Are you an introvert, and do you worry that this trait may be holding you back in your career? Consider the Myers-Briggs Type Instrument, or MBTI. It’s an assessment tool that asks you specific questions and analyzes your personality preferences based on the answers.
Now, before I get into the MBTI assessment, I do have to acknowledge that people are inconsistent, and they never behave the same way all the time. But what Myers-Briggs does is tell you what your personality prefers to do in certain situations. It also tells you how these preferences influence your ideal job.
Let me explain a bit of how Myers-Briggs works first. It relies on four categories of questions, each of which has two possible options. I’m going to explain each of those categories and options and how they relate to your job preferences.
Where you focus your attention
The first category determines where you prefer to focus your attention. Extroverts focus attention on the outside world and other people. I’ve found that extroverts prefer jobs that allow them to actively work with others and outdoors, like in sales. Introverts tend to focus on internal ideas and impressions, and prefer jobs that encourage this kind of intellectual challenge.
Are you a big picture kind of person?
The second category analyzes how you absorb information. “Sensing” types use the five senses to focus on the immediate situation, and lean towards jobs that are stable and consistent and predictable. People who lean towards “Intuition” focus on patterns, the big picture, and the future, and prefer creative jobs or ones that require planning and analysis.
How do you make decisions?
The third influencing category predicts how you make decisions. People who emphasize “thinking” are very objective and logical. They prefer jobs that deal with inanimate things like machinery, laws, and principles—all of which can be dealt with in an objective fashion. “Feeling” people rely on values, subjective evaluations, and gut instinct, and are much more inclined to take jobs that involve people.
How do you interact with the world?
The last category analyzes how you deal with the outside world. “Judging” people like things planned out and as organized as they can make it, and that influences how they perform their jobs. They want their work to be systematic and foreseeable. “Perceiving” people are spontaneous and tend keep options open. They work in a fluid, seat-of-the-pants fashion that adapts to the situation as it comes.
Now, there’s no “wrong” combination when it comes to the Myers-Briggs test. You can perform well in any job that you want. But the purpose of this exercise is for you to find out which jobs you’re most comfortable being in based on your ideal personality preferences. And if you’re comfortable in a job that fits your personality, then you have a greater chance of achieving job satisfaction and staying longer in your chosen career.
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