Career planners 20 competencies

The need to plan one's career may arise in many situations. Great help comes from knowing your personal basic competencies in action, planning & problem solving and viewing. The following presents a list of 20 hands-on competencies with coverage across education, occupations and jobs. Compile a list of your top-5 basic competencies for a starting point to your career planning.

Independent action

1. Focuser seeks for high and error-free quality and outcomes in independent action. Competence in role of a self-employed professional, technical specialist or specialist with clearly defined responsibilities.

2. Results seeker seeks for quantitative, sizeable results and records in independent action. Competence in role of an entrepreneur or a specialist in results-oriented and more loose-boundaried jobs such as sales.


3. Action leader gets others going. Sets direction to others, gives instructions and orders. Competence in supervisory positions or in jobs that involve direct leadership or control of others’ behavior such as in law enforcement.

4. Influencer inspires and leads others’ thoughts and feelings through ideas, displays and persuasion. Competence in supervisory roles and in influencing audiences as in politics, marketing etc.


5. Socializer creates and cherishes social relations and spends much time in company of others. Competence in roles of direct, face-to-face interaction with core in communication, networking and organizing of social events.

6. Advisor of others guides, advises and supports others. Competence in roles of direct, face-to-face interaction with core in advisory and guidance of others as in training, educational and guidance jobs.

7. Listener to others listens, relies on and works as an aide, ”right hand” to another person. Competence in roles of direct, face-to-face interaction with core in listening to, and serving other people as in customer service and caring jobs.

8. Follower of own path relies primarily, almost only on oneself and is the opposite of the listener to others. Competence in jobs requiring steadfast action as in purchasing, security and inspection jobs.

Planning & problem solving

9. Fact based person approaches things based on known facts. Competence in action centered jobs where things and processes are established or, where new ideas or openings are not needed.

10. Idea seeker approaches things by seeking for new ideas. Competence in planning centered jobs that call for new ideas, openings and content production.

11. Concrete perceiver perceives things in a focused and concrete manner. Competence in action centered jobs where the target is on practical things. Useful in more practical educational fields.

12. Abstract perceiver perceives things with a broad scope, by seeking for their contexts. Competence in planning centered jobs where the target is on more complicated things such as in concept design or strategy. Useful in more theoretical educational fields.

13. Analytic thinker comes up with rational, standard solutions with the benefit of applicability in many situations. Competence in logically behaving processes (cf. material processes). Useful in natural science and technical education, also in economics and legal studies.

14. Intuitive thinker comes up with instinct driven and at best creative solutions addressing particular features of each situation. Competence in irregularly behaving processes (cf. people processes). Useful in humanities, behavioral science and art education.

15. Cautious person makes a detailed study of the grounds for decisions, implements things with caution. Competence in jobs requiring detailed research or, involve serious consequences.

16. Fast-paced person implements things without delay, even by taking risks. Competence in well-defined, action centered jobs and in competitive environments.


17. Proponent of consistency appreciates clear rules. Competence in identification of irregularities and errors as in financial administration and monitoring of processes.

18. Proponent of variety appreciates the new and different. Competence in ability to seize the new and unseen as in expatriate and creative work.

19. Realist holds a conditional belief in success and is aware of limited resources. Competence in jobs that require acute awareness of risks as in rescue jobs.

20. Optimist has a strong belief in success. Competence in jobs that require unhesitating way of throwing oneself into new things.

Petteri Niitamo, PhD

Petteri Niitamo, PhD, has written books on motivation, job interview and assessment methods. He attended the PhD program on personality psychology at UC Berkeley in 1986-1989. In 1993-2002 he worked as chief of the Psychological assessment unit at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and has served as an adjunct professor of competencies and psychometrics at Aalto University in 2004-2012.

Original longer blog