Getting Started Job Search Tips

Finding the Perfect Job for Your Personality

Written by Miranda Pennington

It’s easy to get caught up in a career trajectory you picked out when you were young, searching for the first gig that would hire you, or that you’ve been stuck in for a while. Toni Okeson at has some advice to help you refocus your job-search, whether it’s your first time or your last resort.

Think about your gifts and acquired skills.

Regardless of what you’ve trained to do, always expected to do, or what your family planned you’d do, get back to basics and consider what you like doing. What are you good at? What do you know how to do? What have you always enjoyed? Are you creative? A good listener? Fascinated by what makes things work? Each of these traits points to a rewarding career.

Think long term.

Your career is much more likely to be a path that includes multiple stops and direction changes, rather than one smooth arc. According to Frierson, “It’s a marathon, not a spring.” Make decisions based on what you can see yourself doing every day for years, not just what you’d like best right now.

Take the financial aspect into consideration.

Don’t let it be the only thing–or even the main thing–but do figure out how to make your skills and interests into the most lucrative package they can possibly be. Earning potential can change over time, but you should know what the options are. What lifestyle will you need to support? What sacrifices can you make if necessary?

Any opportunities for growth?

When you’re considering the entry-level positions available to you as a recent grad, don’t forget to think about where they lead in the future. A teacher could become a department chair, an administrator, a principal. Some assistant positions lead into the department they assist, others put you on an administrative track–know what you’re getting into, and know how to acquire skills on or off the job that will translate into your next step. Once you’re considering a career change, don’t rush into anything–a bad day at work doesn’t mean it’s time to quit and go back to school. There is always a less drastic way of making sure you’re pursuing a satisfying course of employment–just don’t forget to take yourself and your personality into account.

How to Find the Career Path that Best Suits Your Personality

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About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.