESIS
The 3P philosophy – passions point to personalities which point to profession. Do you like to draw? What about solving sums? Does teaching people make you feel satisfied? These could be windows to your personality. An adventurous, outdoor person would be more inclined for outdoor activities. A technological, methodological mind would be more suited for dealing with computers and machines.
Find out what you like to do best and work your way from there. You’ll have to pay closer attention to yourself. Learn to observe when you’re happiest, when you’re enjoying yourself or deriving pleasure from your life. A good trick is to go down memory lane and reminisce about your adolescence or childhood days. Somewhere down that road, you’re bound to recall interests and pursuits which you had enjoyed. For instance, I knew a friend who loved playing soccer and loved writing during his teens. Today, he’s a sports writer for a leading local publication. Try it; you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Sometimes, after all the soul searching, you may only have a blurry answer or no answer at all. No problem, it’s perfectly OK if you’re still lost in the woods. Figuring out your personality and what job suits you best is not a five-minute affair. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
If you’re facing such a scenario, use the reverse method.
Instead of discovering your personality to find your profession, find your profession first to unearth your personality. The task is simple. Get a job and see how it fares out. If you’re over the moon with it, then you’ve hit the jackpot! There’s a personality and job match. If you’re down in the dumps, be glad that you know what does not work for you.
Start with a freelance or part time position. If it’s smooth sailing, then make the position a more solid one. If you hit dangerous waters, then it’s time to find new options. Feel free to venture into different industries and occupations. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But do try to make the stints last. Stay at any one organisation for at least a few months to a year before moving on. Most employers are quite understandable about job hopping when you’re young.
But if you start leapfrogging every couple of weeks, then you’re creating a bad reputation for yourself. And remember, it’s a small world!
Hit the books to gain a better perspective into yourself. There is some good self-development literature that many people have found useful. Get a copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R Covey). Awaken The Giant Within (Anthony Robbins) and Dare To Fail (Billi Lim). If they helped others, they may be able to help you too!
The self-discovery journey is a good step and not one to worry about. Enjoy the exploration and make the most of this learning period. Discovering your personality could be one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps you achieve the career satisfaction you desire, but more importantly, help you build the foundation for a more fulfilling life. Whether in a career or in life, the journey always starts with you!
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