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How to Recognise your Positive Qualities


“The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner. Personality is the key.”
Richard Branson

Look at the attributes below and click on those which you feel are your most like you. Print these off or note them down.

Each day read out the list to remind yourself of what you do well!


Try to focus on the things that you are good at: your talents, the things you are passionate about,
rather than worrying too much about the things you don't do well.


Personal Styles

Your skills may determine your chances of success in a career and your interests and values will help you decide where to apply these skills: but do you need to also consider your personality?

Some characteristics are widely applicable. Resilience can be equally valuable to a police officer, a television producer, or anybody who commutes to work! Tact and sensitivity are not just for social workers but help anybody to get on with their colleagues.

These personal characteristics can have a strong influence on your career choice. Anybody who feels that terms like ‘‘outgoing'', and ‘‘independent'' are the complete antithesis of their personality is unlikely to be happy, for example, in sales or at the Bar.

You may think that certain personal styles, such as being careful have negative connotations, but it is a valuable attribute in financial jobs and crucial for medical occupations (imagine the surgeon who isn't careful!). Similarly, being reserved may be linked to powers of concentration and attention to detail: important in the science and computing fields.

You need to also make sure that you know what a particular career demands. If you are methodical, meticulous and reliable you may do well as an accountant: but you also need to be adaptable and confident to deal with the range of clients you will encounter.



Now click on the buttons below to link some of the above personal styles with some jobs that might use them.


Relaxed Independent  
Energetic Adaptable  
Reserved Persistent
Outgoing Idealistic
Sensitive Creative
Resilient Organised
Careful Decisive
Risk-taking Tactful


Of course, there may be many other jobs which fit your personality, and you must also take into account your interests, skills and values when considering careers.

You can find out more about many of these jobs in our I want to work in .... pages


The five main personality traits and their relation to work

The BBC Personality Test is a full personality test based on the following five-factor system of classifying personality traits in which you are asked to rate yourself on 68 different emotional states. It takes about 15 minutes and you can find it here



  • Altruistic: thinks about others before themselves.
  • Cooperative: sympathetic to others and eager to help.
  • Harmonious: give up their own ideas easily to get on well with others.
  • People with this trait are usually happiest in careers that involve helping, caring for and teaching others.
  • Sceptical and critical
  • Competitive: fight for their own interests


  • Emotionally controlled: controlled impulses
  • Plan in advance and well organised. Focus on goals and persistent in completing tasks.
  • Strong willed, purposeful and determined
  • Cautious and diligent
  • Perfectionist: punctual and tidy
  • Conscientiousness is the best predictor of future job performance: it is linked to better motivation task completion.
  • Can be a drawback in jobs with lots of change: persist with task rather than adapting to changing circumstances
  • Conscientious people plan well and focus on achieving aims so tend to be more active in balancing diet and exercising and tend to live longer.
  • Pleasure seeking
  • Less thorough when working

Emotional stability


  • Emotionally stable
  • Calm and even tempered
  • Able to face stressful situations without becoming anxious
  • Negative emotions: fear, anger, guilt, sadness, embarrassment.
  • More prone to psychological distress.



  • Lively: energised through social contacts and focused outside of themselves
  • Sociable: prefer large groups,
  • Talkative: talk through problems with friends
  • Assertive
  • Cheerful and optimistic
  • Think on feet: brainstorming.
  • Excitable and impulsive: sensation seeking
  • Active: take more exercise but also more likely to be involved in more risk taking activities: they are more liekly to smoke, be a heavy drinker and to drive fast cars!
  • Extroverts tend to be happier in jobs with lots of social contact, such as sales, marketing, and teaching.
  • Reserved: internally focused
  • Spends time alone: finds large groups stressful.
  • Independent of thought
  • Even paced.
  • Prefers having meeting agendas in advance to think through ideas beforehand. May feel these ideas are then ignored by extroverts who say the first thing that enters their head. Introverts' best ideas may emerge after a meeting when extroverts have moved on to their next exciting job.
  • Thye tend to be more prudent and thus live longer on average.
  • Introverts are more likely to be successful CEOs



  • Intellectually curious
  • Independence of judgment
  • Novel and controversial attitudes/values
  • Creative
  • Emotional: higher levels of positive and negative emotions
  • Increased focus on inner world of thoughts and feelings.
  • People with this trait tend to be happiest in jobs which require creativity and abstract thinking, for example advertising, marketing, scientific research, the media and art
  • Set ideas: prefer the traditional to the novel.
  • Not able to adapt easily or change quickly
  • Less emotional


Personality Tests


Also see our page What are your strengths?

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