How to choose a career path based on your MBTI personality and interests

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How to choose a career path based on your MBTI personality and interests

Posted 19 November 2022 by
Vanessa, MBTIonline Contributing Writer
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When you have trouble navigating something, it’s because you’ve either lost direction or never had it in the first place. To reach your destination, you may need some spatial awareness – and a good map.

To help lead the way during National Career Development month, we invited Collegiate Gateway Founder and President Julie Raynor Gross to join us on The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast. Julie sat down with host Melissa Summer to talk about how you can use your personality and interests as markers on the road to your ideal career.

Julie is career coach, a Master Practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator® (MBTI) and a Certified Practitioner of the Strong Interest Inventory®. She’s given hundreds of people personalized, expert guidance on which education and career paths to take.

There was so much good information in the podcast episode that we separated the recap into three parts (read the first one here). Now let’s move on to a recap of the middle of the episode. This part of the conversation covered everything from team personalities to life hacks for making big decisions. Here are some highlights:

Choosing a career is a big decision. Is there a way to simplify it?

Julie helps people through some of the most significant decisions of their lives: where they want to go to school, what they want to study, and what they want to do as a career. While those choices and their outcomes are innately complex, Julie shared a way to simplify the process of making big decisions:

“There's a theory of effective decision making called the zigzag approach. It’s a four-step process that involves both of the poles of processing information [Sensing and Intuition] and both of the poles of making decisions [Thinking and Feeling].

First, Sensing. Gather all of the data and the detail that's relevant to the decision or the problem that you're facing. Then Intuition, which is to identify all of the different options of how you can deal with that challenge or problem. Then we go to Thinking: you analyze the various options. And then finally, Feeling, which is when you consider the impact of the options on people.

Since each of us has a preference for either Sensing or Intuition and a preference for Thinking or Feeling, it means that we might tend to leave out two of these important steps. This is one of many ways that understanding your own personality can give you more mobility within your organization and career.”

How exactly can personality type and interests help people with career choices?

A camp counselor once told me and my friends to “find a need and fill it.” It was in reference to a day where we all chipped in to pick up litter, hose down equipment, and do some general cleanup. That advice has always stuck with me. It’s helpful when choosing a career too – especially when you can find some overlap between what people need, what you enjoy doing, and what you’re good at.

These days, that overlap is more accessible than ever.

Industries like social media, gaming, green energy, artificial intelligence (AI), and user experience (UX) have opened up a whole new world of possible career choices. If you feel uninspired or like you don’t know where to begin, Julie knows just what to do:

“The first step is to give people the [MBTI and Strong] assessments and discuss the specific occupations that are suggested for them based on the intersection of their personality and interests. Then we do a deep dive into O*NET, an Occupational Information Network, which has information on thousands of occupations. For each of those occupations, it provides extensive information on the education that’s required, the training, the responsibilities. One of the creative tasks that I suggest for people to do is look at the various occupations that have been suggested for you and highlight the particular tasks that appeal to you the most and see if you can think creatively of a field or even a new occupation that could combine everything that you love doing.”

Is there such a thing as a “team personality” in an organization?

Several years ago, my colleagues and I went through the MBTI Teams experience at a company retreat. While we were there, a certified MBTI practitioner explained the intricacies of our personality types and took us through some immensely helpful team-building exercises. We discovered that everyone on our team had NF (Intuition + Feeling) as the middle two letters in our MBTI type.

At the time, it felt like such a coincidence, but was it? While our exact roles differ, we’re all technically in the public relations and marketing industry. Could this mean there’s such a thing as an overarching team personality type? For instance, is it more likely that a group of nurses would have a preference for the SF (Sensing + Feeling) combination? Here’s what Julie had to say about this (quotes slightly adapted for clarity):

“Absolutely. In the nurse example, the SF combination is considered the practical helper. Often, nursing and teaching would be ideal fields. In terms of a team personality in organizations, it is the sum total of the four different preference dichotomies.

I often find the operations, finance, and accounting departments to be more Introverted, Sensing, and Thinking. And the marketing department could definitely be Feeling because the orientation to people is so important, and Intuition – the N – which is big picture and interpretation.

A marketing person would benefit from being able to have a big picture idea of the organizations that they're dealing with, what their motives are, and the individual people. So that NF compared with the ST will have a diametrically opposed way of communicating.”

Want to learn more about your MBTI personality type and what careers you’d be most satisfied in? Check out MBTIonline Careers, where you’ll get your official, research-backed MBTI type, over 300 careers with predicted satisfaction scores based on your unique personality type, mini courses on career development and more.

Interested in reading more about the intersection of careers and personality type? Check out the blogs Career exploration for Introverted personality types and Career exploration for Extraverted personality types.

You can also listen to Julie’s full interview here. And be sure to subscribe to The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast on any of these platforms so you don’t miss future episodes:

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