Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Six Interest Areas and How They Can Help You Choose a Career

An interest area is a way of categorizing careers based on where and how you like to work. Your values and personality will influence your interest areas. Because this categorization combines important factors, it can be very useful when choosing a career.

A brief description of the interest areas:

1. Conventional

Conventional people like organization, structure, and stability. They prefer work that requires attention to detail and routine.
  • conventional personality traits: honest, dependable and conscientious
  • good jobs for conventional types: accountant, actuary, budget analyst, receptionist, bookkeeper, medical records technician, legal secretary, insurance underwriter, office clerk, pharmacy technician

2. Investigative

Investigative types enjoy solving complex problems and appreciate abstract ideas. Science, math, and engineering are areas in which investigative types usually excel.
  • investigative personality traits: curious, rational, intelligent and independent
  • good jobs for investigative types: software engineer, actuary, financial analyst, economist, physician, chemist, physicist, medical scientist, computer systems analyst

3. Social

Social types value relationships and gravitate towards the "helping" professions such as nursing, counseling and teaching. They enjoy working with people and communicating.
  • social personality traits: patient, friendly, generous and supportive
  • good jobs for social types: registered nurse, dental hygienist, physical therapist, teacher, home health aide, social worker, school counselor, police officer, occupational therapist

4. Artistic

Creativity expression is highly valued by artistic types. They prefer work that does not follow a clear set of rules or regulations.
  • artistic personality traits: idealistic, sensitive and unconventional
  • good jobs for artistic types: architect, editor, art director, producer, graphic designer, copy writer, musician, photographer, librarian; drama, art or music teacher

5. Realistic

Realistic types enjoy working outdoors and prefer work that is hands-on. They like using machinery or tools and would probably not enjoy most office jobs.
  • realistic personality traits: practical, athletic, stable and hard-working
  • good jobs for realistic types: electrician, plumber, truck driver, civil engineer, welder, firefighter, pilot, radiologic technician

6. Enterprising

Enterprising types like to start and carry out projects. They don't mind taking risks and are well-suited for leadership roles.
  • enterprising personality traits: persuasive, confident, decisive and ambitious
  • good jobs for enterprising types: lawyer, sales representative, manager, recruiter, education administrator, business owner, controller

How do you use an interest area to choose a career? First, realize that you will probably have a primary interest area and a secondary interest area. You should focus on the two or three interest areas that best fit you. Most careers will combine two or three interest areas, so choosing a career based on your interest areas isn't always simple. Ideally, you will identify the careers that combine your primary and secondary areas. I recommend the book 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin, which includes a test that will determine your interest areas.

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