Vanessa, MBTIonline Contributing Writer
The path toward your ideal career isn’t always as linear as you’d expect.
You may even wear a few different hats before you find one that fits.
And sure, trying out different careers can be good. Healthy even. But what if there was a way to narrow things down to only the most interesting, compatible career options?
After all, why waste your time trying on berets when a top hat could really put some pep in your step? In other words, how do you find a career with purpose? And is there even one perfect career out there for each of us?
In honor of National Career Development month, Collegiate Gateway Founder and President Julie Raynor Gross joined host Melissa Summer on The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast. During the episode, Julie offered her best advice and insight about how to pinpoint career options that fit just right.
As a Master Practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator® (MBTI) and a Certified Practitioner of the Strong Interest Inventory®, Julie has given hundreds of people personalized, expert guidance on which educational and career pathways to take. Her interview was chock-full of insights for students, leaders, and everyone in between. Listen to the full episode below and click here for the transcript.
Here are some of the most notable highlights from the first part of the episode:
How can you pinpoint your ideal career?
Is there really one ideal job out there for everyone? It’s hard to say. Kind of like the concept of soulmates, it’s debatable and deeply personal.
However, there are ways to spotlight which career paths are most likely to suit your personality and interests. In fact, that’s exactly how Julie starts advising people – by assessing their personality preferences and core interests (quotes slightly adapted for clarity):
“My first step is to gather a tremendous foundation of knowledge. I do this through dialogue, asking questions, and creating a safe space for people to share their reflections and experiences. I’m interested in what each individual has found satisfying in their past, but also what has not worked as well for them. I want to help peel away the ‘shoulds’ and the obligations. Individuals may feel a pressure to pursue certain directions as a result of family or cultural expectations, and my objective is to help them identify their true authentic goals. So the MBTI and Strong assessments are invaluable. Our goal is to identify the person's true, innate personality and genuine interest so the follow-up interpretation session . . . is always an exciting discussion because increasing an individual’s self-awareness is so powerful in helping people live a fulfilling life.”
How does knowing your personality type and interests help you with your career?
Your MBTI personality type describes how you get energized, absorb information, make decisions, and organize the world around you. When you look at those preferences next to a detailed list of your unique interests, it illuminates several new possibilities for your life and career. During the interview, Julie used her own MBTI and Strong assessment results as an example:
“Each of the six Strong Interest Inventory themes has a different driver or motivator. My strongest interests are in the social, investigative, and enterprising themes. People with a high interest in the social theme are driven to help, guide, and counsel others. This is what motivates them most in their career. And this also correlates with my MBTI personality type of ENFJ in which the heart of my type is NF, the combination of Intuition and Feeling. This relates to my enjoyment of empowering others to reach their potential . . . So I view my own career as very successful in that I run an organization that provides assessments and admissions counseling to individuals, with the goal of helping them reach their potential. And I use my intellectual curiosity to learn about them and about specific fields of grad school and careers that would be a good fit. For each person, a successful career will be a unique blend of their personality and interests. And hopefully, will also provide work-life balance and the opportunity to contribute to society in a productive and meaningful way.”
What does heart of a personality type indicate?
The middle two letters of your four-letter MBTI type are sometimes referred to as the function pair or the heart of your type. Together, they describe the core of who you are and what you value most. Here are the possible variations:
ST (Sensing + Thinking) – Getting things right, objectivity, accuracy, efficiency, pragmatic use of details
SF (Sensing + Feeling) – Serving others, sympathy, making people’s lives better in practical ways
NF (Intuition + Feeling) – Making a meaningful difference, warmth, helping others fulfill their potential
NT (Intuition + Thinking) – Solving complex problems to help people, competence, technical analysis
The magic of self-awareness and nuance
During the podcast, Melissa told a funny story about the time she was shocked to find out a colleague had the same personality type as she has. While they seemed similar on paper, it was their interests that differed. It gave her more insight into just how personal personality and preferences can be. That’s the magic of self-awareness and nuance – they make life unique and interesting.
Julie offered some helpful insight into just how nuanced it can be for people trying to carve out their career path:
“I think we can interpret each of the interest areas very broadly. So, if someone has a strong interest in the artistic area, it doesn't necessarily mean that they want to have a creative career in writing or music or dance. But it could be that they want to apply their creativity to another realm . . . Let's say an individual is very interested in medicine. If you have an NF combination, you may be drawn to primary care, pediatrics, or psychiatry where you have enormous interaction with patients. If you have an ST combination, you may enjoy radiology, which typically involves very analytic work, conducted alone, with minimal interaction with patients. So you can see that you could have a certain career choice, but understanding personality and interest can help you refine exactly what specializations within that career might be the best fit for you.”
What’s the Strong Interest Inventory?
The Strong Interest Inventory® (Strong) assessment helps people identify their interests in six broad areas: realistic, artistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional (RIASEC). The results can indicate potential fields of study, careers, or even the leisure activities a person may find particularly interesting and compatible.
The Strong describes a person’s preferences in five areas: work style, learning environment, team orientation, leadership style, and risk aversion. With the help of a certified Strong practitioner, the assessment can be incredibly helpful for college major selection, career exploration, career development, employee engagement, reintegration into the workforce, and more.
Want more ideas to help you find the perfect career? Check out the free resources we have for National Career Development month.
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