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Does Your Career Fit Your Personality?

Rachel Zupek, writer

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Everyone knows how hard it is to get along with others when there's a personality clash -- so imagine how hard it is to be happy in a career that does the same thing.

Similar to when you're looking for a mate, you want to find a career that complements your character, not conflicts with it. For example, if you're active and outgoing, you might not do well sitting behind a desk all day. By the same token, if you're shy and soft-spoken, you might not do well in a job that requires a lot of social interaction, and if you like working alone, you wouldn't thrive in a team setting.

Here we have six personality groups that seem to encompass the majority of people. From there, we've listed what jobs might best fit your needs.

Here are several vocations that are sure to complement your temperament. Please note that each requires different education, training and qualification requirements.

Personality: Artistic
What you're like: Artistic personalities are creative by nature, with imaginations that stretch further than others can conceive. These people like to express themselves through their work versus completing structured tasks. They like to work without rules, and enjoy working with forms, designs, colors, words and patterns.
Job matches:
Editor ... $47,811*
Graphic designer ... $48,891
High school drama teacher ... $52,856
Landscape architect ... $53,241
Perfumer ... $21,791
Producer ... $79,310

Personality: Conventional
What you're like: Conventional people like conventional things: Rules, procedures, schedules and instructions are all things that appeal to them. They prefer working with details and data versus ideas; they are practical and like routine and order.
Job matches:
Accountant ... $46,171
Actuary ... $97,354
Building inspector ... $47,735
Cost estimator ... $53,413
Financial planner ... $63,837
Technical writer ... $55,747

Personality: Enterprising
What you're like: Enterprise people are leaders. They like to see projects through from start to finish, business ventures in particular. They are doers more than thinkers and are more interested in the "big picture" than the small pieces that make it up.
Job matches: 
Advertising sales agent ... $39,103
Financial officer ... $77,019
Management analyst ... $63,610
Program director ... $48,382
Sales representative ... $44,784
Sales manager ... $85,091

Personality: Investigative
What you're like: Investigative people prefer to work alone. They like using logic over imagination, solving problems and mysteries, putting together pieces of a puzzle, precision and science, and they pay extreme attention to detail. 
Job matches:
Computer systems analyst ... $61,549
Librarian ... $48,025
Optometrist ... $95,058
Science professor ... $73,532
Software engineer ... $75,850
Statistician ... $59,830

Personality: Realistic
What you're like:  True to their name, realists are ... well, realistic. They are results-driven, hands-on people who like problems and solutions. They like working outdoors, as well as with machines, tools and jewelry.
Job matches:
Diagnostic medical sonographer ... $56,603
Electrician ... $35,158
Highway patrol pilot ... $69,098
Locksmith ... $34,148
Nuclear engineer ... $84,044
Orthodontist ... $271,373

Personality: Social
What you're like:  Social people like helping others and working with teams. They communicate well and thrive on human interaction, and they'd rather talk than work with machines or data. The best jobs for them are ones that let them be with other people.
Job matches:
Family practitioner ... $160,264
Personal coach ... $64,523
Personal trainer ... $24,881
School psychologist ... $49,622
Student affairs director ... $71,093
Teacher ... $44,137

Are you interested in learning more about the career path you're suited for? Check out all our career tests at

*Salaries according to

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Last Updated: 02/04/2009 - 10:11 AM

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