Laura Raines, for the AJC
“Know Thyself.” was an inscription found at the site of the Delphic Oracle in ancient Greece. It’s still great advice for job seekers, said Paul D. Tieger, founder of My Personal Job Coach.com and author of the best-selling career guide “Do What You Are.” He believes that understanding your personality is critical to finding career satisfaction and success.
“In the past, people were advised to find jobs based on their values, interests and skills. All of those things are fluid and change over time,” Tieger said. “Your personality type is consistent. Behaviors may change, but your personality is inborn.”
Personality affects how people make decisions and live their lives. Tieger has used personality type as the basis for career and professional coaching for 30 years.
Last month, he took his expertise virtual. He launched the My Personal Job Coach Web site to help the growing number of job seekers.
The national unemployment rate is almost 10 percent, but many experts believe it is closer to 20 percent when you factor in those who have given up looking, as well as those who are underemployed.
“There’s such a need in this market,” Tieger said. “People are hungry — starving really — for practical advice that can help them secure a job. Virtual coaching can help displaced workers, career changers, new grads and people who are re-entering the job market after a long absence.”
Online visitors can take a free personality assessment based on the Jung-Myers-Briggs model, which identifies 16 distinct personality types. A one-time fee ($49) covers interactive coaching online as well as a phone consultation with a coach of their choice. Users can revisit resources as needed as their search progresses.
“Virtual coaching is an excellent tool and something that job seekers can do on their own to come away with more information and better options,” said Robbie Brawner Ouzts, a senior career specialist with the Georgia Institute of Technology and a member of Tieger’s national network of coaches.
People are often embarrassed to talk about job loss with family or friends.
“Coaching can help them see light at the end of the tunnel and approach the job search with much more confidence,” Ouzts said.
Ouzts often uses the Myers-Briggs personality test with her own clients because it helps people reconnect with who they are, what they want to do and what they do well.
“A lot of people overlook their natural skill set,” she said. “Because something is so easy for them, they think it is for everyone.”
Others have fallen into their careers and never given themselves permission to follow their passions.
Virtual coaching helps users create their own inventory of job-related strengths and potential blind spots. They learn what they need to be satisfied at work. The job selection tool helps them explore and research best-fit job possibilities.
“The unique value of the site is that we are giving people practical advice based on their personality types. There is no generic advice,” Tieger said. “The advice on interviewing or relieving stress — everything is personal.”
The advice on how to sell themselves in a critical half-hour interview would be different for introverts and extroverts, for example. An introvert who likes to think before talking needs to anticipate questions and practice ahead of time in order not to seem timid.
“Everyone comes away with a detailed road map of how to proceed in their job search,” Tieger said.
Knowing their strengths and how to target their search is an advantage in a tough market.
Once they complete the online portion, job seekers can select to consult live with one of the network of coaches.
“The online bios show the different strengths and approaches of coaches, so that people can find a good fit,” Ouzts said. “Before we talk, the client will send me his detailed road map, so I’ll already know a lot about them. We can start working immediately on the next step, whether it’s to further evaluate their transferable skills, find an effective way of networking or encourage them to move beyond things they have done in the past to jobs more aligned with their strengths and passion.”
As industries have restructured, “many of the jobs that people have recently lost will never come back. Hence, there is even more reason for people to learn to retool their careers,” Tieger said. “We can provide the information they need to do that.”