Hiring managers, networking contacts and new acquaintances making small talk often ask, "What made you want to work in your field?" People typically answer by saying that they've always been interested in it, or that they have a knack for the required skills. But part of the reason you're drawn to a certain line of work could simply be that it aligns with who you are.
It seems like common sense to say that individuals are often best suited to careers and work environments that fit their personality type. A well-recognized test to determine your core personality is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool. This test, which assesses a person's psychological preferences in how he or she perceives the world and makes decisions, assigns people one of 16 distinct personality types, coded by combining the following letters:
- E (extravert) or I (introvert), in interacting with others
- S (sensor) or N (intuitive), in processing information
- T (thinker) or F (feeler), in making decisions
- J (judger) or P (perceiver), in dealing with the outside world
According to Truity Psychometrics, the developer of the MBTI-based TypeFinder personality and career assessments, extraverts like working on teams and in busy spaces, while introverts prefer independent work in calm, quiet spaces. Sensors enjoy working with concrete things like people, data and machines, whereas intuitives work best with abstract theories and ideas. Thinkers want a job that lets them use their intelligence, and feelers want their work to help others and reflect their personal values. Judgers prefer structure and organization in the workplace, but perceivers would rather have flexibility and freedom. [The Best Job for You: How to Find It]
Truity characterized ideal "job types" based on a person's four-letter MBTI personality code. A list of specific job suggestions based on your MBTI type is available on Truity's infographic, published on Undercover Recruiter.
ESTJ: practical supervisor
ISTJ: productive realist
ESTP: agile troubleshooter
ISTP: adaptable technician
ESFJ: caring provider
ISFJ: sensible helper
ESFP: outgoing entertainer
ISFP: attentive artisan
ENTJ: driven director
INTJ: strategic mastermind
ENTP: inspired inventor
INTP: independent scientist
ENFJ: inspiring guide
INFJ: compassionate counselor
ENFP: expressive advocates
INFP: creative individualists
When you've chosen a prospective career based on both your personality and your general interests, the next step is to lay out a "road map" to help you discover the possibilities within your field, said John Schwarz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier.
"Build a path in two-year increments [to] lay out what is possible," Schwarz told Business News Daily. "Set your goals high. What are the necessary steps you need to go through, and what personal and professional characteristics [should you] develop to get there? Then, pursue it."
If you're not sure what options are available to you based on your skill set, work with a career coach, mentor or human resources professional to help you figure out which areas to pursue, Schwarz said. He advised revisiting your road map every two years to see if you're still on the right trajectory to get to where you want to go, or if you've hit barriers that must be overcome.
"You may have to adjust your goal downwards as you progress, but if you don't set that ambitious goal, chances are, you'll never get there even if you could," Schwarz said. "You won't know if you've met your ultimate objective unless [you set] the objective to begin with."