Choosing a career path is a huge commitment with a lasting impact. We have to balance our wants and dreams with more practical factors like pay, benefits, and industry demand.
Some people know without a doubt what career they will pursue, but many of us deliberate, experiment, take a leap of faith, and then possibly start the process again.
However, instead of flailing in the dark during our search, we can use personality tests like the Myers-Briggs to gain insights into our traits, aptitudes, and motivations, and use that information to inform our career decisions.
Here are some great ways a personality profile can inform your job search.
What is the Myers-Briggs?
The Myers-Briggs test categorizes people into 16 personality types that are determined by how one expresses four central trait possibilities, namely extroversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.
My personality type, for example, is INFJ. According to the test, this means I tend to be more introverted, prefer to intuit and interpret meaning from basic info, use feelings to make decisions about personal interactions, and typically like to make solid decisions rather than leave things up in the air.
Take the Test
If you want to use your Myers-Briggs personality type to brainstorm careers, first you have to take the test. The version by 16 Personalities is my favorite because it takes less than 12 minutes and they provide free, extensive descriptions that cover strengths/weaknesses, personal relationships, parenthood, career paths, and workplace habits.
I’ve administered this test in the workplace, and my team was astounded. The results can be uncanny in their accuracy. Sometimes people get resistant to being classified into a “type”, or they have gotten inconsistent results over time, and those are legitimate qualms.
I would just suggest taking the info with a pinch of salt and using data that feels right to you.
Personality Types and Careers
After you take the test, navigate to the career section in the results to see a breakdown of what careers tend to mesh well with your personality type. As an example, I’ll describe some of the results for the rare personality type, ISTP.
These people are introverted, judge the world according to their senses and experiences, use logic in personal relationships, and prefer to stay open to new options rather than coming to hard conclusions. ISTPs enjoy getting their hands dirty, and they are natural builders and highly-logical problem solvers. They also require a sense of freedom and self-determinism, and they may like a bit of danger and excitement in their lives.
ISTPs are likely to succeed in truck driving jobs, freelance positions, and as business owners who can set their own terms. Their cool logic, problem-solving, and confident demeanor can help bring order to more free-wheeling positions.
The Myers-Briggs and You
Some people love this test, some people hate it, but I personally found it extremely illuminating. Most the people I have introduced it to came away feeling like they understood themselves on a deeper level.
That’s not to say you should just let the Myers-Briggs test make your choice for you. However, it can illuminate your characteristics in a way you didn’t see before, and give you ideas on career paths you may not have considered.
About the author: Anthony Christensen is a writer, digital marketer, owner of Astronautical LLC, and contractor at Webaholics. He earned a BS in English at Utah Valley University. He loves art and wandering the mountains and deserts of his native state, Utah.