Looking for work that’s more satisfying and engaging? Let your personality traits and unique talents show you the way. 

Considering so much of your time is spent at work, finding ways to feel fulfilled daily will allow the positivity to spill into other parts of your life. That’s why finding a career that maximizes your strengths is so critical. Because when your job fills your cup instead of draining it, it follows that you’ll feel more satisfied, engaged, and successful.  

There are financial benefits as well. According to a study published in the journal of Psychological Science, “Individuals can earn additional income of more than their monthly salary per year if they hold a job that fits their personality. Thus, at least for some traits, economic success depends not only on having a ‘successful personality’ but also, in part, on finding the best niche for one’s personality.” In short, we thrive when we are put in an environment that lines up with who we really are. 

In addition, those who ignore the facets of their personalities are more at risk of having a dull job. 

“If you feel the need to hide or alter your personality at work, it can lead to depression, resentment about your job, and poor engagement,” says HR recruiting expert Kelly Garst. “Obviously, most of us act a bit differently at work versus letting loose with friends, but it becomes a problem if you feel like you can’t be authentic at work.” 

So, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, thinker or feeler—gaining a deeper understanding of your personality-related strengths will serve you well. Here’s how.   

Step 1:  Explore your personality through career aptitude tests 

Personality and career aptitude tests are an easy way to start thinking about how personality and work intersect. You’ve likely done these kinds of assessments in the past. But, even if you’ve taken a test before, try it again to see if your priorities have changed over time. 

These tests can be pricey, so see if your employer already has access. If not, here’s a list of similar tests you can take for free to get some high-level insights. All of these assessments are thought starters—not set in stone. You know you more than anyone, so think about assessments as a starting point in your bigger journey. 

Step 2: Do some serious self-reflection 

After reviewing a few personality tests, it’s time to do some self-analysis. Write your thoughts down and set aside some time to explore questions such as: 

  • What are my values/personal priorities? What makes a job fit with those values/preferences? What kinds of careers align with those values?
  • What kind of work makes you feel alive and energized? When do you get so immersed that you lose track of time? What topics do you love to explore? What bores you or gives you anxiety?
  • What’s your dream job? What would your ideal role be like? What parts of that job bring you energy? Are there other jobs where you can find it as well?
  • What stands out when you reflect on your entire career? What accomplishments are you most proud of? How did you accomplish them? Where have you felt your most confident and effective? What was it about the job/situation that helped your strengths shine through?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make? What gives you a sense of fulfillment? How do you want to be remembered?

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Step 3: Brainstorm and research career options 

We often focus on careers that we should do based on our education or experience. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Based on your reflections, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Brainstorm careers that might fit your personality without restrictions. Don’t hold back on ideas—like all brainstorming, more options are good. If you’re struggling, ask some trusted friends or family members to help.
  2. Choose 3-4 of the ideas that interest you and create career scenarios. Think about what it would take to make that career a reality. 
  3. Research those "ideal" careers. Set up informational interviews with people who have those jobs today to ensure your vision of the job is accurate. Once your job options are thoroughly vetted, you’ll have a new—and possibly surprising—path ahead of you. 

Finding a career that matches your personality is possible 

Conventional wisdom often insists that enjoying your job is unrealistic. Kelly Garst has found the opposite in her work as an HR interim recruiter.  “Every day, I see people transition to a career that better fits their personality,” says Garst. “Many have made the jump from corporate jobs to interim work because it’s a better fit for their values and lifestyle. It’s exciting to see how the path they’ve chosen impacts every part of their lives, in ways big and small.” 

Interim work doesn’t have to be limited to people who are early in their careers or are just building technical skills.  Interim work includes all management levels, Garst reports. “I talk to professionals at all points in their careers, all the way to the c-suite level,” Garst explains. “Some are choosing interim work as a post-retirement plan, to stay active and add value. Some pursue interim roles to explore new industries, stretch their skills, or as a career path that provides greater flexibility in their lives. Giving people these options can be life-changing for them.” 

Getting the perspective you need to find work that meshes well with your personality may take a little effort. But in the long run, feeling more satisfied, engaged and confident at work is definitely worth it. 

Learn more about interim professional work

Join the Interim Network or review available jobs today.