Career Choices – How to Choose Your Ideal Career

By ciqmanager / September 8, 2010

By Lisa McGrimmon

A big part of making smart career choices and gaining control over your career lies in understanding yourself. That means having a good sense of how your personality, abilities, and values work together to impact the type of career that is ideal for you.

red-gift-boxCareer and Personality Match

Ensuring a good career and personality match is an important step in building a satisfying and fruitful career, while a poor career and personality match can hold you back in your career success and happiness.

Imagine the difference between a sales professional who is extroverted and agreeable and one who is introverted and indifferent. Sales jobs tend to require an extroverted, agreeable personality profile, so that person would be more inclined to be a top performer on his or her team and truly enjoy the work. On the other hand, the introverted and indifferent individual would more likely struggle with inferior job performance, job dissatisfaction and possibly even career burnout.

A simple and effective strategy for understanding the ways your career choices and personality interact is through a valid personality assessment. Unlike simplistic, just-for-fun tests you may see in popular magazines, valid personality assessments are developed through vast amounts of objective scientific testing and volumes of psychological research to ensure they are a truly accurate measure of your personality and career options.

Match Your Career Choices with Your Natural Talents

An aptitude test can be used to assess your capacity to learn a variety of different skills. It can help you to understand the types of skills that you will likely learn easily and those that will be more challenging for you to learn.

Depending on the test that is used, aptitude tests can be used to assess everything from spatial perception to verbal ability to finger and manual dexterity. Most commonly, aptitude tests are used to assess general learning ability (your overall ability to learn and understand), verbal ability (language) and numerical ability (math).

A career aptitude test does not rely on skills that you have learned in the past. Although skills and aptitudes are related, your skills are things you have learned to do in the past. Your aptitudes are things that you have the ability to learn. So, even if you have not studied math at an advanced level, an aptitude test could still predict that you have the ability to learn math without undue difficulty.

Like interest tests, good aptitude assessments are developed using extensive objective scientific testing and research. A valid career assessment can provide useful information if you are considering training for a new career. The test will help to show areas of strength and forewarn you of areas where learning new skills may be more challenging.

If you do decide to take a career assessment test, it can help you to build a career around your strengths. You will understand yourself better, and be able to work with, promote and feel confident about your strengths.

Match Your Career Choices with Your Values

Matching values and career choices is an often overlooked aspect of career planning. Considering that the leading cause of job burnout is a mismatch between your personal values and the realities of your job, it’s important to assess your values and the ways they will be expressed in your career decisions.

It can be easy to slip into pursuing career rewards that do not fit with your own value system. Society tells us to value prestige, power and a high income. If those career accomplishments are within your own personal set of values, then pursuing those things will likely contribute to your happiness and career satisfaction.

However, if you value family friendly flexibility in your work schedule, creativity and helping others, then you’ll find more career satisfaction in pursuing those career goals. That doesn’t mean that you’re destined to be unhappy in a high paying job if high income is not one of your core values. However, it does mean that if earning a high income is not one of your primary values, that income will not make up for the shortcomings a job that goes against your own personal values.

If you decide you use a values inventory test to help you think through your important work values, keep in mind that, unlike interest and aptitude assessments, a values inventory is not a formal tool that has been validated through objective research. However, a values inventory is a great brainstorming tool to help you to assess things that motivate you and your needs as they are related to your career choices.

Often people struggle to state what they want out of their work (beyond an income), so a values inventory can help by prompting you to think through many possible work related values.

As you make your career decisions, keep in mind that some factors affect career choice in ways that are profound, but not immediately obvious. Matching your career choices and your personality, aptitudes and values is a smart step towards your career success and satisfaction.

Lisa McGrimmon has helped over two thousand clients achieve their career goals. If you’d like to learn exactly how to manage your career and gain enormous control over your future, visit Career Choice Guide For tips on making a career change please visit her site.

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