MY CAREER MATCH

Your career matches should be thought of as your beacons. They signal a good direction in which to lead your career – rather than as the destination you should reach tomorrow. If you know this is your ultimate destination, you can chart a course that will land you there (or someplace close by) in the future.

CAREERS

MY SCORES

Utilizing sophisticated and complex algorithms, you have been compared to satisfied, successful business professionals in 33 different careers. Your score represents how closely you align with the career. The higher the score, the better the match.

• A score of 90 means that you are more similar to people in that career than 90% of several hundred thousand other business professionals.
• A score of 10 means that you are more similar than only 10% of other business professionals.

Sales Management

0

99

100

Public Relations and Communications

0

94

100

Real Estate Development

0

92

100

Project Management

0

87

100

Marketing and Marketing Management

0

87

100

Business Development and Sales

0

86

100

Entrepreneurship

0

83

100

Advertising Account Management

0

81

100

Law

0

71

100

Investment Banking

0

61

100

Management of New Product Development

0

59

100

Private Equity Investment (including Leveraged Buy-Out)

0

50

100

Venture Capital

0

46

100

Non-Profit Management (Higher Education, Government and Human Services)

0

45

100

Production and Operations Management

0

45

100

Investment Management (Portfolio Management and Securities Analysis)

0

33

100

General Management

0

33

100

Training and Organizational Development

0

32

100

Research and Development Management

0

25

100

Retail Management

0

15

100

Commercial Banking

0

15

100

Institutional Securities Sales

0

14

100

Human Resources Management

0

14

100

Strategic Planning and Business Development

0

13

100

Management in Science and Engineering Development

0

13

100

Real Estate Finance

0

12

100

Information Systems Management

0

9

100

Accounting

0

9

100

Securities Trading

0

8

100

Management Consulting

0

5

100

Financial Planning and Stock Brokerage

0

3

100

Supply Chain Management

0

2

100

Finance in Corporate Settings

0

2

100

SALES MANAGEMENT

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No one pursues a career in sales management without having spent time doing direct sales, and succeeding in that work. This overview focuses on "sales management" specifically, as the sales manager has a very different role from his or her direct sales people.

One of the things sales people love is that they get to work on their own -- not alone, but depending on themselves and themselves alone for their success. In sales management, on the other hand, you work through other people and your success is dependent on their success. If they don't make their sales and commissions, you don't get your bonus. Being reliant on others is a significant transition for many sales professionals, and hence why not everyone strives to transition to management.

But, some people who have success selling, ultimately decide they want to try management. This is not necessarily a huge career risk, because successful sales people are always in demand. So, the door to move back into direct sales remains unlocked. They do so for any of several reasons.

One is that, in addition to the process of persuading customers and building and maintaining those relationships, they really are interested in leading teams, training and mentoring the people who are now at the start of their careers.

Another is that they want a say in the strategy of sales and marketing efforts. In sales, you sell. In a senior position in sales management, you "have a seat at the table" when key decisions are made about products, marketing strategies, advertising, and other issues.

Finally, a move into management usually means less travel and more control over time and lifestyle, which has an appeal that may compensate for the fact that the move from sales into sales management often has a dollar cost (sales commissions are very often higher than management salaries).

No one pursues a career in sales management without having spent time doing direct sales, and succeeding in that work. This overview focuses on "sales management" specifically, as the sales manager has a very different role from his or her direct sales people.

One of the things sales people love is that they get to work on their own -- not alone, but depending on themselves and themselves alone for their success. In sales management, on the other hand, you work through other people and your success is dependent on their success. If they don't make their sales and commissions, you don't get your bonus. Being reliant on others is a significant transition for many sales professionals, and hence why not everyone strives to transition to management.

But, some people who have success selling, ultimately decide they want to try management. This is not necessarily a huge career risk, because successful sales people are always in demand. So, the door to move back into direct sales remains unlocked. They do so for any of several reasons.

One is that, in addition to the process of persuading customers and building and maintaining those relationships, they really are interested in leading teams, training and mentoring the people who are now at the start of their careers.

Another is that they want a say in the strategy of sales and marketing efforts. In sales, you sell. In a senior position in sales management, you "have a seat at the table" when key decisions are made about products, marketing strategies, advertising, and other issues.

Finally, a move into management usually means less travel and more control over time and lifestyle, which has an appeal that may compensate for the fact that the move from sales into sales management often has a dollar cost (sales commissions are very often higher than management salaries).

arrow INTERESTS
The key factors for a career in Sales Management are relatively high interests in Creative Production, Enterprise Control, Managing People and Teams, and Influencing Others (compared to other Business Core Interests). Most satisfied, successful business professionals working in this career hold these as very strong interests. If your interest is relatively weak, this is likely to present a problem. One of the reasons these people chose this career -- and are successful and satisfied in it -- is precisely because it matches their interests.  Read More >

The interest patterns of people working in business development and sales, and sales management are very closely aligned. People who move into management do so because they find that it better fits what motivates them. More specifically, management offers rewards that are more motivating to them now, because their motivations have changed over time.

An interest in Creative Production is an indication that the person likes doing things that are novel, not predictable or routine. This is an excellent match for a career in sales, where every encounter is new and every negotiation is unique.

Sales professionals sometimes say that they regard themselves as independent businesses providing a service (selling the product) to a company (their employer). They manage themselves and their (not the company's) relationships with customers. They control their hours, and to a large extent, their revenues. All of these elements match well with an interest in Enterprise Control.

Finally, a strong interest in Influencing Others is to be expected given that business development and sales, almost by definition, is an exercise in influence and persuasion.

Sales professionals initiate, form, nurture and maintain relationships with existing customers and potential customers. An interest in Managing People and Teams is usually expressed through directly managing people. In sales, it emerges in the form of managing those customer relationships.

arrow MOTIVATORS
The ways people are rewarded in this, or any other career, can vary greatly from company to company, group (within the organization) to group, even manager to manager. Like what is required of you, the rewards you are likely to get early in your career are likely to be different in your mid- or later career years (and not only in pure compensation).

In addition, how people define rewards differs – and sometimes dramatically, from person to person. One person's "exceptional financial reward" (Financial Gain) may make another cringe, and turn away. One person's good Lifestyle means no travel, no weekends, and no evenings. While another's good Lifestyle means no travel on weekends, home by 10:00, and weekend work mostly being done from home.  Read More >

These are the rewards that are, by most people's definition, generally found in this career. But, remember to take into account how you define each of the motivators CareerLeader assessed:

  • The desire for a more comfortable Lifestyle is what motivates some sales professionals to move into management. While sales often allows for a relatively high degree of control over one's time (as long as you are meeting your sales targets, of course), it often involves time on the road and pushing to meet the desires of the customers who are generating your commissions. Moving into management can allow you to diminish travel, and smooth out some of the time crunches.
  • Managing People: People find this reward in sales management, but not at all in the individual contributor sales role. Remember, this is "managing and directing other people," which is not the same as an interest in Managing People and Teams.
  • Positioning: Especially in sales-driven companies, the sales management role can lead to high-level corporate positions.
  • The desire for a degree of Security is the other thing behind some sales to sales management shifts. Pure sales can feel a bit like a compensation rollercoaster. In sales management, by contrast, you lose the thrill of those "ups," but you also reduce the anxiety that comes with the "downs."

arrowSKILLS
The skills listed below are most critical for success in this career. Of course, how important they are relative to each other may change over time, and skills not listed here may become important later in your career. Also, a skill not on this list can be important if it is a marked deficiency. For example, Openness to Criticism -- one of the skills not seen here -- may not be essential to success in this career. But, being virtually incapable of accepting critical feedback, in a non-defensive manner, will almost certainly result in failure.  Read More >

A successful career in Sales Management requires:

  • Ability to Teach: Clear and patient when explaining things; a good teacher.
  • Delegating: Delegates appropriately and effectively.
  • Empathy Skills: Can see things from other people's points of view.
  • Flexibility: Adapts easily to changing situations and is able to adopt new approaches when necessary.
  • Influence: Can influence and persuade other people, even without direct authority.
  • Motivational Ability: Understands how to motivate different kinds of people to do their best work.
  • Oral Communication: A skillful public speaker, good at presenting ideas and plans in a persuasive manner.
  • Organizational Priority: Able to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, even though they cause individual people distress.
  • Projection of Confidence: Projects self-confidence, even in uncertain and difficult situations.
  • Teamwork: A team player: cooperative, works well as part of a group.

arrow How do you determine how well people match a given career?

On one level, the process is simple. We take a large group of people working in a career (e.g., marketing), who tell us they like it, and who have been doing that work for at least four years (but, on average, much longer). The size of the large group is on average 1,000 business professionals per career path.

Then, we analyze their responses and scale their scores as they compare to the responses and scores of several hundred thousand people who are also business professionals, but who are not working in marketing. The items and scales that differentiate marketers from non-marketers become the algorithm for "Marketing."

If both groups have high scores on an item, or if both groups have low scores on an item, that does not make it into the algorithm. But, if all the marketers have high scores on an item, and all the non-marketers have low scores on the same item (or vice-versa), that item is a powerful predictor of who will be a happy, successful marketer, and who will not.

There are many of these items, or "grains of sand," on the scale for each of the careers. Depending on how your scores compare to the scores of those happy, successful marketers, you may look a lot like them, not at all like them, or somewhere in between.

arrow What if I "faked it?"

It is the fact that there are so many "grains of sand" (over fifty different items are used in each career computation) that makes this assessment hard to "fake," even if you're specifically trying to. In addition, some of the items are going to be pretty obvious: happy, successful accountants respond positively to the item that asks if you think you'd like the work of an accountant. But, others are not obvious at all.

For example, supply chain managers like the idea of being a novelist more than other people. Why? No one knows. We just know that they do. Does saying you'd like the work of writing novels mean that you'll be a happy supply chain manager, or give you a high match for that career? No. Remember, each algorithm is made up of many, many items. The point here is that most of those items are not going to be things that you'd think, "I want to look like a supply chain manager, so I'll answer this question Yes, and that one No." The scales are both highly valid and very subtle, not transparent.

arrow I can't understand how I could have a high (or low) score on this career.

I can't understand how I could have a high (or low) score on this career. There are two possible explanations for either of these situations. You really should have a high (or low) score, and for whatever reason our assessment failed to pick that up. The other is that you think you should have had a high (or low) score, but either there's something about you that you're not taking into account, or something about the career you don't understand.

If all we know is that you disagree, we will always err on the side of you being right. But, there have been enough times over the past 15 years that, after talking with the person, we both see that there really is a good reason they have a high score on business development and sales, for example. Should they go into sales as a career? Maybe, maybe not. But, after some reflection, they can see that the score makes sense.

We have also encountered over the years someone receiving a low score on a career that they are really, really sure is for them. But, when we talk it through, it comes to light that there's something about that career that they don't really understand. For example, someone wants to be a venture capitalist because they want to help the CEOs of the firm's portfolio companies. This is an admirable desire, but venture capital is about deals and raising funds -- and the CEOs of their best investments don't need their help.

Ultimately, you shouldn't do (or not do) something because you did (or didn't) get a high score. But, if you do have a result that surprises you, you also shouldn't disregard it without giving it some thought. Spend a few minutes asking "Why?" or "Why not?" before you decide.

arrow I look at some of my career matches and they don't seem to fit with my interests. My interests look like they should fit the career, but I don't get a high match. Or, I get a high match and my interest pattern doesn't seem like it should be a good fit for this career. Why?

The career match algorithms are very, very precise, and each one comprises many different scores that differentiate people who are successful and happy in that career from people in other careers. Some of those scores will be one or more of the eight core business interest scales, but most of them will be actual interest, motivator and skills items. Most of the "weight" in the algorithm is carried not by your score on one or more of the eight core business interest scales, but by individual item scores (see What if I "faked it?" above).

Also, people in any of the careers will have a good deal of variety in their core interests. For example, we would be very surprised to see accountants having average scores on Quantitative Analysis in the 20s, and they don't. This is their strongest interest by far. But, they do have a relatively high score on Coaching and Mentoring, which some people would find surprising. Why? We don't really know why. Why do they have a very weak interest in Enterprise Control? Again, we don't know.

The ultimate answer to the question is that what goes into those algorithms for each of the careers can be unexpected.

arrow I have high matches with many of the careers. How do I figure out which ones to focus on? The question here is really, "What defines a 'good' match? Scores in the 90s? Where's the cut-off?"

Unfortunately, there's no definitive answer to that question. One thing to do is to look at the "breaks"— in other words, the gaps between the scores. For example:

  • You have two scores of 98, three 97s, three 96s, and an 88. That 88 means that you are more similar to people in this career than 88% of business professionals in general are. That's a lot. But, there's a gap of eight points between that 88 and the 96s above it. It would make more sense, then, to pay more attention to those eight scores in the 96-98 range.
  • If you have nine scores of 91 and above, and your next highest score is 89, you should pay attention to those nine—even though the gap here is only two points.
  • But, if your highest score is 93, followed by an 87, you should consider them both high matches.
  • And, if your top score is an 82, that would be your high match, even though it's not in the 90s or the high 80s.
  • Of course, this rule breaks down the lower the numbers go: a score of 7 is not a good match, even if it is your highest.


Why do you have so many high scores? It's hard to say. But, people who answer the interest questions with a lot of "Yes, I'd really love to do that" responses are generally going to have more high scores on the career matches. That's why it's important to pay attention to your scores only, even if someone you know has higher scores on some careers than you do, and whether your highest score is a 99 or a 79.

arrow I have almost no high matches with these careers. Why? What should I do?

Let's take those questions in order. Why? Perhaps, you generally answered most of the interest questions in the neutral-to-negative direction. Your choices were:

0I would not like this work (or activity).
1I would like it to a limited extent.
2I would like it.
3I would very much enjoy it.

People with more 2s and 3s, than 0s and 1s, are generally going to have more high scores on the career matches than people with responses of 0 and 1.

What should you do? The careers with higher scores indicate better matches than the careers for which you have lower scores. This is true whether your highest score is a 99, or a 79. So, look at your highest-scoring matches, no matter what the numbers are. Think about whether they make sense to you, and why they're high matches (even if one is surprising).

Finally, if you'd like to, you can re-take the interest assessment (BCII) and "push" your scores a little higher. Don't force a 0 into a 2 or 3, but if it could go either way -- 0 or 1 -- give it a 1. If a 1 could go either way -- 1 or 2 -- let it tip into the 2s, and do the same for borderline 3s.