The Unconventional Career Advisor That Sparked A Lightbulb Moment
I’ve had my fair share of career advisor duds over the years. Courses and careers suggested to me that I wasn’t even qualified for. The same generic advice churned out repeatedly. What’s a girl to do to get some advice on how to progress in her career? But one session last year completely changed the way I thought about job applications…
I’m a university student fresh on my placement year and, let me tell you, they don’t lie when they tell you applications can be a stressful time. Straight from the second year induction day there was talk of preparing and searching for placements. My CV was a mess, unbeknownst to me at the time, and it really impacted my ability to find even simple part-time work easily. It’s safe to say I was immediately pessimistic about placements. I envisioned myself the next summer: deadline passed, piles of rejections and lots of comfort eating.
In an attempt to avoid my premonition, I reluctantly booked in for a CV consultation in my uni’s career centre. I honestly wasn’t expecting much. Just to be told to rearrange the order or to drop in more corny buzzwords from a list. What I got was a very unexpected conversation that went a little like this:
“So tell me what your strengths are”
“Uhhhh…that’s quite a hard question-”
“I’ll stop you right there, I know what you need to do…
…go away and find out who you are as a person, then come back to me.”
She was quick to reassure me that it’s not as soul searching as it sounds. It was as simple as being given a link to an online personality quiz that assigns you one of 16 possible personality types. It’s based upon the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® originally developed from studies by the mother and daughter team in the 1920s.
So I went away and took the test and my mind was blown.
I turned out to be an “Advocate”.
Which happens to be the rarest of all the personalities, making up only 1% of the world’s population. You are given an insight into careers, relationships, parenting, friendships to name a few. The relevant one, my career path section, mentioned writing (hello) and focusing on “deeper themes of personal growth, morality and spirituality” (basically 90% of my YouTube feed right now). The strengths and weaknesses section provides the most important insight into yourself.
For those that find it very difficult to think of your positive points, being greeted with a list of your strengths and weaknesses is a godsend. You start to see the positive things in yourself once you read them and even discover you have strengths you never even realised. This is a turning point for writing a winning personal statement that portrays confidence.
Finding out that there are so many people out there like you can open so many doors in terms of advice searching. Multiple forums are filled with posts that feel like you could’ve written yourself. It’s easy to go online and search for career advice but it’s also easy for it to feel very generic and impersonal. Regardless of how successful the person may be, they aren’t like you. Hearing how real people who think like you have found happiness and success in work and life really helps to provide guidance. I now know I need creativity and a sense of purpose to be happy in my career. And I’m slowly finding it. I’m writing, creating and now have exciting night classes lined up in September. I might not have had all that without that one meeting.
In a time when we students are expected to have 10 years of experience by the time we graduate, it’s easy to feel inadequate. Feeling like you must measure up to the long list of generic skills and qualities from employers. Like you need to pretend to be someone else to fit the bill. But truth is, this test taught me that we all have unique attributes that all have a valuable space in the workplace. Introvert or Extrovert. Analyst or Explorer. We all have something to offer if we just be ourselves.
Take the test and see for yourself. What personality type are you?