Personality Type & Careers

Knowing your personality is an important consideration when choosing a suitable career.
Knowing your personality is an important consideration when choosing a suitable career. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Along with education and aptitude, career counselors consider a client’s personality when helping a client pick the right career. Personality suitability can make the difference between a worker feeling accepted in his profession or feeling like an outsider. Career psychologist John Holland has divided the human personality into six types to make choosing the right career a little easier.


Realistic personalities are straightforward, practical types. Work environments that value hard and fast answers and decisions are conducive to this type of personality. According to Holland, realistic types enjoy an environment in which they can work with tools and machines, electrical or mechanical drawings, and, interestingly enough, animals. Good career choices for the realistic personality type include electrician, biomedical engineer, orthodontist, farmer, surgical technologist, pilot, police officer, carpenter, forester, locksmith, train engineer, diesel mechanic, truck driver and flight engineer.


These are the people with an abundance of creativity and imagination. For example, a Screen Actors Guild membership meeting will have more of this type of personality. These personality types are good at solving problems because of the out-of-the-box way they look at the world. Good career choices for artistic types would be graphic designer, editor, director or producer, interior designer, disk jockey, comedian, art teacher, musician, clothes designer, dancer, composer and actor.


Not to be confused with bland, these conventional types like things neat and orderly. They tend to approach things carefully and are more apt to pursue orderly behavior than the rest of humanity. Good career choices for these detail-oriented people would be financial planner, actuary, building inspector, technical writer, court clerk, mail carrier, timekeeper, title examiner, typist, secretary, bank teller, post office clerk and bookkeeper.


Investigative personality types have an affinity for the scientific, analytical and intellectual. They like to base their decisions on a lot of information, and rely on logic to guide them. Scientific labs, for example, would be awash in these personality types. Recommended careers for these types include software developer, veterinarian, librarian, physician’s assistant, meteorologist, electrical technician, surveyor, architect, chemist, biologist, physician, mathematician, dentist and medical technician.


Social personality types enjoy helping people and tend to work in jobs where empathy, generosity and patience are the order of the day. They usually make good team players and have a knack for consensus building. Some good career choices for social types would be social worker, physical therapist, school psychologist, nurse, mediator, counselor, dental hygienist, athletic trainer, teacher, librarian and parole officer.


Energetic extroverts who love to win, enterprising personality types are often politicians and group leaders who keep the big picture in mind while delegating the details. They are also ambitious. Good career choices for people with enterprising personalities are lawyer, real estate agent, customs inspector, judge, executive, sales rep, sales manager, auctioneer, salesperson, travel agent, school principal, bank president, camp director, recreation leader, TV newscaster, hotel manager and city manager.

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