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Can Knowing Your Personality Type Help You Choose the Right Career?

Can We Really Choose The Right Career?

Everyone is asked the same daunting question. What we are going to do for the rest of our lives? Oftentimes, we have no clue what that looks like or know where to begin in a search with endless possibilities. There are thousands of careers to choose from and little to no tools that serve as guides to help us in the decision-making process to choose the right career. With nearly 80 percent of the population not enjoying their jobs, it is apparent our current process for career selection isn’t working to help us make such an important decision. A tool that students can leverage is understanding their personality type.

Positive Personality Profiles

According to Robert Rohm in his book Positive Personality Profiles, he explains that there are four different personality types, or temperaments, that exist in human behavior. Everyone has a mixture of each, but some are more dominant in a person than others. Here’s a quick overview of the four temperaments:

Choleric (kuh·leh·ruhk): Extroverted, oriented towards tasks. These are born leaders, determined to complete any task, not afraid to speak their mind, and enjoy new challenges. 

Sanguine (sang·gwn): Extroverted, oriented towards people. These are the life of the party, they love social interactions, talking a lot (good at public speaking), and are motivators.

Melancholic (meh·luhng·kaa·luhk): Introverted, oriented towards tasks. These are perfectionists, very detail-oriented and organized. They strictly follow rules, and are usually quiet and observant.

Phlegmatic (fleg·ma·tuhk): Introverted, oriented towards people. These are usually quiet and shy, and avoid conflict. They are peacemakers, submissive and follow directions, and are sentimental and sweet.  

Which Personality Type Are You?

After analyzing and understanding these temperaments, you might find yourself to identify with more than one of the above. These temperaments are not meant to put someone in a specific box and limit them as to who they are or can be. Instead, they are to be seen as a tool to understand yourself better as to why there are certain tasks you struggle with and others you excel at. Understanding your temperament can serve as a guide in the decision-making process of your career path. While you may have an idea of which of these personality types you most closely identify with, to get a more clear picture you can take the following personality quiz.

Your Personality, Your Career

After you’ve identified your temperaments, it’s time to begin your career decision-making process. You want to select a career that fits your personality in order to prevent a lifetime battle with a profession you are not compatible with. Sure, you could eventually get good at this profession, but think of it this way. If you pick a career you are incompatible with, it would be like practicing to write with your off-hand. You can certainly improve your handwriting, but you it will take a lot of effort and you may never get as good as you already are with your strong hand. Plus, if you spent the same effort improving your handwriting with your already strong hand, imagine how immaculate your penmanship would be.

So which temperaments are predisposed to excel in which careers?

  • Sanguines are exceptional sales people, public relations specialists, customer service representatives, marketers, entertainers, actors, and directors.
  • Cholerics are fantastic business people, entrepreneurs, lawyers, management, programmers, engineers, statisticians, and preachers.
  • Melancholics are excellent researchers, engineers, artists, scientists, accountants, management, and social workers.
  • Phlegmatics are terrific nurses, teachers, psychologists, assistants, public relations specialists, psychiatrists, and police officers.

As we’ve seen, everyone is a combination of these temperaments. It is a matter of narrowing the thousands of careers down to a few based on your personality and then trying each of those before making any sort of commitment. When you are determining which careers you are interested in, consider the following scenarios.

Putting Personalities Into Perspective

Scenario 1

Martha is someone who has identified herself as being sanguine choleric. She understands the strengths that come with these temperaments and decides to narrow her career choices by professions that possess these qualities. A profession that possesses these qualities is a teacher. It requires someone who loves to socialize with others yet is good at leading a class. They are motivated and good at public speaking. On the other hand, if Martha didn’t understand her personality type and were put at a desk behind a computer all day; she could potentially get bored easily and dislike her job as she yearns for another profession that would allow her to socialize with others.

Scenario 2

Isaac is someone who has identified himself as being melancholic phlegmatic. A profession that would possess the qualities of these temperaments would be a scientist or software developer. Someone who is detail-oriented, observant, and who doesn’t mind the lack of social interaction. Also, someone who follows directions and formulas with exactitude. Whereas if you were to put David in a profession as a salesperson, they likely wouldn’t enjoy it due to their timid, more observant than talkative behavior.

Scenario 3

Daniel is someone who has identified himself as being choleric melancholic. A patent lawyer is a profession that would fit his temperament. Lawyers require someone who is detail-orientated and very observant but, also who takes on new challenges with determination and isn’t afraid to speak their mind. Whereas an example of a profession that could be challenging is in a hospitality field that involves more social skills. David could be out of his comfort zone due to his observant, less talkative, and more task-oriented nature.

While the above scenarios are simply examples to help clarify how personalities can be used to determine professions, there are many options for each and every combination of temperaments. Plus, you can be or do whatever you put your mind to, considering your personality will just allow you to have to work less at certain fields and allow you to be more comfortable in your profession.

Choose The Right Career

Remember, first narrow your career paths, then go out and get real-world experience in the fields you are most interested in. Whether it be through internships, job shadows, or summer programs that allow students to try multiple professions in one summer, like OmniLYF, the important thing is that you determine for yourself which career path is best for you before committing the time and money towards following any particular path.

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