Considering that most of us spend the better part of our adult lives at work, identifying and pursuing a career that matches our individual personality and personal interests is important.
But figuring out what types of jobs will mesh well with our personality type can be easier said than done. Research shows that we tend to be bad at predicting how much we’ll like something in the future, which may account for the fact that so many of us are unhappy in our current careers.
With that said, though, finding the right work environment is possible. So whether you’re changing careers after years in the same profession or are just starting out, here are a few tips for finding a job that matches your personality.
Consider your personal values
Although things like salary and opportunities for advancement are important to consider when choosing a career path, you should also consider your personal values and preferences.
For instance, some people may value flexible working hours and the ability to travel. Others might place more importance on having a fixed schedule and making a lot of money.
If you’re not sure what is important to you, a personal values assessment can help you identify your priorities. To do this, find a free work value checklist online and then rate the different intrinsic, extrinsic and lifestyle values on a scale of 1 to 10.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to narrow down the highest scoring values. This will give you a much clearer picture of what your personal values are and what you should be looking for in a job.
Take a career personality test
Although you shouldn’t base your career decisions on the outcome of a personality test, the truth is that taking a career quiz will give you a better insight into your professional interests and work style as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
In fact, research shows that more than 60 percent of hiring managers are now using personality tests to screen applicants.
Keep in mind, though, that if you want to get an accurate result and find a job that truly matches your personality, it’s important to answer the questions as honestly as possible rather than providing the sort of answers you think employers would want to see.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Although there are as many types of personalities as there are people, the two main personality types are introvert and extrovert. Taking into account whether you are introverted or extroverted will help you find a job and work environment that suits you.
For instance, introverts tend to avoid the spotlight and prefer working on their own or in smaller groups. Extroverts enjoy work environments where they have a chance to interact with lots of different people and be at the center of attention.
Once you know what your personality type is, check out this infographic to learn more about the best careers for both introverts and extroverts.
Get input from those around you
Sometimes, the people who are closest to you have a better insight into your personality than you do yourself. They’ve had a chance to observe you in a variety of social situations and can shed light on your strengths as well as areas that might need improvement.
So when narrowing down your job options, try asking some of your closest friends, family members and teachers you trust for advice on what types of jobs they think you’d do well in.
Of course, you shouldn’t make your decision based solely on someone else’s opinion. But getting input from others just might spark an interest in an area you hadn’t previously considered. In fact, research shows that over half first-year undergraduates became interested in a particular career through somebody they knew.
Finally, if you’ve researched which jobs might match your personality type, have taken career quizzes and even talked to your friends and family but still feel unsure, you may want to consider seeking advice from a career counselor.
Career coaches or counselors specialize in helping job seekers understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify their career goals, and develop a realistic plan to get there. So if you feel stuck, a career coach might be just what you need to move forward.
Marianne Stenger is a writer with Open Colleges. She covers career development, workplace productivity and self-improvement. You can connect with her on Twitter and Google+, or find her latest articles here.