Book Review: 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality
Your happiness can depend in part on what you do for a living.
How often do you consider that your personality plays an important part in what you do? Each one of us is different, but there are some characteristics about us individually that help us to define ourselves. Some people are analytical, others are emotional, but even those characterizations are not always specific enough.
Dr. Laurence Shatkin, who has devoted more than 30 years to the career information field, has written a book, “10 Best College Majors for Your Personality,” (Jist Publishing | 2011 | $17.95). This book is designed to help students match their personality type to a college major, enabling them to make the best choice as they prepare to pursue a career.
Shatkin offers four steps for students to follow to help them identify their personality type and to find a major. The first step examines how personality types relate to college majors. The second step involves a brief assessment enabling students to discover their personality type. Once the student knows his personality type, he is now ready to move to the next step, to find the major within his personality type. The fourth step involves looking at details about college courses and specializations, with current information supplied about jobs, salary and related details.
Six Personality Types
More than 50 college majors are featured with related jobs outlined and six personality types identified. Shatkin identifies the personality types as: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. This book gives the 10 best majors for every personality type, enabling students to find a wide variety of choices across her personality spectrum.
The assessment asks 180 questions and each question is prefaced by “would you like the activity or dislike the activity, or are you unsure?” Divided into six personality sections of 30 questions each, students tally their scores as they go along to find out where they stand. The highest score reveals your primary personality type, the second highest score your secondary personality type and so on. At this point you’re equipped to review college majors that sync with your personality type.
Shatkin offers job details with his data culled from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistic database. For example, for his “10 best conventional majors,” Shatkin lists pharmacy as the top field of choice, paying $109,000 annually in average earnings. Projected job growth from 2008 to 2018 is 17 percent and the number of openings annual is estimated to be 10,580 positions. Importantly, he identifies two or three personality types suitable for this position as there is some overlap. Few jobs are for only one personality type, with most attracting a rich mix of people.
The data Shatkin supplies for each job leaves little guesswork and is surprisingly accurate. For example, I checked my own field, writers and authors, and found the description to be accurate. Moreover, with annual pay at $53,900 and a growth rate of about 15 percent, Shatkin’s information accurately portrays the field. Of course, the pay is an average — you will still need to visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics to uncover pay by 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. While there, you can drill down to find out what pay is by industry, state and city. Some BLS information requires you download an XML or HTML file, but is current as of May 2010.
Shatkin’s work can also be useful for the career changer even if that person isn’t planning to return to work. What it can do is help you discover other career possibilities, particularly areas that mesh with your personality and are of interest to you.