Personality skills, known as soft skills by employers, are critical to both succeeding at your career as well as achieving personal satisfaction in your work life. There are a thousand stories of young people who listed every qualification necessary to snag a job in the hottest industry of the moment, only to spend their lives in deep dissatisfaction every moment they spent at work.
Connecting personality traits and career choices is an inexact science in the field of recruitment. There is no guide or aptitude test that will accurately pick the job that will make you happiest. However, some marketable skills relate to specific fields and if matched properly, will ensure greater success and fulfillment.
Sales and marketing requires a very specific mindset and a range of vital personality traits. The famous sales guru Zig Ziglar once said, ‘‘I’ve seen women give birth to boys, I’ve seen women give birth to girls, but never have I seen a woman give birth to a salesman.’’ Many firmly agree with this and make it clear on the first day of orientation that ‘‘great salesmen are made, not born.’’ While it is true that you could perhaps train anyone to read out a sales pitch, it is not possible for that salesperson to be happy, or even content, without a few key traits. Examples of marketable skills for a sales and marketing career path include, above and beyond all things, the love of talk.
Many extremely intelligent people I have worked with produce competent demonstrations, have strong rebuttals, but do not provide enough passion or even inflection to get the customer excited. It’s as Zig Ziglar said, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” In fact, this is one of those fields where no amount of education or qualifications will properly avail you if you do not posses, or fail to develop, the necessary soft skills. If you feel you have these personality traits, but don’t consider sales and marketing ‘‘professional’’ enough for you, take heart, these same traits make outstanding lawyers. Lawyers must also be persuasive, charismatic and possess a certain moral flexibility.
If the sound of your own voice drives you to joys that few of your peers understand, you will be successful in either role. However, the ability to listen is also important. If you are a talkative, gregarious type that will cut off anyone who offers any resistance, then neither sales nor the legal profession are career paths for you. Very few clients will put up with having their concerns brushed off, and any attorney will need to submit to all sustained objections during a trial without letting them impact his case. If you can listen to your prospects concerns, and let them finish without interrupting with some lame expression like ‘‘yes, but,’’ then you will be more successful.
Self-Disciplined and Passionate?
Another example of a marketable skill is the ability to believe passionately in what you are doing. If you are a talkative, gregarious person who has become passionately involved in one cause or another and can bring that passion to a field where success earns you more money, you will do well in these fields. Belief in what you are saying is transmitted to your prospect on an emotional level. If you think you have these traits, but prefer to work for yourself, test your aptitude to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs need all of the above traits to secure financing and clients. In addition to the above skills, however, a great deal of self-discipline in required. If you are the type of person who never needed to be reminded to do your homework, then consider exploring this path.
For the Nurturer and Caregiver
Say that you get more out of helping people than pushing products and services on them. If volunteering at the old folks home or animal shelter brought you joy in your younger years, you are likely to find contentment in a health care role. As the American population gets ever grayer, demand for such roles is set to grow. Despite the Kafkaesque nature of most American health care installations, with meddling insurance companies and mounds of red tape, most medical professionals claim to be very satisfied with their work. And, that is the case because they get a positive mental reward from helping others.
If You Like to Solve Problems
If blood and suffering isn’t your thing, there are other career paths that suit certain personality types. Examples of marketable skills that help to develop a programmer or engineer are good puzzle solving skills and an aptitude for tinkering with machines. If you are the kid who disassembled an old motorbike and put it back together again in seven hours on a Sunday, these two career paths will suit you just fine. If you are less of a people person, programming is a field you could look in to. This line of work involves very long hours in solitude working out miles of code and getting them to interact with each other. Social misfits can thrive and earn six figures here. Whereas in other office settings being an eccentric loner will cost you raises and promotions, in programming it will help you go far. Engineers are required to interact a bit more. Once the machine or system is designed, the engineer often has to visit it out in the field. But the same way you took pride in that motorbike you reassembled, imagine the feeling when you gaze upon a massive dam that you had a hand in building?
Of course, some personality traits are worth mentioning for any job. It pays to be considered a team player, and it’s good to be considered someone who responds well to direction. Nobody wants to read ‘‘I fall apart under criticism’’ on a job application.
Just be sure to choose a career path where some of your personality traits can be sold as examples of marketable skills, and you will be more successful and happier, in your working life.
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