Career development through personality inventories

The Thunderbird Employer Relations team recently distributed its 2014-2015 Thunderbird Guide to Recruiting to more than 4,000 stakeholders internationally. Inside, readers will find top reasons to recruit Thunderbird students, metrics about our degree programs, notable alumni, top employers, how to recruit our talent, and student employment highlights. The student employment highlights section is particularly noteworthy because it speaks specifically to why the Thunderbird Mystique continues to grow exponentially. Not only were we the first school to adopt a professional oath of honor and code of conduct, but our brand multiplies because of the diversity of our student and alumni populations.

Our students come from more than 60 different countries and often find internships and full-time employment in a variety of job functions. Most find roles in marketing/sales (35%), but there is near equal distribution to other functions: consulting (15%), operations/logistics (13%), finance/accounting (13%), general management (12%), and other (12%). And, the industry that many land careers in is even more diverse. To see these statistics, please review the guide.    

As the competition for global talent heats up, Thunderbirds who have created meaningful personal brands are often able to parlay that brand into a message that shows how they will be able to positively impact the business they are joining. But, what if you are uncertain about your personal brand, what function or industry you should work in, or how to sell your competencies to your target organizations? 

Review your personality inventories. Whether you’ve taken the Global Mindset Inventory, CareerLeader, StrengthsFinder, or DISC, the reports can help you in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples of how to leverage your personality assessments for career development:

Choosing a Career – The CareerLeader uses algorithms to match your responses to more than 30 careers and several hundred thousand other business professionals in the My Career Match section. You’ll be told, on a scale of 0 to 100, what career path will engage you the most and give you opportunities to operate at your best. The report also includes the My CultureMatch section to help you rate the organizational culture (e.g., collaboration, decisiveness, innovation, planning) in which you most desire to work. The DISC inventory includes sections entitled Ideal Environment, Checklist for Communicating, Keys to Managing, and Keys to Motivating that will also help in identifying company cultures that correlate with your natural abilities.

Networking – The DISC has multiple sections to help you understand your natural communication and behavioral profile. And, the report is full of pages that help you to identify what another person’s style is and how to amend your verbal and non-verbal communication to influence and achieve goals. The Global Social Capital section of the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI) educates you on your ability to identify non-verbal expressions, connect emotionally to people from other cultures, and actively listen to and integrate diverse perspectives. Relationship building is a long-term process. Establishing SMART goals for a follow up process tailored to each new connection will help you create small, quick wins that start the relationship off on the right foot.

Personal Brand – The StrengthsFinder will help you identify what talents you use most when you are engaged in your work. Your top five strengths display on page two and they can serve as a piece of the foundation of your personal brand. By reviewing previous experiences, your strengths, success profiling others on LinkedIn, and your desired future state, it becomes easier to determine what makes you unique. As a Thunderbird, determining your value proposition will be correlated to your knowledge of cultures and world events, ability to conduct business internationally, and your comfort level with risk in uncomfortable situations. Check out the Global Psychological Capital and Global Intellectual Capital sections of the GMI for additional insights.  

Résumé – Great résumés tell a story of the growth and development of your skills, character, and capability. They show that your career was deliberately chosen and managed. To maximize their effect in applicant tracking systems, they should be full of keywords from the job description of the position to which you’re applying. And, it is good form to pull keywords from the General Characteristics, Value to the Organization, and Descriptors sections of the DISC to include as well. I think it valuable to review and pull keywords from the descriptive paragraphs in the StrengthsFinder as well. By pairing language from the job description with language from your assessment results, you create a highly customized piece of personal marketing. After all, you are the CEO of You, Inc.

Interviewing – Arguably the most important step to securing your dream job, being able to bring pieces of all of your personality assessments together in your interview responses will make you stand head and shoulders above other candidates. From being able to relay your strengths and interests (GMI, StrengthsFinder, CareerLeader), to amending your communication to match the interviewer (DISC, GMI), to knowing that the company is a good fit culturally (CareerLeader, DISC), or being able to sell how your personal brand (StrengthsFinder, GMI) will make the organization money, save it money, or mitigate its risk, leveraging a combination of personality assessments will make you a strong and sought-after candidate. 

Because T-birds don’t fit in a single mold — with students coming from more than 60 different countries and finding employment in a variety of job functions and industries — having a foundation on which to build a personal brand is important. Personality inventories are very useful tools in your career development tool belt. Simply completing the assessments will not land you a new career, but they will help you set the foundation to ensure self-discovery and provide a thorough awareness on how to sell yourself to those in your sphere of influence. Any time you feel uncertain about next steps in your career, review your personality inventories as a way to set a stake in the ground, update your personal marketing collateral, and hit the pavement again building meaningful relationships across the globe.  

If you have comments or questions, please contact me at or +1 602 978-7080

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