A Key to Success: knowing HOW you work best

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No two humans are the same, that’s what makes us unique. Some of us like the color red, whilst others are obsessed with fluorescent orange. Some of us love dogs, while others prefer cats. You may love the hustle and bustle of busy cities and busy parties, whilst your sister prefers reading a book in a quiet local coffee shop. When it comes to the workplace, we can still expect to see this. We all work differently, and it is important to know how you work best in order to get the most out of each day.
Your way of working can look very different to someone else’s. Some people are profusely organized, whilst some people are spontaneous. Others work well alone, whilst others thrive in large teams. Many people pick a career that they think is interesting and exciting and then attempt to alter their working style to match this career. However, we believe that in order to be successful and fulfilled, you should match yourself to a career and the working style it requires.
Therefore, below I have six questions that you should ask yourself to decide how you work best. This is the first stage of career exploration. Once you know how you work, you can begin to research careers that match this. 

1. Do you prefer alone or as part of a team?

When you are at work, are you empowered by the idea of working in a huge team. Or, do you dread the days when team meetings or projects are required? Neither one of these working preferences is better than the other. However, in order to be truly successful and happy in your career, it is critical to pick a career that matches this style.

If you despise working in teams, then your performance and enjoyment may be hindered in a role or company that focuses solely on sociable group work. Similarly, if you thrive of social interaction, then a career where your job does not typically require working with others, such as a statistician or a truck driver, might not allow you to thrive and be successful.

When searching for jobs, research the companies culture. You will feel happier in companies that suit your team working preference, and they will feel happier to have you as you will fit in with what they promote. Similarly, when considering what career you would like, consider the type of interaction it requires and whether this will suit you.

2. What hours do you prefer to work?

When considering what career you will be successful in, consider whether you are an early bird or a late night owl.

Many jobs are still 9-5, which suits many of us. However, there are an increasing number of jobs that require their employees to work early or late shifts. If you despise early mornings, perhaps a career as a personal trainer or carpenter isn’t for you. Similarly, if you know you won’t enjoy working night shifts, don’t become a security guard or a nurse.

3. How do you prefer to communicate?

Another key to being successful is to know how you communicate with others. Are you agreeable, reserved and considerate? Or, are you directive, expressive or blunt? Again, neither of these working styles is better than the other. However, it may affect how successful and thriving you are in certain careers.

For example, people who communicate in an assertive manner may make better leaders. If this is you, you may want to consider choosing a career that allows you to progress into more senior positions. Whereas, if your communication is more submissive and agreeable, you may find yourself to be more successful in careers that focus on collaborative and cohesive team work.

With the recent pandemic, many of us working from home and therefore workplace communication is increasingly being done over instant messaging services, such as Slack or Google Hangout. The times of face-to-face meetings, video calls or phone calls are starting to fade away and technology is taking over.

Just as it is with face to face communication, it is important to know how you prefer to communicate through technology. Of course, meeting in person is always to most favorable, but in the modern world this just isn’t always possible.  Do you prefer to use phone calls, emails, instant messaging or online video calls? Once you’ve figured this out, let everyone know. This way, they can contact you on your preferred platform, you can answer it with greater ease, be more productive and therefore, more successful.

4. How do you plan your day

Knowing whether you prefer to have a neat and organized daily plan, or whether you like to be spontaneous is the key to picking a career that you will be successful in. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but are perhaps matched better to different careers.

For example, if you are super organized, you would like the planned, calculated and precise career of a data analyst or actuary. Whereas, you would probably despise the fast-paced world of sales, where nothing ever goes according to plan, it is chaotic and breaks are never stuck to. Finding a career that matches how you plan your day is crucial to success as it allows you to be productive in your own way.

5. Where do you focus your attention?

Different careers will require different skills. One of the most prevalent skills to consider is your attention to detail skills. Some people focus their attention on the small picture. These people are likely to be more suited to careers that require attention to detail, such as administration, pathology or a software engineer, to name a few.

Those who focus on the big picture may become frustrated with careers that place extreme emphasis on the small details. People with this working style are perhaps more likely to thrive in careers in event planning, a campaign manager or a designer.

Knowing how you focus your attention is essential to being successful as it stops you getting frustrated and being unproductive.

6. Take personality tests

The final way to really know how you work best is to take a personality test. Here, at the Career Project, we believe that understanding our personality (and our skills and interests) can allow us to understand ourselves. If we understand ourselves, we can explore career options that match that. And then, once we get into that career, we can tell others how we work best.

Assessing your personality can help you understand your work style in many ways. It can tell you if you’re an introvert or an extrovert; and thus whether your work style preference is in a team or not. Whether you’re agreeable, or conscientious, or both and how this affects your work style. These personality tools can give a really detailed and clear insight into your work style, and can allow for employers to have a clear understanding of your style.

Knowing how you work best: Wrapping up

So, there you have it. The key to success is to know how you work best. And, I hope that these six questions have helped you.

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