Most job search advice is one-size-fits-all: get out there and network, update your resume, renew old contacts. But we don’t all handle the job search the same way, and some of our biggest challenges have to do with who we are at our core — our personalities. Your personality shapes how you search for the perfect job and you should know how to optimize around it.
For some of us, the hardest part of the job search is staying organized. Others of us have lists galore, but find the most challenging aspect is the lack of control and predictability. We’ve identified four basic personality types that each bring unique strengths and challenges to the job search. Which type of job searcher are you?
Empaths are compassionate, idealistic, and authentic. They see the job search as a way to get in touch with their values and move closer to a higher purpose.
Strengths: visualizing possibilities, connecting with passion, being authentic
Weaknesses: considering practicalities, ruling out options, negotiating
To make the most of the job search: Connect with your values.
Empaths should take advantage of the job search as a way to find more meaning in their work. Use this time to connect with your values and sense of purpose. If your previous job wasn’t fulfilling, take some time to reflect on what’s really important to you and how you might use your skills and experience to contribute to your favorite causes.
On the other hand, be careful not to get so focused on your ideals that you neglect the practicalities. First and foremost, a job has to pay the bills, and it has to be sustainable over the long term. Don’t ignore basic dealbreakers, like poverty-level wages or a 2-hour commute, just because an opportunity seems like a dream come true.
Theorists are analytical, innovative, and competitive. They see the job search as a way to prove their ability and gain new opportunities to excel.
Strengths: moving laterally, inventing new opportunities, demonstrating competence
Weaknesses: knowing their own limits, being realistic, accepting a lack of status and power
To make the most of the job search: Use your ingenuity.
Theorists are more likely than other types to start their own businesses, so you may find yourself daydreaming about entrepreneurship when you’re out of a job. Let yourself brainstorm freely about whatever seems inspiring. You excel at finding new possibilities and making connections others don’t see, and you may discover an unconventional move that could really pay off.
But keep in mind, whether you start your own enterprise or look for a job, you may get a cold dose of reality when it comes to actually implementing your plans. Your success depends on hard work and real-world skills, and you may spend a fair amount of time paying your dues on the way to your goals. Before you get too set on a path, make sure to do a reality check and think through what it will take, step by step, to make it all happen.
Preservers are steady, traditional, and responsible. They see the job search as a task to be managed systematically, so not a moment is wasted and they can start settling into their new workplace ASAP.
Strengths: staying organized, following up, having a plan of action
Weaknesses: recognizing unconventional opportunities, accepting change, coping with unpredictability
To make the most of the job search: Think beyond the details.
Preservers excel at managing the process of finding a new job. You probably have piles of lists, calendars, and schedules to make sure nothing is overlooked (or use JobHero). Recruiters and hiring managers will be impressed with your attention to detail, level of preparation, and follow-through.
What you may miss is the opportunity to step out of your box a little and try something new. Did you love your last job? If not, think about what could have been different. This is your chance to find a position that’s a better fit for what you really want, so don’t miss out in your eagerness to get back to the routine of a steady job.
Responders are flexible, practical, and easygoing. They see the job search as a chance to do something different, although they are often so eager to get it over with that they jump on the first opportunity they find.
Strengths: flexibility, staying open to the unexpected, being realistic about skills and abilities
Weaknesses: long-range planning, having clear personal goals, staying on course
To make the most of the job search: Take time to plan.
Responders are great at going with the flow, and they often have a “come what may” attitude towards the job search. More so than other types, they tend to be open to unexpected, spur-of-the-moment opportunities.
Unfortunately, the perfect opportunity doesn’t always fall in your lap—sometimes you have to be determined to seek it out. Take some time to reflect on what you really want, what you’re good at, and what you’ve enjoyed doing in the past. Write down some goals for your next position, and when an opportunity comes along, check it against these criteria. Don’t be in a hurry to accept something just because it’s there.
Knowing what type of job seeker you are can help you to make the most of your strengths and overcome your challenges in the job search. Finding a job isn’t an easy process for anyone, but knowing exactly what you bring to the table makes it much more likely you’ll find the perfect position for you.
Not sure which type describes you? Take the quiz!