Find Good-Fit Careers for Your Personality

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Get matched with careers that could fit your personality.

By Tony Moton

Character traits can go a long way in determining how successful and satisfied you'll be in your career.

Just ask career experts Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin.

"Your personality type affects your satisfaction with the job, your productivity in it, and the likelihood that you will persist in this type of work," write Farr and Shatkin in their book "Best Jobs for Your Personality".

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This connection between personality and careers became the focus of researcher John L. Holland's studies in the 1950s, when he developed six personality types as they related to occupations:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

Keep reading to find your personality type. Then see which careers are a good fit for you.

Personality Type #1: Realistic

If you like hands-on work, then you likely fit into the realistic personality type. "Doers," as they are also known, generally enjoy projects that require tools or machines. Realistic personality types are employed by the largest number of occupations, according to authors Farr and Shatkin.

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Smart career options for realistic personality types include chefs and head cooks ($44,240, average annual salary*) and computer hardware engineers ($101,410*).

Careers for realistic personalities can also be found in the health care industry, including pharmacy technicians and physical therapist assistants ($48,590*).

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Personality Type #2: Investigative

Do you love to analyze and solve complex problems? Do you consider yourself naturally curious? Are fact-finding missions your idea of a great time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are good that you fall into the investigative personality category.

Careers that require workers to exercise their mental muscles - like actuaries ($97,450*) and personal financial advisors ($94,180*) - are best suited for investigative personality types. To prepare for these types of positions, earning a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance could be helpful.

[Find Accounting/Finance schools]

Most investigative occupations require looking for clues and facts in order to get their work done, making paralegals ($50,080*), who assist lawyers in research and investigation, another great career option. To prepare for this position, earning a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies is a great step.

[Find Paralegal programs near you]

Personality Type #3: Artistic

As an artistic type, you find passion in creative expression. You're big on self-expression and thinking outside the proverbial box. When it comes to following rules, you're at your best when working independently or in situations others find too disorganized.

Occupations for artistic types involve working with forms, designs, and patterns. Career options for artistic personalities include graphic and web designers ($47,820*) and animators ($62,810*).

In today's high-tech job market, workers with an "artsy" side are finding themselves in demand. To prepare for a career in this field, degree programs in graphic design, web design, or animation can push you in the right direction.

[Find the right Creative Arts program for you]

Personality Type #4: Social

The gift of gab can yield wonderful dividends if you consider yourself a social personality type. Working with tools and instruments isn't your best fit. Social personalities prefer work situations where they can help others learn and develop.

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Good fit careers for social personalities generally revolve around care giving and helping others. Registered nurses ($66,530*) and mental health counselors ($41,710*) are just a few examples. Look into nursing and health care schools to help you prepare.

Another career option for social personalities is high school teacher ($55,150*). To get into this field, earning a degree in the subject you want to teach and completing a teacher prep program could offer great experience.

[Find Education and Teaching programs now]

Personality Type #5: Enterprising

Are you a self-starter with a knack for seeing projects through from beginning to end? You may just fall into the enterprising personality type. You're most interested in persuading others to help your visions turn into reality. Rather than thinking about getting something done, you go right ahead and act on your impulses.

Enterprising occupations are found in competitive work environments where strong leadership is needed. If that type of environment sounds right for you, consider pursuing a financial manager position ($113,730*).

[Find Accounting/Finance degree programs.]

Careers that require selling or influencing opinion - like marketing manager ($120,070*) or public relations specialist ($59,370*) - are also good options. To get into this line of work, earning a bachelor's degree in marketing/communications is a helpful start.

[Find Marketing/Communications schools now]

Personality Type #6: Conventional

A conventional personality type prefers to follow the guidelines and rules of tasks at hand. You do things "by the book," which means you are prone to getting the details just right. When exacting standards must be met, you are reliable and have the ability to organize and keep matters in an orderly fashion. Chaos, most likely, is the bane of your existence.

Two potential careers for conventional personality types are accountant ($67,430*) and bookkeeping clerk ($34,750*). To prepare for these careers and put your conventional skill set to good use, consider accounting degree programs as a starting point.

[Find Accounting schools and degree programs now]

Other careers for conventional personalities include pharmacy technicians ($28,940*) and dental assistants ($34,000*).

[Search for Dental Assisting programs now]

*Average annual income as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.

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