Lou Adler, noted author (Hire With Your Head ,Wiley, and The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired,) simplifies job search and self-definition beautifully with his premise that there are only four kinds of jobs in the world. As Lou puts it:
Everything starts with an idea. This is the first of the four jobs – the Thinkers. Builders convert these ideas into reality. This is the second job. Improvers make this reality better. This is the third job. Producers do the work over and over again, delivering quality goods and services to the company’s customers in a repeatable manner. This is the fourth job.
Can it be this easy? Well, we probably are all combinations of two of the types, but yes, it can be. What are you good at? Are you the one coming up with that breakthrough idea leaving everyone wide-eyed with confusion and disbelief? Well, you’re the Thinker. You like new projects, taking the impossible and making it possible.
Do you like to roll up your sleeves and take the idea, turning it into a program or a system, or a product? Then you are a builder and you are happiest turning concepts into creations. Or maybe you like to look at what exists, and make it better? Then you are an Improver. You have strong analytical skills and are able to take the process to a new level. Finally, are you able to make the product and deliver it to the customer’s satisfaction in a consistent manner? Well, then you are the Producer, the person getting it done time and again.
Adler says that most of us are a combination of two of the four job types. He feels we should get that part right and not slot ourselves (or be slotted) into the wrong types of jobs. Ponder the thinker who’s asked to make the same thing consistently; it’s just not going to work. Or consider the Improver who’s asked to come up with a completely new concept? This may not come about at all.
As we’ve mentioned in times past, it’s important to know your strengths, preferences and play to them instead of trying to be something you are not. If you’ve had unprecedented success churning out quality products and are asked to take an unproven concept to market, you will either be incredibly stretched, or painfully frustrated.
Thanks to Adler, once we know our job type, then we organize our job search strategy, our resume, our networking to go after the optimal job. And by the way, that job type preference added to your unique skills and experience, becomes your personal brand.