How Your Personality Can Make You More Money

We talk a lot about finding a job that's right for you. Everyone wants to use their skills, grow, and feel appreciated in their roles as employees. But it turns out there's an even better reason to think closely about how well your job suits you — it can actually affect your paycheck.

Researchers at the Netherlands' Tilburg University have just published a study suggesting that the right person for the job can come in a lot of variations, and a lot of that fit comes down to environment. Basically, your particular combination of extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience can have a meaningful impact on your salary, if your traits coalesce in the right way.

It's not necessarily a one-to-one correlation, though, and you can have too much of a good thing in certain circumstances. According to lead researcher Jaap Denissen, "[H]ighly conscientious individuals whose jobs did not demand such levels actually had lower earnings than individuals who were low in conscientiousness and had jobs that demanded high levels."

The researchers used the standard "Big Five Inventory" to figure out how study participants stack up on traits. It's a 60-question survey that rates how much you agree with statements like "I treat others with respect" and "I find it hard to influence people." You can take the test for free online and consider how the results fit with your job. It's not a hard diagnosis one way or the other, but you might find you have some hidden strengths in your field that you can capitalize on.