Job search is a stressful experience for those who seek new employment, as well as those who have been recently laid-off. There are so many book blogs in the market which provide job search advice and suggestions. While this advice can be helpful, the most effective job search will take account of your unique personality traits and talents. The strategy of personal branding has become ever more popular in job search circles and a significant aspect of branding is how you can create an impression which will set you apart from other job seekers. What factor sets you more apart than your unique personality!
Successful job search requires that you have a clear understanding of those factors which are of utmost importance with regard to a new job. We all have in-born preferences that affect the decisions we make in all areas of our lives. With regard to job search, these preferences can include whether we wish to work with other people or independently, whether we prefer a casual or conservative environment, whether we prefer a creative career or like to work with numbers or hard data.
Personality typing is one of the most popular methods methods to help you determine your ideal career. The results of a comprehensive personality type assessment will describe your natural inclination in each of the following four categories:
- Extroversion vs. Introversion: Are we energized by interacting with others or or by being more solitary?
- Sensing vs. iNtuition: This refers to how take you take in new information; do you need hands on experience or are you able to process information abstractly and without access to direct evidence?
- Thinking vs. Feeling: How do you make decisions? Do you prefer to analyze a situation or can you go with your “gut” feeling?
- Judging vs. Perceiving: This refers to how you structure and order your world. Do you like to have things decided and planned or do you prefer to keep things more open-ended and flexible?
Before commencing a job search, take a good quality personality type assessment, like the TypeFinder, and be guided in your career choice by what the test shows about your personality. There is a wealth of data about what careers are popular for each type, so understanding your personality type can help you to choose a career that makes use of your natural talents. For example, Extroverted individuals will enjoy careers like sales where there is the opportunity to interact with many different people. Introverts may prefer careers where there is more independent work, such as computer programmer or lab technician.
Beyond choosing a career path, however, your assessment can also help you to structure your job search process, and to understand some common blind spots that may keep you from being successful in your search. Each personality preference has strengths and weaknesses in the job search process, and being aware of these can improve your chances of landing your ideal job.
The Extroversion/Introversion facet plays a significant part in the interview process. The tendency toward Extroversion can make someone able to communicate very freely and portray a confident demeanor. Because Extroverts tend to speak “on the fly” it can happen that they say things they wish they could take back! This is especially the case with difficult or awkward interview questions such as “Why is there such a large gap in your employment history?” Conversely, Introverts will naturally take a few moments to gather their thoughts before answering. The key here is not to take too long a pause lest the interviewer get the impression that you are trying to come up with a suitable story! In either case, the most effective interview strategy is to practice, practice, practice so that you are not speaking “off the cuff” but have well prepared responses to all questions. Pace your cadence so that you do not rush your words or take too long to respond.
Networking is also affected by the Extroversion/Introversion facet. Extroverts tend to love networking; they naturally share their process and enjoy exploring the opportunities presented by their many social connections. For Introverts, networking is often a chore. Introverts tend to dread small talk and usually dislike “selling” themselves. Introverts may find more success networking in low-profile ways, through social networking websites or email, or by seeking out a few strong networking prospects to pursue individually, rather than trying to chat up a roomful of strangers!
The Sensing vs. iNtuition preference influences what part of a given job description you pay the most attention to, as well as what part of the interview you are most attuned. For example, if you have a Sensing preference, you will likely be more attuned to such job details as schedule, specific job responsibilities, evaluation measures, salary, and benefits. If you have an Intuitive nature, you will be more likely to key into such intangibles as professional development learning opportunities, company mission, values, and strategic plan, etc. Make sure to consider those aspects of a career that are not as obvious to you; so if you’re an Intuitive, be sure to go through a checklist of practical considerations for a job as well as imagining the possibilities for the future.
The Thinking vs. Feeling facet will be most evidenced in the types of jobs you find appealing. If you are more of a Thinking person you will very likely be attracted to careers which are technical or numbers oriented, such as systems analyst or accountant. If you have more of a Feeling nature, you may be more attracted to service-oriented professions, humanitarian organizations, or other positions where your work is consistent with your personal values. Such careers can include social workers, teacher, nurse, customer service representative, etc. This facet is also evident in the interviewing process. Feelers will often focus on being likeable and building rapport with an interviewer. Thinkers will focus more on demonstrating competence and intelligence. While both approaches have a place, you’ll want to be aware of your own style so you can assess whether it is working in an interview. If you’re trying to make friends and your interviewer is all business, you will want to be able to shift gears to better match her style.
The Judging/Perceiving facet will influence your process in the job search: how you identify new job opportunities, follow-up on interview invitations, and accept job offers. Judgers tend to be more methodical through the job search process. If you’re a Judger you will be likely to take notes regarding the positions you applied in terms of job title, salary, persons who you spoke with, hiring process, etc. If you are more perception-oriented, you are more apt to allow the process to move along on its own momentum. Perceivers react to new information as it comes, rather than taking a step-by-step approach. Each approach has its benefits and downsides; Judgers may need to work on being flexible and responding to last-minute information and changes, while Perceivers may need to work on developing a structure for their job search so they don’t lose sight of their end goals.
If you are a Judger, you also may not move forward with some jobs based on first impressions; you may make a quick decision based on how the job description reads or initial information you may have obtained during any telephone pre-screening. Judgers may need to challenge themselves to keep options open and explore all the possibilities. On the other hand, if you have a Perceiving orientation you will likely take the time to explore all aspects of the job a bit further before making any final decisions regarding whether or not to pursue it. However, Perceivers are more likely to put off a decision and may waffle until it is too late. If you’re a Perceiver, you may need to push yourself to settle on one path before an opportunity passes you by.
While it is very helpful to know your particular personality preferences with regard to job search, every job seeker’s process can be improved by awareness of areas where they have blind spots. There are occasions when it will be more constructive to stretch beyond your natural inclination. For example, if you are an Introvert you may need to engage in networking to obtain job leads via the hidden job market. If you are Judger you may need to suspend your tendency to judge quickly and be flexible enough to pursue all opportunities that come your way. After all, the goal of job search is to obtain a job!