When selecting a career path it is important to keep in mind the innate characteristics that you possess before committing to a particular path. No matter the path, you will likely spend the majority of your life in this occupation—if things go well—and so ensuring that this lifetime of work matches your personality is of paramount importance. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a personality inventory that can help you do exactly that.
The Theory Behind the MBTI
The MBTI is based on Carl Jung’s theory on personality. Jung is one of Freud’s earliest supporters that quickly made a name of his own in the world of Psychology. The way that he differed from Freud was that while he believed that much of our personality is determined by the unconscious and past experiences it is also greatly influenced by our conscious thoughts and aspirations. The MBTI was then created by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs in order to make this theory not only accessible to non-psychology students but also applicable to everyday life, such as when carefully choosing a career.
Finding an MBTI Assessment Tool
Whenever you are considering using a psychological assessment of any variety it is important to keep in mind that not all assessment tools are created equal. While there are plenty of fun personality quizzes online they are not all reputable and certainly do not carry the weight of career selection with them. The most reliable place to complete the MBTI is on the Myers Briggs website itself, where the complete evidence-based assessment tool is housed. Taking the official MBTI, however, requires a qualified professional that has been trained and certified in assessment in the field of Psychology. This can oftentimes be costly and time-consuming, not to mention a bit overkill if you’re simply looking for some career guidance.
Another option is to take a free variation of the MBTI online, here. This survey-like online assessment tool takes no more than 12 minutes and poses questions about your everyday life that are easily answered with a click of a button. Once the survey is completed then your responses will be organized in order to determine where you fall on the four dichotomies of personality as outlined by Jung and both Myers and Briggs. The combination of the four dichotomies provides a very specific personality type that can help shed some light on your tendencies in everyday living. By understanding these parts of yourself you will better be able to understand which career path best fits you and your personality.
The Four Dichotomies
Introversion v. Extroversion
The first, and possibly the most important, scale is to determine how you prefer to focus your energy and attention. Do groups energize you or do they drain you? Do you focus on the world around you or is your focus on your own inner world? The way that you exist in the world and where you find your energy can tell you a lot about what kind of work environment best suits you.
Sensing v. Intuition
When you receive information from the outer world you make quick judgments on how to interpret the information. When you receive this information do you focus on the basic information before you or do you go deeper and add meaning and personal interpretations to the information? How you gather and organize information within your head can greatly determine how well you will get along in any given environment.
Thinking v. Feeling
Understanding the way that you make decisions can help guide your career path. Do you focus on logic and facts in order to come to a conclusion or do you consider the people involved and special circumstances?
Judging v. Perceiving
When you are coming to conclusions and creating plans, do you prefer to move forward in a structured way or do you like to remain open to potential opportunities that may come along the way? These two styles of thinking are vastly different from each other and can greatly influence your work style.
Using MBTI to Select a Career Path
After completing the assessment and finding where you lay on the four dichotomy scales you will have a specific combination of the scales that will give you your personality type. The 16 variations each have specific qualities that are unique to the combination of the four dichotomies, giving you—as a job seeker—a very detailed assessment of your personality type.
The MBTI as an assessment tool provides invaluable information about our personalities that can be used in many different ways. As for choosing a career path then the value of the MBTI increases immensely: it can help you select the right path from the start. By paying careful attention to the way that you function in the world you can then carefully choose a work environment that best suits you. Give the assessment a whirl and obtain the results on your personality type. A detailed description of your personality will help shed light on which career path may be the correct one for you.
If you would like to read more on personality types, read this series: