When making a career choice or a career change, it pays to find out how your personality impacts your decision.

Your personality colours how you think and how you behave. It influences how you perceive yourself, your work and your relationships.

Your particular pattern of responses, perceptions and behaviours makes up your personality.

Four personality types

The workplace is where you will find these personality types: the Peacock, the Dove, the Eagle and the Owl.

It is these different personalities that make life and work so varied and enjoyable. This unity in diversity makes the workplace productive and exciting.

However, personality differences are also what can make a particular working situation motivating or intolerable.

The more you understand personality types, especially your own, the better able you are to not only find a career that seems tailor-made for you, but also to work well with the people in your workplace.

The four personality types are:

Peacock

People-oriented and extroverted, Peacocks love social interactions and communicate very well. They are natural entertainers and live wires at social gatherings.

Possessing strong leadership skills and high levels of optimism and self-esteem, they are able to influence or manipulate others to achieve work and social objectives.

Ideal careers include teaching, sales, management, entertainment, public relations, human resource and even politics.

Dove

This personality type is concerned with social problems, is community service-oriented, caring, cooperative, patient, tactful and dependable.

Doves love to be part of a team and relate well to people. Born peacemakers, they love volunteering to make the world a better place.

Careers that suit Doves include teaching lower primary school pupils, nursing, social work, sociology, counselling and religious vocations, for example, becoming pastors, imams or priests.

Eagle

Eagles are ambitious, prefer leadership roles and have a tendency to be domineering.

They relish power and position, and push others to achieve organisational goals.

They are independent, decisive, disciplined, determined and competitive. Born to lead, they love challenges.

Careers that will suit them include uniformed organisations like the military and the police.

In the corporate world, Eagles are often managing directors, chief executive officers, directors, general managers and presidents of banks and other institutions.

Owl

Owls are analytical, cautious, reserved, conservative and diplomatic. Perfectionists with strong mechanical abilities, they avoid social situations and value concrete action to abstract thinking.

They would make good engineers, accountants, researchers, chemists, physicists and computer programmers.

Other factors

Most people will have personality traits that span two or three personality types.

Therefore, the interplay of personality traits and your skills, values and interests will all impact your career choice.

Another important consideration to note is that your personality may change over time as you undergo developmental experiences.

Personality tests

There are many personality tests on the market today.

Popular ones include the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator and the DiSC Personality Profile System.

Basically, personality tests help to reveal your skills, values, interests and type dynamics.

Test yourself

This is the best way to begin thinking about your career and personality.

Conduct your self-assessment in a reflective and focused manner. Take a realistic look at your strengths, weaknesses and interests.

What do you know about yourself? What can you do? What are your goals in life? What subjects appeal to you? What are your interests and your basic work values?

You may start with a general value, such as, “I do not like a nine-to-five job”, or “I like working outdoors”. Make a list of everything you enjoy doing.

What you enjoy doing is a possible career choice.

If you enjoy writing, journalism may be your ideal career. If you enjoy eating, you may find the perfect career in doing food reviews.

Scan the job opportunities pages of your daily newspapers and see what jobs attract your interest.

For example, if you tend to linger at the advertisements for sales jobs, you may have an interest in sales. The next thing to decide is what you would like to sell, for example, property, insurance, health or beauty products.

Even the TV programmes you enjoy watching can be an indication of your interest. If you love features in the Travel and Living category, you might have an interest in travel, interior design or hospitality.

The next step is to research the careers that match your personality, interests and skills best.