“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s often one of the first questions we ask children when we meet them, and it’s a piece of information they’re usually more than willing to volunteer. Kids want to be astronauts, teachers, acrobats, singers, firefighters, police officers, cowboys and doughnut-shop workers.
This question of what we want to do with our lives doesn’t fade as we grow up, even though our answers to the question certainly evolve over time. We find we possess abilities and talents that make us uniquely capable in certain fields, and we discover new passions we wonder if we could ever turn into a career. Even long after most of us have settled into a career, it can be hard to forget that question, and it can be hard to stop wondering if you’re in the right career, or if there’s something else you could have done instead.
In the midst of these questions we all experience, have you ever stopped to ask yourself one crucial question? Have you ever asked yourself, “What are the best careers for my personality?” Even though you may have never asked this question, it’s an important one. By analyzing careers for personality types, you’re looking beyond the surface level. You’re looking closer into the psychology of careers, and you may be more likely to find a satisfying answer than you would be if you just asked yourself, “What do I think I might be good at?”
Today, we’re going to talk about how to find the best jobs based on personality types. Hopefully, by reading this, you’ll feel more confident in matching personality types and careers, and you’ll perhaps have found some new insight into career choices based on personality.
Let’s begin by breaking down the six big personality categories, talking about what defines them and looking at what jobs might be best suited to each type. As we go, see if you can figure out which personality group you best fit into.
1. Realistic Personality, or the Doer
People with this personality tend to enjoy spending time working with their hands. They enjoy making and fixing things, tinkering with tangible items they can see and feel in front of them. They like assembling and operating equipment and tools and doing physical work. They tend to work well with mechanical drawings, schematics, machines and tools.
One of the hallmarks of the realistic personality is an affinity for the physical and a distaste for the abstract. Doers would much rather work with their hands solving a physical problem than participate in an intellectual debate. They’d prefer to take apart a machine and see how it works than deconstruct the metaphors in a piece of epic poetry.
Don’t get the impression doers lack intellect or intelligence. The opposite is true, as doers are highly intelligent. Their minds, however, are at their best when applied to problems they can see and touch — problems that are right in front of them.
The realistic personality type tends to work best either alone or when paired with others with a similarly realistic mindset. They may clash when they’re forced to work with people with a more abstract mindset.
Because of this, doers are often highly successful when they engage in professions such as:
2. Investigative Personality, or the Thinker
The investigative personality is highly analytical. These thinkers enjoy studying math, science, computers and complex equations. They’re careful, precise and extremely detail-oriented. They enjoy teasing the answers out of complex problems other personality types might abandon in frustration.
Thinkers have a great gift for understanding the theoretical and being able to hold numbers and equations in their head, moving them around and manipulating them at will. They see themselves as grounded and intellectual and enjoy being known for their accomplishments.
Individuals with this personality type tend to be stubborn, not liking to back down from a puzzle or a problem until they’ve solved it. They’re capable of thinking about the same problem for as long as it takes before they finally figure out the solution, and they often won’t be able to rest until they do.
Thinkers work well by themselves, although they also work well when thrown together with other thinkers. They may clash when working with others of a less analytical nature, however, growing frustrated and short-tempered with others’ inability to conceptualize and solve problems.
Based on these personality traits, career choices for thinkers include:
3. Artistic Personality, or the Creator
This personality group delights in expressing themselves. They love to create, inspire and be inspired. They excel at pursuits such as composing music, painting pictures and writing poetry. They have a view of themselves that’s original and creative, and they hate being boxed into tasks that they see as ordered and repetitive, with no room for imagination.
The creator’s great gift is their capacity for original thinking. They have a fantastic ability to take something existing and dream up a new spin on it, or a new way to look at it. They will be extremely uninterested in completing a task that involves doing the same thing over and over again, exactly as prescribed.
Individuals with this personality type tend to value independence and freedom of expression. Others with a less artistic bent might see them as flighty, but they want the creative liberty to express themselves, explore possibilities and seek inspiration. What others might see as a flat and boring idea, they can turn into a springboard for something wildly inventive and original.
The artistic personality works well within a group setting, provided the group allows for creative thinking and free expression. They will feel stifled in a group that prescribes a set of rote tasks or seeks to shut down new ideas.
A creator will thrive in careers such as:
- Writer or editor
- Graphic designer
- Art teacher
4. Social Personality, or the Helper
People with a social personality are easy to recognize, as they frequently dominate the landscape of any place they inhabit. They’re passionate about helping others, and they aren’t afraid to share their ideas. They love to work closely with other people, and they find meaning from caring for other people and providing services. Because of the high value they place on care and empathy, they feel most fulfilled working with other people who have a similar attitude and who are also willing to help out and do their share of the work.
What sets a helper apart from other personality types is their ability to empathize. They enjoy connecting with others and are often great listeners. Most often, however, they’re not content to simply listen and observe. They’re driven to take action against problems they see, and motivated to create positive change and provide help and support to those who need it.
While this personality type may occasionally come across as domineering, this trait is because of the enormous amount of motivation the helper has. They see a problem and want to address it. They may become frustrated with others who feel a lack of motivation and don’t feel the compulsion to get things done.
The social personality works well in a group of equally motivated and passionate people, although they may become frustrated in a group of people who don’t share their same passion. They also work well in an instructive or administrative role, where they are the ones settings the tone and handing out tasks.
Helpers will find themselves at home in careers such as:
- Social worker
5. The Enterprising Personality, or the Persuader
If you’ve ever heard someone referred to as a born leader, that person most likely falls into this personality group. Persuaders are social, ambitious and are born talkers and leaders. They feel most comfortable when they’re in positions of authority, selling their ideas or someone else’s ideas. They place a high value on business, politics and other highly competition-based fields.
One of the great gifts of the enterprising personality is their ability to win people over, tell compelling stories and argue persuasively. They can take any situation, analyze their audience and know how to target their narrative of choice to this particular audience. It doesn’t matter if they’re selling a product, an idea or a social movement — they have a way with words that’s extremely adept at winning people to their side.
Others may see the persuader as slightly manipulative, and while this may be true, it isn’t always. Rather, this personality type simply has an innate grasp of focusing on the side of the story they know will resonate with people.
Enterprising personalities are naturally drawn to group settings, especially positions where they are in charge. However, they may clash with more scientific and analytical personalities, as Persuaders are less concerned with unraveling the exact shape of a problem in all its black-and-white nature, and more concerned with finding ways to win arguments and convince people of their perspectives.
Persuaders will naturally find themselves gravitating towards positions such as:
- School principal
- Real estate agent
- Sales manager
- Hotel manager
6. Conventional Personality, or the Organizer
Like thinkers, organizers are most comfortable when immersed in the world of numbers. They enjoy the order, organization and regularity in numbers, records and machines. They derive joy from completing repetitive tasks with high levels of precision. They’re highly likely to be perfectionists, and may not be satisfied until everything is in perfect order.
Above all else, the conventional personality is detail-oriented. They’re at their best when they’re focusing on the tiny, organizational details of a project. While others might lose patience with these minutiae, the organizer persists until they have everything perfect. No facet of a project is too small or too unimportant for the organizer to focus on.
Critics may think the organizer is too focused on the details and can’t see the big picture. And while this can be true, it’s more often the case that most individuals with this personality type simply find more fulfillment from laying the bricks, while others dictate the design of the building.
The conventional personality thrives in group situations where all members of the group have specific tasks, although they can work on their own as well. They’re usually most content when following prescribed instructions and completing assigned tasks.
Organizers are most likely to do well in careers such as:
- Mail carrier
- Executive assistant
- HR consultant
- Bank teller
Other Ways to Look at Your Personality
While these six personality types are one valid way to divide personalities into categories, it isn’t the only way. There are many different schools of thought about personality types and what sets them apart.
One the best-known types is the Myers-Briggs test, an in-depth study that puts you into one of 16 categories based on your different cognitive functions. While there is an official version of this test you can take, it’s also possible to take an unofficial free test to determine your personality type.
There is also the ever-relevant Enneagram test that divides people into nine different categories based on their personality. You can take this test to determine the category you fall into.
While there are countless more tests and categorization systems, these are two of the most popular and serve as excellent examples. While you can certainly find one assessment and stick with that, the more knowledge you gather and the more insight you gain into yourself, the more likely you are to find the career that’s best for you.
The advantage of learning more about your personality is the insight it can provide you about your career. By learning your base personality and your natural impulses, you may have greater success in finding a career according to personality that lets you channel your natural gifts and play to your strengths.
Personality and Career Choice at Vista College
Once you’ve investigated your personality, it’s time to begin looking at possible career options. Have you decided you’re a social personality? Why not look for some good teacher training programs? Or do you think you might be an investigator? Maybe it’s time to look into engineering.
No matter your personality and no matter your natural gifts, there’s something for everyone at Vista College. Using your newfound knowledge of personality types for careers, browse our list of programs and fields of study. While you’re at it, you might check out our guide — “The Best Career for Your Personality Type.” You never know what you might learn about yourself.