Career

How Your Personality Type Can Help You Find Your Passion

Some people are born knowing what they want to do with their life, but for the rest of us it’s a constant game of trial and error.

Along the way we get a lot of input from teachers, friends and parents about what we could – or should – do, often based on what we excel at in school. Then, after training up for a particular career path, we’re unleashed on the workforce. If things don’t quite feel like a fit, it can be hard to know what to do. You’ve already spent this time at university or TAFE or working your way up the ladder. You could go back to the drawing board, and try to pursue something else you’re good at.

Or you could try another way: find out your personality type, and choose a career that compliments it.

That’s the premise behind the book Do What You Are, first published in 1992 and now republished with info tailored to Gen Y.

Traditionally, we’re told to do something related to our talents — e.g. “you’re good at maths, you should be an accountant.” But what if you’re also an extravert? Being stuck alone in an office might not suit you. This is where your personality type comes in.

“Traditional career advice takes into account the “big three”: your abilities, your interests, and your values,” explains Kelly Tieger, co-author of Do What You Are. “Personality type adds another dimension–your natural, inborn personality preferences that shape who you are.”

“[A person] might both be great at maths, but an Extravert might love to interact with many clients and provide customer service. An Introvert might enjoy working independently or within smaller groups of people they know well.”

She shares an example of how her best friend Erin used her personality type to choose a career.

“She was smart, capable, and naturally drawn to maths and sciences. Erin went to Cornell University with the plan to become an OB-GYN. But during a summer internship shadowing doctors, Erin had a realization.”

Erin thought she’d be supporting women throughout the birthing process, but found most of the doctors spend more time diagnosing rather than one-on-one.

“Erin changed her course and now works as a labor and delivery nurse. Her job is deeply satisfying to her because not only does it make use of her science and maths abilities, but it suits her detail-oriented and organized nature, and allows her to help people in a real way every day.”

Erin took a Myer’s Briggs personality test which revealed her type was ISFJ – this free, five minute assessment will help you find yours.

Kelly explains that while we all have our own mix of skills, talent and education, there are certain things we need to be satisfied in our work lives. Those factors are down to our personality, rather than what we studied at school.

She says by finding out how your personality type likes to work, you can zero in on your passions.

“Entering the workforce, or changing your career path, can be really intimidating. Armed with a lens for self-analysis that not only gives you insight into yourself, but also strategies tailor-made for you, can make a huge difference.”

She says as digital natives, millennials have a lot to offer in the workplace. “This doesn’t mean that every Millennial is destined to become a coder. The trick is to make use of both your cohort abilities, like an ease and familiarity with tech, and your individual personality type.”

She also encourages people to be clear about what they’re after, and to emphasise the skills they’d like to utilise when job searching.

“Personal branding in the job search is also key. It is more important than ever to know who you are and what you can uniquely offer an employer. Utilizing the lens of type can help you sell yourself to employers, and display self-awareness that is critical to both nailing a job interview and landing a job you’ll actually like.”