Career Chemistry: The Best Jobs for Six Personality Types
When seeking your true love, you had better look for someone with a compatible personality. The same thing is true when choosing your career.
As part of its Best Careers guide, U.S. News has selected the top careers for each of six personality types. Sure, everybody's an individual, but researchers have observed that most people have certain characteristics that can be grouped into a small number of categories. We've used the methodology developed by respected career psychologist John Holland, who identifies six general types of people. For each, we've selected careers—both white-and blue-collar—with good job availability and respectable pay, in fields that offer psychological satisfaction and reasonable quality of life. Most people will recognize themselves in at least one of these categories:
Realistic, hands-on people tend to be practical and straightforward. They like to work with concrete objects. Careers compatible with this personality type: electrician, orthodontist, surgical technologist, biomedical engineer.
Investigative people are analytical, intellectual, and scientific. Typically, they like to gather a lot of information before making decisions. And they question ideas that aren't backed up by rational data. Compatible careers: professor, software developer, physician's assistant, veterinarian, librarian.
Artistic people are creative and imaginative, as you might expect. But they can also be strong problem solvers, since they bring an intuitive mindset that complements the more rational approach others might offer. Compatible careers: landscape architect, graphic designer, director or producer, interior designer, editor.
Social people often end up in "helping" professions where attributes like patience, empathy, and generosity make a difference. They're often strong team players good at achieving consensus. Compatible careers: school psychologist, mediator, nurse, physical therapist, social worker.
Enterprising people are competitive, energetic extroverts. They often end up as entrepreneurs or group leaders, and prefer to delegate the pieces of a project while focusing on the big picture. Compatible careers: executive, financial manager, sales rep, sales manager.
Conventional people, also described as orderly, are somewhat misnamed. They're not necessarily bland, though they do tend to be reserved, careful, and efficient. These are the folks who handle all the details that keep the trains running on time. Compatible careers: accountant, actuary, financial planner, technical writer, building inspector.
This system for categorizing personality types obviously isn't perfect. Many people, for instance, are an amalgam of two or three different types. A few people might feel they don't fit into any of these categories. But whatever your attributes and idiosyncrasies, the odds of finding a fulfilling career are greater if you match your job to your personality. That's why, under each entry, we've also included additional resources for folks who want to do more research. It may not be as easy as jumping at the first opportunity that comes along. But most people probably wouldn't marry their first dates, either.