Wouldn’t it be great to know what kind of career choice is best for you? And you can do that by taking the Myers-Briggs test. Other people with your particular personality type have been found to enjoy and do well in certain careers, and your test results can help you make vocational career decisions.
For example, do you like to be around and help people, or do you prefer to work alone researching a complex subject? Do you trust your instincts more, or do you rely on facts?
The Myers-Briggs personality test was developed by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, who were inspired by the book Psychological Types by the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. The test evaluates you on the following four facets of preference:
Extroversion (E) / Introversion (I)
Whether a person is generally social or antisocial is only one aspect of this personality facet. Whether you are extroverted or introverted is all about how you get your energy and where you focus your attention. Extroverts get their inspiration from being around others through stimulating conversations and the hustle and bustle of social gatherings. Introverts are the most creative when they can work alone, preferring to observe and react to their world through their thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Judging (J) / Perceiving (P)
This facet of preference describes how you prefer to organize your life. Judgers appreciate structure, planning, and predictability, while perceivers prefer spontaneity and flexibility. Judges like to keep their things neat and tidy, and they like to stick to a schedule. Perceivers like to do things at the last minute and enjoy frequent adventures.
Thinking (T) / Feeling (F)
Thinkers generally rely on logic and reason, while Sensers tend to make decisions based on their personal values, relationships, and concerns. This facet of preference plays an important role in helping you choose your career path. Thinkers prefer jobs that allow them to use their analytical skills, such as pharmacists, scientists, and computer programmers. Sentimentalists like to make a difference in people’s lives and work best in careers such as nursing, massage therapy and social work.
Sensing (S) / Intuition (N)
The way you process information best describes this facet of preference. Sensors tend to be practical and realistic people, while Intuitives are more abstract and imaginative. Sensors and Intuitives tell things differently. Sensors will give you the facts, where Intuitives want to get to the point and understand the underlying principle of an issue.
Your special combination of these four facets tends to carry certain personality traits. Knowing your personality type helps you recognize your inner motives and needs. Each personality type is unique. No personality type is good or bad. Some types are more common, while others are very rare. Knowing your personality type can provide guidance to help you choose the type of career to pursue, but employers should never use it to eliminate job candidates.
There are sixteen different personality types in the Myers-Briggs personality theory named for the initials of the preference facets to which they are most inclined. The following are descriptions of each.
- ESTJs are hardworking traditionalists, and they like to take on leadership positions. They respect tradition and hierarchy and prefer order. They rely on experience and logic and like to get things done in a systematic way. Examples of ESTJs are Colin Powell, Laura Schlessinger and George Washington. Types of jobs that ESTJs enjoy and do well are airline pilots, athletic trainers, police officers and paralegals.
- ESFJs are conscientious helpers who are generous with their time and are sensitive to both the feelings of others and the perception that others have of them. They are serious and practical, are productive and keep a regular schedule. Famous ESFJs are Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, Sally Field and Mary Tyler Moore. Some jobs that ESFJs enjoy and do well are dental assistants, massage therapists, paralegals, and ministers.
- ISTJs are responsible organizers. Although Introverted, ISTJs like to participate and understand where they fit in organizations. They value predictability more than imagination and are logical and methodical in systematically solving problems. Examples of ISFJs are Queen Elizabeth II, George H.W. Bush, and J.D. Rockefeller. ISTJs would do well to pursue career paths as computer programmers, stockbrokers, pharmacists and surgeons.
- ISFJs are industrious caretakers who are motivated to provide and protect others. They appreciate tradition and seek to preserve values and standards. ISFJs work best and are most committed when their duties involve the welfare of others. Famous ISFJs are Barbara Bush, Kristy Yamaguchi, and Robert E. Lee. Jobs that ISFJs enjoy and do well are graphic artists, radiologic technicians, nutritionists and funeral directors.
- ENTJs are strategic leaders who like to organize change. They are quick to see new solutions to problems. They tend to be blunt and critical but are good at making logical but often tough decisions to accomplish their goals. Examples of ENTJs are Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates, Napoleon Bonaparte and Harrison Ford. Types of jobs that they enjoy and do well are financial planners, business consultants, physicians and attorneys.
- ENTPs are inspired innovators seek to understand people, systems and values without applying judgment. They are easygoing but often take the upper hand in debates and love to offer critical analysis. Famous ENTPs include Alfred Hitchcock, Thomas Edison and John Malkovich. Common jobs that ENTPs pursue include photographers, architects, public relations specialists and human resource recruiters.
- INTJs are analytical problem solvers and intellectuals who enjoy analysis and complex problem solving. They typically don’t like to be around people, who can be unpredictable and sometimes illogical. INTJs put a committed, concentrated effort on achieving their goals. Some INTJs you may have heard of include Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and Isaac Newton. Jobs that INTJs may pursue are computer programmers, astronomers, graphic designers and financial planners.
- INTPs are theoretical innovators who can get so absorbed in thought that they often become oblivious to the world around them. They are nontraditional and prefer their own unconventional way of doing things rather than following the crowd. Examples of INTPs are Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Jobs that INTPs enjoy and do well are psychiatrists, photographers, web developers and neurologists.
- ESTPs are energetic thrill seekers who work well under pressure or in an emergency. They are logical, practical problem solvers who are quick on their feet to fix challenges at hand but often put old tasks on the backburner. ESTPs are natural athletes and risk takers who can sometimes be abrupt and insensitive.
- ESFPs are vivacious entertainers. They are spontaneous and fun-loving. ESFPs are warm, talkative, charming and affectionate but they can easily become over-extended or unfocused by over-committing themselves with too many hobbies, tasks and friends. Marilyn Monroe, Magic Johnson and Ronald Reagan are famous ESFPs. Jobs they enjoy and do well include drama or music teachers, emergency room nurses or physicians, travel agents or dental assistants.
- ISFPs are gentle caretakers who have a strong aesthetic sense and enjoy the arts. They are flexible and spontaneous but deeply loyal to loved ones and causes that matter to them. ISFPs often don’t prefer to be in a leadership role but are good at building trust and leading by example. Cher, Steven Spielberg and Jackie Kennedy are ISFPs you may have heard of. Jobs they pursue include preschool teachers, fashion designers, opticians and respiratory therapists.
- ISTPs are observant artisans and put a practical understanding of how things work to good use. They get bored easily by theory but prefer working with mechanical things rather than interacting with people. Famous ESTPs are Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan and Amelia Earhart. Careers they pursue include landscape architects, software developers, firefighters and ranchers.
- ENFPs are people-centered creators who are excellent communicators and storytellers. They like to use their creativity to help others and are often involved in humanitarian causes. ENFPs are curious and often have a wide range of interests and friends from many backgrounds. Famous ENFPs include Bill Clinton, Carol Burnett, and Alicia Silverstone. Career paths they enjoy and do well include marketing consultants, teachers, massage therapists and musicians.
- ENFJs are idealist organizers and are often found as enthusiastic leaders, especially in humanitarian projects. They have an ability to see the potential in people and often play the important role as a mentor. Although they are extroverted, they still need time alone to rejuvenate. Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, and Dr. Phil McGraw are famous ENFJs. Careers that they are likely to pursue include journalists, social workers, chiropractors and graphic designers.
- INFPs are imaginative idealists who are guided by their set of values and what they believe is right. They are not motivated by money or status but instead use their creativity and originality to help others. They are usually unconventional and independent. Famous INFPs include Princess Diana, Julia Roberts and William Shakespeare. They often pursue jobs such as graphic designers, massage therapists, librarians and architects.
- INFJs are creative nurturers who have a talent for helping others solve personal challenges using creative solutions. They often have a vision for a happier and more ideal future, but they are also motivated and persistent in making their vision a reality. Some INFJs you may have heard of include Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Florence Nightingale. Careers paths they often pursue include career counselors, nutritionists, social workers and fundraisers.
When you know more about your personality type, it will help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. By choosing a career in which you will have strengths, you will have a better chance to thrive and grow.