What your handwriting says about your career
The next time you’re jotting something down on paper, take note: your handwriting could say much more about you and your career path than you realize.
Professional graphologists and handwriting experts believe that a probe of your penmanship could, for instance, reveal whether you’re an outgoing people person who would flourish in sales, or a detail-oriented introvert who thrives when working alone.
It’s all, apparently, spelled out clearly in the ink.
“I always say your handwriting is a paper mirror of your personality,” said Elaine Charal, who has analyzed handwriting since 1978.
Long-time analyst Simon Zelcovitch agrees. “Here’s what I believe: handwriting isn’t really handwriting, it’s mind-writing using hands as a tool.”
In Europe, handwriting analysis is used somewhat frequently as a tool during the hiring process, though in Canada it’s still a “very hard sell,” according to Charal. But if you want to see what sort of career clues you’re unwittingly transmitting in your cursive, jot down couple paragraphs and look for these markers.
Crossing your Ts (and other telling quirks)
Do you want to know if you’re a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, a hard-working pragmatist or a temperamental type with an angry streak? Look no further than the way you cross your lower-case Ts.
According to Charal, people who cross right at the centre are clear-headed types who set practical goals and achieve them. If your cross is higher on the stem, you might have lofty – to the point of unrealistic – ambitions. Conversely, if you cross your Ts lower, you’re probably someone who also prefers to keep expectations low to avoid disappointing anyone.
But it’s not just the position of the cross that matters. “If somebody crosses a T stem in a large, powerful stroke going off to the right, that’s a temper,” says Zelcovitch.
Experts say other letters offer revealing hints as well:
If the letter K towers over the other lowercase letters in a word, Charal calls it a “defiant K.” That indicates someone who should be their own boss, whether as a manager or entrepreneur. She sees a similar independent streak in people who write the letters M and N with jagged points.
If you write your As and Os with hooks, you could soar in sales. “They’re technically called ‘manipulative hooks,’ which means that you’re persuasive,” says Charal.
A lower-case Y that ends in a straight line implies someone who “loves and enjoys solitude,” says Zelcovitch. If the Y instead ends in an oversized loop? Congratulations on your large circle of friends.
The dot of your lower-case I also says a lot about you. The closer it is to the stem, the more detail-oriented you are. If it floats above, you possess imagination.
According to the experts, people with tiny handwriting are the type to sweat the small stuff, and could thrive in fields like accounting. If your script is big and bold, you most likely are too.
Charal recalls a client with massive writing and a personality to match. “That meant he was a people person, big-picture oriented – the kind of guy who would just shine when he walked into a room,” she says.
To the experts, one of the most meaningful features of your writing is the way the words slant.
A forward slant shows you’re sympathetic, attentive, and naturally adept at dealing with people. If your text sits completely straight, you prefer to solve problems with logic, rather than emotion. And a backward slant indicates that may not be the warmest to others.
“If I was standing at a party talking with you and leaning backwards, what would that say about my personality?” Charal explains.
A note on signatures
The experts don’t quite agree on whether your signature is all that meaningful. Zelcovitch argues that they mean nothing, because they’re merely a projection of how the writer wants to be seen.
Charal, meanwhile, thinks it varies by case. She once analyzed the illegible signature of Rob Ford, former mayor of Toronto, and found it telling.
“You could call it an unapologetic signature. It was just a squiggle. He was saying, in a sense, this is me – take me or leave me.”
Messy handwriting? This profession is for you.
It doesn’t take a specialist to know this: if your handwriting is completely and totally illegible, you might be a fit in medicine.
“Doctors are gods, so they don’t have to be concerned with who can decipher the crap,” says Zelcovitch with a laugh.
– Follow Workopolis on Twitter
– Sign up for the Workopolis Weekly newsletter
– Listen to Safe for Work, the Workopolis podcast