Oftentimes counselors combine career interest inventories with personality tests when helping people choose their career. The research
literature does not generally support doing so, but the tradition has strong roots in counseling practice.
On the other hand, completing a Five Factor measure of personality may be a useful first step in learning how to succeed in your career and
life. These measures derive from the Five Factor Theory of Personality; both the theory and the measures are commonly known as the "Big Five."
The original Big Five personality measure (the NEO) is commercially published and may only be purchased by professionals. Long and short on-line
public-domain editions (the IPIP-NEO) also exist courtesy of a scientific collaboratory developed by Lewis R.
Goldberg and subsequent research endeavors by John A. Johnson, a professor at Pennsylvania State University.
The Big Five traits are: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional
Stability, and Openness.
Although a few studies suggest these traits are differentially important in various occupations, it may be more useful to note that three of
these traits seem generally related to success. The beneficial traits are: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability. Since those
we work with may view us differently than we see ourselves, how others perceive these traits in us is critical. Conscientiousness is most
consistentially predictive of career success; a tutorial for how to enhance this trait in yourself and in the perceptions of others is planned
for eventual placement in the VCC. Meanwhile the report you receive after taking the a Big Five test may be usefull for introspection and/or in
consultation with a counselor.
- Read an encyclopedia (Wikipedia) entry on Big Five personality traits
- Read a scholarly review of the Big Five model of personality
- Read about the relationship between Big Five traits and career success:
- Complete a public domain version of a Big Five Personality Test. Your results are not saved; be sure to print out a copy.