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It's not the whole picture, but it's a great place to start!

This blog forms part of the Myers-Briggs myth busting series I am doing with Karen Blyth from A4People

“The MBTI will tell me what job to apply for”

Now this is an interesting one!

It’s a – “not completely true, but it’s a great place to start!”

But before I go on, it is important to point out that (capability allowing) we can all do any job, as we can all work in ways that are not our preferred way (indeed some of us may currently do this frequently).

So let’s look at this further

Some of you may be in the careers and roles that you have always known you wanted to do and you thrive in the environment. However, some of you may have thought you wanted to do a particular career but then, when you got that job, found that the role didn’t come naturally, it wasn’t satisfying or indeed was really draining. This may be because that job doesn’t allow you to use your strengths and preferences particularly well.

Obviously there are other things at play here, e.g if you are no good at Maths, then trying to become an ‘A’ Level Maths teacher would be unlikely to be the right fit, or would require so much effort on your part that it would probably be exhausting. But that is about capability, not your personality.

Knowing your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality type will give you an indication of the sorts of work environments and tasks that are likely to be most satisfying. The middle two letters of your MBTI type tend to be the greatest influencers on the sorts of roles that would provide the most satisfaction.

Here’s an example

If someone has the middle letters N and F in their MBTI type, simply put, this means that they prefer big picture information and concepts over the smaller details and practicalities. They prefer to make people-focused, values-based decisions over objective, analytical ones.

With this combination of letters, they are more likely to find satisfying those professions or roles that require creativity, and people skills e.g counselling, teaching and the arts to name a few. Least attractive roles may be those that require them to be very task and detail-oriented, analytical and logical e.g accountancy, law enforcement etc.

What about the other parts of our MBTI type?

Well, these can also influence whether a role is satisfying to some extent too. Here are some examples:

If you gain your energy from having quiet time alone to reflect, then being expected to engage with others in large noisy meetings most of the day, whilst do-able, can be very draining. A role where you are able to work alone or with a small group of colleagues may suit you better.

Or, if you like structure and planning, being in a role where goal posts are constantly changing, especially at the last minute isn’t going to be comfortable either.

A word of caution

People should not be constrained by their MBTI personality type as to the roles they apply for. In fact, many occupations are attractive to people of each of the 16 types. Furthermore roles within a particular sector may differ. For example, just because two jobs in different companies have the same job title, doesn’t mean the role will be exactly the same. This may depend on the actual sector of the company, the environment as well as its size.

So going back to the ‘Myth’…. “It will tell me what job to apply for”

I would say that this is not the whole story. A better statement would be: “It will help guide me as to those roles which are unlikely to be the best fit for me, and those which I would be more likely to find satisfying”.

Not as catchy – but more accurate!

If you are considering your first job or looking for a career change, then why not discover your MBTI type? Or if you already know it, then have a chat with a Certified MBTI Practitioner.

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