WNA Blog

Sun 31 Jan 2016

The Right Stuff: How Personality Influences Career Success

Human Resources and Career Advice

Studies have shown that nearly 3 out of 4 students will change their major at least once during their University career. Sometimes the change is prompted by lack of aptitude in the chosen profession, but more often it is because the student got a closer look at their career and decided that it wasn’t a good fit for them. Ten years after graduation, however, only about 1 in 10 working adults is still engaged with their career path. This is true even though 75% of them changed their major whilst at Uni.

A personality inventory is often the best way to narrow down your career choices. One of the most often-used personality inventories is the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, which identifies 16 distinct personality types based on the responses to nearly 100 questions.

The inventory focuses on four distinct aspects of personality:

  • Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I): Extroverts tend to be more action-oriented than introverts, and thrive on personal interactions with other people. Introverts prefer deeper thought processes and may actually prefer working alone to participating in a team environment.
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (I): Some people rely more on their senses to provide information about the world around them, while others depend more on their impressions and instincts for the same information. Those who prefer “sensing” are often better suited to hands-on careers, and those who rely on intuition tend to lean toward imaginative, abstract careers.
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): This personality aspect deals with how people make decisions. Thinkers put a great deal of faith in objective data and reasoned conclusions, while others depend more on their emotions and their feelings about people and events.
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): This scale is an indicator of how people deal with the world around them. Those who prefer to rely on their judgement utilize strong decisions and organization when dealing with problems, and those who identify with their perceptions are often more flexible and adapt more easily to change.

Using all 4 of these personality aspects, the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is intended to identify those careers where an individual is most likely to find satisfaction and success. For example, a person who identifies as a Type ESTP is Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving. This type of personality would likely be comfortable as a salesperson or marketing manager.

There are many other personality inventories available, but most of them work in a similar fashion. They all also share a common goal of matching the individual with the career. And although none of them can guarantee success, they can all help you to know yourself better, and that’s a good start.

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