Choosing the Ideal Job: Personality Profiles Could Provide Valuable Insight

By Roberta Attanasio, STEMM Leadership Editor

Finding a job that matches our personality may be an important key to success and satisfaction. Now, spot-on, a team of researchers from Australian institutions has published a study that identifies a “vocation compass“—a recommendation system for a career that is a good fit with our personality. For the study, the researchers used advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. They applied the data-driven approach to the analysis of extensive linguistic information publicly available through online social media. Indeed, as people engage with social media, they leave behind digital fingerprints—behavioral traces of their personality.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The study (Social media-predicted personality traits and values can help match people to their ideal jobs), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (December 2019), shows evidence that different jobs correlate with distinctive psychological profiles. Specifically, the researchers analyzed more than 128,000 Twitter users representing over 3500 occupations—digital fingerprints could be detected from the users’ Twitter language. They found, for example, that software programmers and scientists tended to be more open to experience, whereas elite tennis players tended to be more conscientious and agreeable. The researchers also found that similar occupations cluster together in terms of personality traits, thus pointing out specific sets of jobs that different individuals may be best suited for.

Co-author Marian-Andrei Rizoui said in a press release that they were able to successfully recommend an occupation aligned to people’s personality traits with over 70 percent accuracy. She added that even when the system was wrong it was not too far off, pointing to professions with very similar skill sets—for instance, it might suggest a poet becomes a fictional writer, not a petrochemical engineer.

Notably, many similar jobs could be grouped together on the basis of the personality characteristics of the various Twitter users holding those jobs. For example, one cluster included many different technology jobs such as software programmers, web developers, and computer scientists.

In their article, the researchers write that “The US Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies occupations into 867 categories, which encompass tens of thousands of specific job titles. Yet many occupations that will be needed in the coming decades do not yet exist, and many existing categories are becoming obsolete. Organizations are increasingly concerned that employee skills are mismatched with industry requirements.” Indeed, the researchers found that some of their observations contradict existing classifications, thus pointing out to emerging occupations relevant to the 21st century workplace.

Co-author Paul McCarthy said in the same press release that finding the perfect job is a lot like finding the perfect mate. “At the moment we have an overly simplified view of careers, with a very small number of visible, high-status jobs as prizes for the hardest-working, best connected and smartest competitors. What if instead—as our new vocation map shows—the truth was closer to dating, where there are in fact a number of roles ideally suited for everyone? By better understanding the personality dimensions of different jobs we can find more perfect matches.”

Copyright © 2016-2020 STEMM Leadership


  1. I agree with this article that people should invest more time in figuring out who they are and what their personalities actually are before choosing a career path. I have heard of so many people that spend years studying and investing in majors thinking that is the field they will be going into only to end up coming back years later after finding what is truly suited for them. Even outside of college I’ve come across some people who wake up everyday and go sit at a job they have absolutely no passion for and are can even be considered to be miserable because they are doing something that is not meant for them. Whether it be because of pressures from loved ones or the need to earn an adequate living, many people face this adversity daily simply because they chose a career that does not fit their personality. I feel as though all college students should read this article especially if they are at a point in their college career where they are questioning if they are really where they want to be.

  2. Most chosen careers today are chosen based on a few characteristics: salary, time/amount of work, salary, and useable skills. Though those are very important to every individual in the workforce, its not enough. I completely agree that your personality and what you find to be interesting should 100% be your chosen career path. Of course its nice that your job provide all the wonderful benefits most jibs don’t but most people end up hating it. I believe in order to be successful at your job you must be find passion and have fun in it.

  3. I think the idea of matching a career with personality traits is not something that is talked about enough. It seems like students nowadays are expected to chose their careers at a fairly young age, having to decide their college majors early on. If you don’t know your personality well than this can be a problem as it may take a few years before you realize that the career field you thought you wanted to enter may not actually be right for you. I think the biggest takeaway from this article for me is the notion that some careers are reserved for the smartest and hardest working individuals. This mindset is wrong, but is still very much seen in today’s society. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, for example, and that says nothing about their level of intelligence of working habits. I think it is important that people start to see their career as an extension of who they are. When we begin to see someone’s job less as a measure of status and more of an indicator about their personality and interest, people will begin to enter fields they actually enjoy, potentially leading to a happier and more satisfying career and life.

  4. This blog post was such a great article. I absolutely agree that personality traits must match to one’s career choice. In my opinion, in order to be successful in your career you must love what you do. It then becomes more of a fulfillment than an actual job. I believe that you must find a field that you are passionate about. When you are passionate about your job, it no longer becomes a dreadful place for you. When you put your heart into your career, you will eventually become the best in that field. The spectacular detail that I left out is that your skill and passion is something no one could ever take away from you. I enjoyed this article because it shows that one must take advantage of their own personality traits and analyze if it matches their choice of career.

    • I agree, having a job that best suits your personality is the key to success and happiness. When you find a job you truly love, you will always want to go to work, and you won’t get burnt out too quickly. Also, from the study it shows that different jobs shows people that have different personality traits so that was informative to know. I liked the article , it was insightful on personality traits and how it could affect your life occupation.

  5. I deeply believe that this article is one that needs to be read by every college student, more specifically freshman and sophomores before choosing a career path! Being content is one thing, but genuinely being happy and enjoying what you do for a living is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a career in my opinion. You personality is a reflection of who you are, what you like, what you can handle, how you handle things as well as other aspects, and if you choose a career that doesn’t fit your personality, I believe you will struggle in that career, you definitely will not enjoy being in that field, and your dissatisfaction will begin to show in what you do more often than not. Although finding a career path that gives you financial stability is an important aspect, I do not believe that it is the “end of be all” of choosing a career path. This may sound cliche, but I do believe that your happiness pays you more than your financial status in some scenarios. If you are unhappy, it doesn’t matter how much money you are making. You will never truly see the value of the money you are making or even appreciate it.

    • Hello Ada,
      I strongly agree with your comment. Money is important but money is not everything. when it comes down to our happiness, I do believe that the key is not focusing on how much we are making or will make but rather how much can we contribute. Believe it or not, true happiness is related to serving.How can I serve others or my community. How much impact am I making in the lives of others through my gift. This is to say that, to find the perfect career, the key is to remain true to ourself, our personality, and what deeply makes us happy and alive.This is not to say we should not desire to make money but rather money should be the byproduct of the service we are rendering through our gift. In this, we will find true safisfaction and fufilment.

    • Hello Ada,
      I agree with your comment because I also believe that as long as your are truly passionate about something and you invest your time, efforts and energy into it, it will almost always pay off both financially and emotionally. If someone is happy with the field he or she is in all it does is drive the person to want to do more, achieve more and excel higher.

  6. From the article, it can be concluded that finding a job that matches a person’s personality is more important than finding a job that satisfies social expectations. Especially in nowadays society where salary, fame, and recognition are what our culture has led us to believe to be the standards of having successful careers. Evidently, according to a survey done by Harris Poll for Lego in 2019, American kids are more aspired to become Youtube famous rather than to be able to travel to space. Society influences careers is not a problem for only adults to think about but also affecting younger generations in a much more serious matter than we imagine. As we let the “next trend” in the job market or the media took control over our own decision to choose a career that fits us the most, we will be more likely to find ourselves unhappy and unsatisfied. America is not the only country facing this problem; being mentally forced into social pressured jobs is a global problem that we all need to come together and make changes to the current situation.

  7. The article takes a new approach to find your career path that I find intriguing. I feel most people are chasing jobs that will pay more but leave them burnt out after a few years because their job does not highlight their skill set. I agree with the article that finding a job that matches your personality is essential to finding success and satisfaction with your job. I have had a personal experience where I was in a job that didn’t match my personality, and I found after the excitement of a new job faded away, I was left discontent after about a year of working. I dreaded going to work, and once I was there, I wasn’t performing at my full potential. I would find it beneficial if the research discussed in the article turned into an actual program that users could use to upload their social media posts. The program could be a new tool to help the next wave of upcoming adults find their place within the workplace without having to jump from job to job until they find the one that matches their personality.

  8. I strongly agree with this specific article because it emphasizes on picking a career that aligns with our personality. Being aware of our skills and personality allows us to gain the most satisfaction in our careers. Everyone’s personality type is different. An introvert would not be comfortable in an occupation that requires strong communication skills and will experience the least amount of satisfaction in their career. A creative individual will not be satisfied in a career that puts emphasis on following a set of instructions. They would much rather be in a field that encourages them to go outside their comfort zone and demonstrate their skills. Many individuals are not aware of their personality skills, so they tend to be stuck with a career that is not meant for them. The wrong profession could harm one’s mental health and well-being. The best way to understand ourselves is to experiment and try new things. Experimenting will help us figure out what we like and dislike and what makes us happy. Pursuing careers that align with our personality and skills can help us live a healthy, content, and fulfilling life. We should all make an effort to identify our strengths and weaknesses to help determine the right path for us.

  9. There’s a saying “if you pick a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. There are too many individuals who dislike their job and it shows in their work. Most jobs are just meant for certain personalities. If you’re not a people person, you probably wouldn’t fit best in a career that requires a lot of human interaction such as a nurse or doctor. If you’re shy and not argumentative, you probably wouldn’t thrive as a lawyer. However, personalities can change and traits can be adapted but it takes a lot of work. The article compares career picking to dating. You wouldn’t change your entire personality for a person you’re dating would you? You would just assess your strengths and weaknesses to pick the person who meshes with your personality the best. It is so important for us to know our strengths and weaknesses so we can pick the careers that allow us to excel. For instance, I like interacting with and helping people, especially children, so that’s why I chose to pursue a career in Pediatric Medicine. On the topic of many jobs becoming obsolete over the upcoming years, the best thing to combat falling victim to this is to develop a wide range of skills and interests. I’m pursuing a career in the healthcare/ medical field but I did a summer marketing internship for an athletic apparel company. The skills I gained in that internship gave me skills and experience to apply for marketing/ advertising jobs after I graduate. If you have a well rounded skill set there will always be a good number of job options for you to apply for!

  10. I agree that it is very important to get personalities matched up with what career you will spend the rest of your life pursuing. However, how do we know when the best time to evaluate these personalities? It is easy to say that they need to match up, but increasingly, many employers require neophytes to already have background skills for entry level roles. This kind of escalation pushes people at young people to have their life figured out earlier than before. If we are to know what roles our personalities match with, taking these types of quizzes or surveys may fall in a time in a young adults life where they themselves are still figuring out, or developing their own personalities. After looking up some statics from the Department of Education, it appears that nearly 33% of all students change their major with 10% of students changing their major more than once. How can young college students match their personalities to roles while at the same time not knowing what role to chose?

    Beginning College Students Who Change Their Majors Within 3 Years of Enrollment

    • I agree totally with the post because I believe it’s very pivotal that individuals know their personality and seek a career that correlates to that of their personality. You bring up a very interesting question because individuals personality has plasticity and isn’t something fixed so when is the appropriate time to evaluate yourself to figured that out and is it the same amongst all people. I believe that time varies amongst individuals because we are all unique and grow/mature differently, but it my opinion it can never hurt to start early on that process that way individuals can have a baseline of what their personality is. Although it may change it will just be a variation amongst a mean because individual’s personalities rarely change drastically rather change slightly based off new experiences.

  11. This article reminds me of the advice Dr. Attanasio provided to our class on the first day of the semester. “Decide what lifestyle you want, and then find a job that suits that lifestyle,” she told us. I have been thinking about that advice for a few weeks now, and I think it is very sound. In addition to determining one’s desired profession through a means of choosing one’s preferred lifestyle, understanding one’s own personality is vital in determining where they can be the most successful. Whether it is the individual whose job is in question that knows themself very well, or the employer understanding the employee’s personality, knowing a person’s skills and their weak points is crucial to building a productive and sustainable team. Even if a person is working independently, and not in a group setting, it is crucial to know what they can and cannot handle, what they do and do not like, what inspires them, what wears them down, what the know, and what they want to learn. Having an accurate measure of these things is invaluable, particularly for people who are entering or re-entering the job market.

    • Hi Sydney,
      The advice Dr. Attanasio gave in the beginning of the semester also stuck with me since I’m in the midst of starting my own career. I think lifestyle and personality are two aspects commonly overlooked when deciding on a career, which is a little contradicting since those are the two main factors we consider when making longterm decisions such as relationships. Especially since a career really is a lifelong commitment, it’s important to choose one that is compatible with how you want to live and how you are as a person. When choosing a career, one of the main things everyone looks at is the salary- which is still important- but shouldn’t be the ultimate determining factor. Salary can only do so much for an individual if they are not motivated or enjoy what they are doing- it would eventually take a toll on their wellbeing. This article had a unique perspective on job prospects that I, myself never considered, nor have I ever been given advice about. I think implementing a vocation compass would be extremely beneficial to anyone, whether or not you know what you want to do.

  12. Finding a job that matches your personality is very important and should be one of the top considerations when deciding on your future occupation. In my opinion, everyone should have overall satisfaction with their occupation because it promotes better social, mental and physical health which allows the employee to be a greater asset to his or her company. Most time during the week will be spent at a job, so why would you do something that can alone make you miserable? This is why I believe more focus should be addressed on the importance of choosing the right job instead of basing the decision on just the salary, parental pressure or job title prestige. The vocational compass assists in informing people of positions that will not only give them satisfaction but will utilize their skillsets which allows them to feel their occupation is purposeful. Incorporating data analytics, digital fingerprints of social media and artificial intelligence in the vocational compass has yielded a great degree of accuracy. Because of the accuracy factor and the test’s helpful guidance, I believe high schools, colleges and even employers should utilize the test.

  13. I agree with this article, because I believe it is crucial to select a right career in order to be able pursuing it with satisfaction. The first significant factor is how much we know about our personality and interests, values, soft skills, and aptitudes. In addition, every person has a typical personality type including for instance a creator, helper, builder, thinker or organizer and so on. Thus, we have to try finding our own interest by some attempts such as understanding our weakness and strength, feeling free to ask for the advice and experience from people who have been already employed, trying or an internship in which we can practically communicate with experts and improve our knowledge about our interests and skills. Having jobs that best match both your skills and personality could improve your confidence in your work abilities which help you to boost your beneficial skills towards your career. Therefore, it would be viable both for you and your employer.

    • Thank you for your comment! It was a refresher for what I learned in my other leadership class last semester, all the new terms I already forgot! My major is public health. I got interested because I want to have healthy long life and help others have the same. However the challenge for me was that I have no interest in politics. I am not good at presenting. I thought of changing the major, but I am beginning to learn about my strengths to overcome my weaknesses, and I reach out to people for help. So, yes, I agree with you that understanding both your personality skills are important to better yourself!

    • Somy,
      I appreaciate how insightful your take on this article is! I definitely agree with you on how crucial it is to select the right career path. If someone is in a career that they are not happy in or does not fit their personality, they are more than likely portraying this dissatisfaction in their work and in certain career path this could be detrimental for example if the person were to be a healthcare professional. I believe that although finding a career is about making money and being stable it is also about finding your happiness within your field as well. What good does it do an individual to suffer themselves from 9am-5pm every day Monday-Friday if they are not remotely enjoying what they are doing?!

    • Hi Somy,
      I agree with you on your statement about how it is important to select a right career in order to be able to pursue it with satisfaction. I think you are right on that because even the article mention that Co-author Paul McCarthy said that finding the perfect job can be compared to finding the perfect mate. in this regard it can be said that it is, therefore, important that a person truly knows who there are, their personality, and what they expect from the job if they must be satisfied. Just like dating, if a person does not know who they are and their expectation from a relationship, how can they find the perfect match? The same goes with finding the person job. One must know their interest, their personality and what they expect from a job in order to find safistafction in it. It is not a smart thing to do to settle for a career that makes one miserable. A career must make one wakes up in the morning with the sense of wanting to happily contribute to the society.

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