Finding Your Career Fit

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Do you wonder whether you are in the best-fit position or career for who you are? Do you love what you do, where you do it, and who you do it with so much that you lose track of time? Or do you not use most of your strengths and feel disengaged at work?

What is “fit” anyway? Companies hire for fit. Does your personality fit the team and the culture? People leave jobs for lack of fit with their managers, position, and organization.

I believe that fit is the way your personality, strengths, motivators, and values match the position you hold, the manager you work with, and the organization you work for. Let me start by saying I don’t believe in a perfect fit; yet I do believe you can come very close, and there are a variety of ways to find your best fit.

Let’s talk about you first. Take the time to know yourself, reflect, and ask others for feedback to determine your strengths, motivators, and values. Grab a piece of paper right now (no time like the present!) and divide it into three columns.

Strengths  Motivators  Values

Begin listing your strengths—things you are good at doing, things people have complimented you on, and what people continually ask you to do. Think about both work-related strengths and those you demonstrate outside of work. List as many as you can think of. Be honest, and don’t be shy. Some of my strengths are that I am organized, loyal, social, and persuasive.

Begin listing your motivators (or drivers) using the list below. Choose your top three or four, and put them in order of importance to you:

Achievement: opportunity to complete projects, achieve success, be self-motivated

Advancement: opportunity for promotion and/or growth

Affiliation: opportunity to interact and collaborate with others, sense of belonging

Altruism: opportunity to contribute to the welfare of others

Authority: opportunity to influence others, lead, and persuade others

Autonomy: freedom and ability to be self-directed, independent

Balance: ability to prioritize personal and work matters


Challenge: drive to overcome obstacles and solve problems

Discovery: developing understanding for its own sake, learning something new

Esteem: opportunity to receive praise and recognition

Equity: opportunity to be treated fairly

Structure: clear goals and responsibilities, little to no ambiguity

Security: stability and predictability

Next, think about your values. These are beliefs that you hold so strongly they guide your actions. From the list below, choose your top three or four values, and put them in order of importance to you:

 Wealth  Power
 Justice  Pleasure
 Love  Recognition
 Family  Integrity
 Wisdom  Skill
 Faith  Leisure
 Morality  Loyalty
 Knowledge  Honesty
 Health  Creativity
 Purpose  Education
 Achievement  Community
 Creativity  Freedom
 Friendship  Quality
 Stability  Teamwork

Take time to reflect on what you have written and make any adjustments or additions. Find a few people who know you well from work or outside of work and ask them to share some of your strengths, motivators, and values. Use this information to confirm what you have written—or possibly reveal something new!

With this self-assessment, you can better evaluate how you fit your current position, manager, and organization. You will be most fulfilled when you use most of your strengths in your position. I want to add, however, that I don’t look for my position to completely fulfill me; I have a position that uses most of my strengths and provides a great deal of fulfillment, and I also pursue volunteer and speaking opportunities outside of my position that provide additional fulfillment. Ask yourself: How many and how much of your strengths are utilized at work? Is that fulfilling for you? Are there other ways to maximize your strengths, in your current position or outside your current position, that will provide fulfillment for you?

Share your strengths, motivators, and values with your manager and ask for their feedback to determine if there are ways to better match who you are with your position or adjust your position to better apply your strengths. Don’t be afraid to have a discussion and share ideas you have about applying more of your strengths as well as make sure your manager knows your motivators and values, which can help them be a better manager for you.

Think about your strengths, motivators, and values in relation to the organization. Is there a way to use most of your strengths, activate your top motivators, and be in a workplace that supports your values? I think so. All of these are important and relate to your position, your manager, and your organization and being in a place where you fit.

If you are in a position that doesn’t use most of your strengths, doesn’t and can’t provide your motivators, and clashes with your values, my advice is to find another position that matches more fully who you are.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, please join me on September 27 at 1 p.m. EDT for an ATD webinar on Finding Your Fit.

About the Author

Amy Dinning is a senior training and talent development leader with extensive experience working with all organizational levels. She helps with setting the strategy, creating, promoting, and delivering talent and learning solutions designed to support the organization’s business plan. Amy is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable business environment that supports learning and growth.

Amy is currently the senior learning and development manager at CommScope and is responsible for the global learning and development of 8,500 employees. She previously served as manager of leadership and talent development for Saint-Gobain North America, where she was accountable for the leadership, talent, and people development of 19,000 employees. Prior to her time at Saint-Gobain North America, Amy worked as a clinical education and learning partner for AstraZeneca.

Amy created and has been the chief facilitator of Jump Start Your Job Search workshops, which have been offered twice a year for the last seven years. She serves as co-lead of the ATD Leadership & Organizational Development Special Interest Group and as a board member, orientation leader, and programming manager for the My Career Transitions networking group. Amy has a master of education in instructional systems and design from Penn State University and a bachelor of arts in business administration from Grove City College.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.