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Personality & Career Path: Assessing Your Options

written by: Chris Flood•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 8/3/2010

This article compares MBTI personality test with alternatives and argues that MBTI is the best for ascertaining which career is a good fit for your personality.

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    Everyone, particularly those on the brink of entering the work force or contemplating a serious career change, should be aware of how their personality fits with their career. Doing work that matches your own proclivities will not only ensure ongoing daily satisfaction with your job but also more likely lead to more substantial financial rewards. The web is full of free career and personality assessment options that can help you with a match. Career personality tests do vary, however. I find that approaches based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to be the most coherent and applicable. This article notes the best way to figure out your MBTI personality type, why other tests aren’t quite as good, and other considerations worth noting for selecting your best career path.

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    MBTI-Based Tests

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    I find the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to be highly accurate, though you have to be able to know when they are a bit off or when you yourself are going through a temporary personality phase. The test on will let you know your personality type after a quick test, and serves as an excellent centralizing site for quotes, snippets, and links to the best websites out there for describing MBTI personality types. It’s supposedly off base for 1 in 4 people, but when you read the descriptions you can figure out what the best fit is. Once you have ascertained your personality type, check out to see how it aligns with your current job.

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    Other Tests

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    Other career and personality assessment tests incorporate additional preferences and thus might be able to refine your list of recommended careers more than a MBTI-driven career test. For example, tests will try to determine whether you are driven by helping others or by personal gain or whether you prefer “creative” or “artistic” activities to more mundane ones.

    However, by introducing these additional variables (sometimes at the cost of other essential personality traits that MBTI covers), these personality tests increase the possibility that their predictions for you are off-base or too narrowly focused. It’s also tougher to self-correct for an erroneous test, since the tests don’t generally show the other possible outcomes of the test which could match. Career personality elements like “helping others” and “artistic tendencies” are easier to weave in and out of a career path than other aspects more fundamental to one’s personality. Finally, these parts of a career preference are most likely to directly contradict one another; for example, high design and social equity do not seem to go hand in hand in urban planning, so anyone hoping to appreciate both at once would be disappointed.

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    Clearly, additional considerations must be taken in a career path other than personality fit. Salary, job growth, location, etc. are all important, but most careers suggested by personality type tests are possible to pursue in any metropolitan area, so these issues are subsidiary to the personality concerns.