[10.24.11]
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Does Your Career Match Your Personality?

job search, human interest, radio stations, personality match, career match, personality, match, fit, career Your career happiness has a number of triggers.  Whether you are just kicking off your career or being kicked by it these days, you should be thinking about this fit.

Because being happy at work, is one of those big expectations many of us bring into a career.  And the absence of a happy career leaves other aspects of life upside down.

You may have heard about a recent video series I just completed for About.com.  The first one was just released.  You can see it here: How To Assess If A Career Matches Your Personality or watch the YouTube version below.

So sometimes knowing your personality fit involves taking a series of tests.  Other times it requires nothing more complicated than doing the job and paying attention to how you feel doing it.

You can also be conscious of the larger aspects of your personality as suggested in the video.  Who are you – really – and what careers best fit your work and social style.

I wrote a guest post back in 2009 (during the “spin strategy” days) for Career Hub called:

Are you a Kate or a Katie?  How knowing your personality can help you find your next great job.

This was one of my favorite articles to write because it really dug into who we are as people.  No workers.  And forces you to be yourself.  Despite how you were named.

Here’s that article:

During a drive to San Diego a few weeks back, I heard an interesting question on a radio station. The question from the DJ was:

Are you a Kate or a Katie?
The question came at the end of a segment so I didn’t hear the original context.  Normally that would be frustrating for me.  In this case, however, it was such an interesting question that I let it go. 

The implication, regardless of how it was framed, is that being a Kate or a Katie suggests something about you.  That you and your supposed opposite are truly two different peas in the same pod.

Now we should probably step back a bit and remember that we don’t name ourselves.  Our parents do.  And that name is usually chosen for you well in advance of your birth.  But, as with all kids, your unique personality defines your working name throughout your life.  

So when you arrived in this world, your parents lovingly placed the name Katherine on your birth certificate.  A few weeks, months or years later you became someone else by being you.  The inescapable you.  The way you smiled, played with your toys and played with others.  Did you play quietly by yourself or did you dance around, always needing a partner?  And then one day, Mom and Dad stopped calling you Katherine and began using a form of what you would eventually be called.  Kate or Katie.

Does this work for guys?  Absolutely.  Andrew vs. Andy.  Mike vs. Michael.  I don’t see a big difference here.

As the segment ended on the radio, I started to think about practical uses for the question in job search.  Here are a few:

1. The dynamic of an interview and how, at times, we can be matched up with people who are just our opposite.  Kate meets Katie.  Or Katherine meets Andy.

2. How and when to let your personality come out within your professional resume or cover letter.  Also a question: If you are a Katie, why do you use Katherine on your resume?

3. At networking events, do you let the Katie out or do you wear a Katherine mask because that’s what people expect to see at these functions.

4. If you are a Katie and you interview with a Michael (the hiring manager), should you become more Katherine-like to match his style?  What if he was really a Mike (or even a Mikey to his pals) and was just stuck in that “professional interviewer” mindset?

5. If you get an offer based on your skill and experience, how should you weigh any personality differences with your future boss?

Obviously there are a lot of other ways to extend this idea.  My goal here, though, is to get you thinking. Go back and review your materials and your typical style. How do you adapt? 

My opinion?  Be yourself.  You have to allow your true personality an outlet during the job search process.  Your personality does not need to take over the discussion, but it needs a role.  And you need to prepare for interviews and big decisions with an awareness of who you are, how you like to work and what environments allow you to be successful.  

For example, I have a friend who is a very social person.  He likes a lot of banter around the office and opportunities to grab a drink after work.  He accepted a job with a company where everyone showed up at 8:00AM, grabbed a coffee, walked in their office and shut the door.  Why did my friend take this job?  He has always coveted the industry and the role.  When offered the opportunity, he jumped at it.  Had he been a David, this might have been perfect for  him.  But he’s a Dave leaning to Davey.

If you are a Kate and you play the role of Katie for a fun, outgoing and very social company, will you fit in long term?  Will you succeed despite the sacrifice of your true self?
So during the entire job search process, try to be aware of who you are.  Find ways, subtle if necessary, to let the real you appear in your resume, elevator speech, business cards and in your direct interactions with real people.  
You will be memorable and interesting in a room where many others are wearing a disguise.
Then, when the job offer comes, you can rest easy knowing that they hired you . . . the real Kate (or Katie).
And it is interesting. As I re-read the article and reflect on the resumes I’ve read over the last few months.  Especially when I talk to the person during a resume review.  Their resume says Katherine.  But they are pure Katie.
Who are you?

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.



Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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