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Trying to Find the Right Career and Job for You? Use This Hierarchy of Needs Approach

By | Melody J. Wilding |

Finding a good fit between your personality and your career happens when there’s synchronicity between your tasks, the environment you’re in, and the value you both provide and receive from your responsibilities.

Research backs up the theory that personality-job fit is critical. Studies show that when your professional world is consistent with who you are as a person, you experience your work as more meaningful. The effect is greatest when your work matches your values and brings you a sense of self-esteem.

Fitting your job and career to your personality not only makes you more adaptable and resilient to changing demands, but it also translates to better performance on the job. People with the best fit between their personality and their job earned up to a month’s salary more each year because they were happier and more productive. A strong fit is also linked to greater engagement, energy, enthusiasm, and innovation at work.

So viewing current and potential roles through the lens not only of what you need to survive but also what you need to thrive is a way to ensure you’ll be more effective, satisfied, and impactful at any stage of your career.

Here’s how to evaluate whether a job is the right fit for you based on what I call a hierarchy of professional needs, which you might recognize as a play on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. You can apply this strategy to your current job to understand what kind of needs gap you’re dealing with and you can use it in your job search as you’re evaluating potential roles.

Basic Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates his theory that individuals can only grow and reach their full potential if certain basic requirements are met. The same idea applies in the workplace, where your basic needs fall into three categories:

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