Now that you’ve spent some time eliminating occupations from your Roster using career interests, skills and abilities, and work values, it’s time to talk about Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality.
Things you should know about personality for the purposes of the SCEA:
- Our personality is the total sum of our tendencies, behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics.
- Our personality guides our personal preferences on a day to day basis.
- Personality captures how people like to do things, while interests captures what people like to do.
- Personality is about preferences, not capacity (e.g., I prefer to work alone, though I’m capable of working with others like any normal human being).
- The more you know about your personal preferences, the better able you will be to identify occupations that compliment your personality.
- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one measure of personal preferences.
- There are no “good” or “bad” preferences.
- Preferences can change over time.
- Preferences can manifest differently in different situation (at home, at work).
- Check out the MBTI’s Wikipedia page for technical information about the MBTI, if you’re so inclined.
- If you know your personality characteristics and your work preferences are, you can use this knowledge to choose between competing occupations and, later, competing job offers.
The MBTI describes personal preferences along 4 dimensions:
- Extraversion vs. Introversion (E vs. I) describes how a person gets energized
- Sensing vs. Intuition (S vs. N) describes how a person takes in information
- Thinking vs. Feeling (T vs. F) describes the means a person uses to make decisions
- Judging vs. Perceiving (J vs. P) describes the speed with which a person makes decisions
To help you determine your scores on these 4 dimensions, you’ll first want to take this free version of the Jung Typology Test. Write down your percentage scores for each of the 4 dimensions on the correct line of the first page of the “Applying Personality” Microsoft Word document (if you prefer, you can download the document in .pdf format instead).
Next, review the personality characteristics on the first page (all 8 bullet point lists) and underline those that sound like you. Then, review the work preferences on the second page (all 8 bullet point lists) and underline those that you would like to have as a part of your ideal job. Now, highlight the most important attributes of all the ones you’ve underlined (pick your top 4 or top 8, for example)… the ones that you feel strongly about having be a part of your day to day work life. When you’re done, be sure to save your edits to the document.
Now, review the things you’ve underlined on both pages–do you see yourself mostly underlining things having to do with the sides of the dimensions you scored higher on? In other words, if you had a 53% toward Extroversion on the first dimension, do you notice yourself mostly underlining things in the Extroversion list rather than the Introversion list? If so, that’s good–it means there is some consistency between what you reported on the Jung Typology Test and what characteristics/preferences you identified on this Applying Personality document. However, it is common to select some characteristics/preferences from the other side of the dimensions, as people often have some of each dimension. There is no rule that you are not allowed to underline some characteristics/preferences that are on the other side of the dimension.
Your scores on these 4 dimensions can place you into one of 16 MBTI personality types. Check out CAS’s descriptions of the 16 MBTI personality types and what that means for a person’s work life as well as Ball State University’s suggestions regarding occupations and majors for each of the 16 MBTI personality types. Write down your personality type (or a few personality types, if you had some weak preferences on certain dimensions) in the document and save your edits.
Now that you have a better sense of your MBTI personality, you can use this information to rate each occupation on your Roster on a 1 (bad fit with my personality) to 10 (perfect fit with my personality) scale. To make this easier, I suggest reading over that occupation’s O*NET Summary Report to look for aspects of the job that seem congruent or incongruent with important aspects of your personality and work preferences. Cross off those occupations on your Roster that offer a poorer fit with your MBTI personality.
Here are some hints about using personality to narrow your Roster:
- You probably have clear and consistent personality preferences on certain dimensions and slight/inconsistent preferences on other dimensions. For example, I have a consistent preference for Introversion (60% toward Introversion) and a slight preference toward Judging (20% toward Judging). Therefore, because I have consistent preference when it comes to the Introversion–Extroversion dimension, I’ll want to pay particular attention to how the occupations on my list do or do not honor my preference for being introverted. I won’t spend too much time looking at how the occupations on my list match my slight preference for Judging because it’s really not as important to my satisfaction with my job. So, I recommend you concentrate on rating your occupations primarily based on what your consistent preferences are. It is important to clarify here that higher scores on certain dimensions mean you have a clearer and more consistent preference; higher scores do not necessarily mean that you have a stronger preference on that dimension. Thus, my 60% toward introversion means I have a very consistent preference toward introversion, not that I am intensely introverted.
- It can be helpful to look at each of the attributes you highlighted in the Applying Personality document and take a moment to think about how well or how poorly each attribute would be met by the particular occupation you are rating. Going attribute by attribute can sometimes make the process more manageable than trying to think about all of your personality preferences at once… my brain can’t hold that many things in my head at the same time! For example, if I’m looking at the occupation of Counseling Psychology, I might start by looking at one of the attributes I highlighted, which is the Thinking attribute of “solve problems with logic.” As I read the description of Counseling Psychologist, I notice that my desire to “solve problems with logic” is congruent with some of the Tasks listed for this occupation, such as “counsel individuals to help them understand problems.” Thus, I can already see that this occupation might be congruent with my personality preference for “Thinking.”
- A piece of advice related to the above bullet point: some attributes in this list are easier to use to rate occupations than others. For example, my “solve problems with logic” attribute was easy to use, but something like “trust inspiration” may be harder to use to rate one occupation versus another. Therefore, you may find it useful to focus on some highlighted attributes but not others for the purpose of rating these occupations. Just do your best 🙂
- Here’s another example of using personality to rate occupations. If a person starred “drawn to their inner world”, “prefer to communicate in writing”, “private and contained”, “like quiet for concentration”, “develop their ideas internally”, and “enjoy working alone with no interruptions”, and they read that a marketing manager “constantly has to interact with people in a public way through frequent verbal communication and explain their ideas out loud and be in fast-paced working environment with sudden shifts in working tasks”, then this occupation is probably a bad fit for their introverted personality characteristics and work preferences.
- Related to the above point, you may find it helpful to rate each occupations on each dimension separately (or on just those occupations where you have moderate-to-clear preferences) and then calculate the average of all those scores to get a single overall personality match score. For example, if I gave the occupation of Counseling Psychologist a fit rating of “8” for the E-I dimension and a fit rating of “4” for the T-F, my average fit score would be a “6.”
After you’ve used your MBTI personality to eliminate additional occupations from your Roster, you can proceed to considering education and training.
Here’s a video example of how a person with career counseling training used MBTI personality to further narrow her Roster: