Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are You A Perfectionist? Know Your Strengths Factors

By Ingrid Stabb (@ingridstabb)
This is PART ONE of a series that walks you through nine career types. To learn more, see

You’re the Perfectionist if your greatest strengths factor is about “Making Improvements.” If you are the first career type, you are interested in doing what is right. You are clean, neat, fair, idealistic, physically fit, health conscious, or a combination of these. You like to MAKE IMPROVEMENTS, to be CONSCIENTIOUS, and to WORK HARD. Perfectionists shine in roles such as auditor, dentist, fighter pilot, and chef, where they must pay attention to DETAILS. Down to earth jobs where they can be ORDERLY include nurses, mechanics, and personal organizers. Particularly IDEALISTIC Perfectionists may be found as reformers, political columnists, heads of charitable organizations, teachers, and ministers, where they bring PRINCIPLES—-an interest in MORALITY or BELIEF SYSTEMS—-to the workplace.

As a Perfectionist, you try to be good. You can forge ahead on a project, do well in school, and are likely to have been teacher’s pet. Putting a high premium on education, you will continue to learn through life, picking up traditional cues from your surroundings and polishing your values of fairness, cooperation, and self-sufficiency.

Measuring yourself often against others’ performances and your past performances can lead to dissatisfaction, but you try to maintain a pleasant demeanor even if you fall short of your ideal. Having good manners is just one of the areas in which you hold yourself to high standards.

Two career types related to yours, the Helper (the second one) and the Peace Seeker (the ninth one), may especially influence your own personality. Perfectionists with a more developed Helper side tend to be more interested in working with and caring for people; Perfectionists with a more developed Peace Seeker side tend to make use of more objectivity in their work.

If the Perfectionist describes you, what do you consider your greatest strengths factors? Rate yourself below (or stay tuned to read about the other career types).

To what degree do you strive to remain dignified and gracious when relating to others, including as good team players and as good listeners as well as communicators?
LO 1 2 3 4 5 HI

Logical Thinking
To what degree do you think in a methodical and systematic fashion?
LO 1 2 3 4 5 HI

Rate your ability to do skilled precision, thorough, and/or detail-oriented work.
LO 1 2 3 4 5 HI

Rate how conscientious and dependable you are in roles where you are in charge. This may include the ability to handle stress.
LO 1 2 3 4 5 HI

Improving Things
To what degree do you raise the standards of your individual work, move the group project ahead, and/or make the world a better place?
LO 1 2 3 4 5 HI

Stay tuned to learn about the strengths factors of the other eight career types!


  1. Are the 5 traits supposed to be ranked from high to low in order or is each on a separate scale? I can see either interpretation as correct.

    I do identify with the Perfectionist with a side of Helper but my career isn't mentioned in the article at all. I work as a web developer, which could be seen as a specialization of a software developer. I solve problems, build systems and use many of those traits you describe near the beginning of the article. There are lots of details, order and as software isn't something physical to hold I have a great deal of control over it. I've had a computer ever since I was 8 years old and have enjoyed excelling at Math and Science all my life. I'm more of a thinker than a feeler if one wants to use a Myers-Briggs interpretation of how I make decisions so I find this to be a good fit for me.

  2. You could rank high on all 5, or just a couple. That is, not all Perfectionists are the same. It sounds like software development is a *perfect* fit for you based on your personality and strengths!

  3. Courteousness - 4. Not perfect on manners all the time, but generally gracious to others.

    Logical Thinking - 5. I've always enjoyed a logical, systematic, and sequential thought process. Thus, I can emulate a computer pretty easily.

    Meticulousness - 4. My software has to work for every case which can be quite complex. Fixing bugs is also usually a devil is in the details kind of things. Sometimes my knee-jerk view is a high level one so this isn't perfect.

    Responsibility - 5. I enjoy being that person that pulls through at crunch time. If I say I'll do something, I follow through on it, almost meticulously so.

    Improving Things - 5. This does come in a few forms though. One side is after anything, thinking, "What could I do better next time?" or "What changes may make for a better outcome?" Continuous improvement is another term for this where one desire perfection but realizes that just a few more changes and I'll be sooo close.

    Just in case anyone wanted to see my answers for those ratings on myself. I can be a bit of an overachiever at times which cause some confusion between this type and the third type, the Achiever.