Imagine being able to know the strengths, weaknesses and defining characteristics of your personality within 15 minutes.
And even better:
What if there was a way to determine your ideal career path quickly …
… work you will accel at and thoroughly enjoy doing?
You’d probably be ready to invest in those 15 minutes right now.
Well, that’s the promise and potential of MBTI personality types. Let’s explore what MBTI types are and which careers best suit each profile.
A VERY brief history of MBTI types
In his life-long study of human personality, psychiatrist Carl Jung put an intriguing personality theory in his monumental Psychological Types in 1921.
Captivated by Jung’s ideas, the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire in 1943.
Myers and Briggs invented a way to translate Jung’s theories into a practical tool that individuals can use to understand their particular personality type.
Now, over 20 million individuals take the MBTI assessment each year.
How to discover your MBTI type
The easiest and fastest way to determine your MBTI type is to take the assessment online.
Take the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment here . (It costs $49.95)
This official version has 93 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes.
Looking for a free version?
No problem. You’ve got several options:
These free versions may not be as accurate as the official version, but they’ll certainly help you hone in your MBTI type.
What are MBTI types?
To understand what MBTI Types are, we have to first take a quick look at Jung’s original personality theory.
For Jung, there were two personality attitudes called extroversion and introversion. (Yes, those concepts came from Jung’s work.)
And there were four functions, or modes of orientation: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.
Jung then divided these four functions into rational or judging functions and irrational or perceiving functions.
Feeling and intuition are irrational while thinking and sensating are rational.
We’ll take a closer into each of these terms, but for now, the MBTI types are a combination of these attitudes and functions:
In the MBTI model, your type is a combination of four of the above variables from each box. For example, ISTJ or ENFP.
There are 16 variations, and so there are 16 MBTI types.
Now, let’s look at each of these four pairs so this personality theory can help better understand ourselves and our career choices.
For Jung, introversion and extroversion were attitudes. They are the ways we direct our energy and attention.
Extroverts focused their attention on the outside world. Introverts directed their energy toward their inner world.
Current research suggests that the brain of introverts and extroverts are fundamentally different. Author Susan Cain writes in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
“Whatever the underlying cause, there’s a host of evidence that introverts are more sensitive than extroverts to various kinds of stimulation, from coffee to a loud bang to the dull roar of a networking event—and that introverts and extroverts often need very different levels of stimulation to function at their best.”
According to research by the Center for Application of Psychological Type, the ratio of introverts to extroverts is pretty close to 50/50.
Quick test: Are you an introvert or extrovert? (Hint: It’s not what you think)
We tend to think of introversion and extraversion in terms of sociability.
If someone is a “social butterfly” or always engaging people at a party, we assume they are extroverts.
But that’s not necessarily so. The key indicator of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert is how you feel after the party.
An extrovert will be invigorated and ready to go out again. An introvert will likely be exhausted and ready to rejuvenate in a cave?
Which experience most resonates with you?
Breaking down the four functions in personality types
The four functions are thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting.
Thinking and feeling form one pair of opposites; sensing and intuiting is the other pair.
How we make decision: Thinking vs. Feeling
Thinking and feeling describe how you process information to make decisions.
Do you weight your decisions mainly based on objective facts and principles?
Do you analyze the pros and cons?
Do you trust logic over your feelings?
If so, then you’re probably a thinking type.
Or, do primarily factor in how others will feel and what they care about when making decisions?
Do you make your final call based on values and how your decisions will affect others?
If this approach resonates with you, then you’re likely a feeling type.
How we perceive reality: Sensing vs. Intuition
Sensing and intuition in MBTI types are psychological preferences about how we assimilate information from our environment.
Sensing types emphasize information derived from our five senses.
Intuiting types focus on patterns and possibilities, looking for meaning in the patterns or models they discover.
How we live: Judging vs. Perceiving
Finally, the fourth dimension in MBTI types is judging and perceiving.
How would others evaluate your lifestyle? Or, what is your overall orientation to the external world?
Are you more structured and definitive? That is, you’re a judging type.
Or, if you’re more adaptive and flexible in your lifestyle, you’re more likely a perceiving type.
The 16 MBTI personality types
Here’s the bottom line:
These four sets of preferences combine in particular ways to form our personalities.
Now that we’re familiar with these MBTI personality preferences, let’s look at how they combine.
There are 16 MBTI types. Scan the list of attributes and determine which one best describes your personality.
If you already know your MBTI type, zoom in on that description and reconnect with your innate qualities.
Extroverted MBTI types and their strengths
- ENTJ – Leader, imaginative, assertive, bold, outspoken, problem solver, well-informed.
- ENTP – Curious, intellectual, resourceful, creative, outspoken, assertive, generating ideas.
- ENFJ – Charismatic, inspiring, sensitive, externally focused, skilled with people, humanistic, serves others.
- ENFP – Sociable, enthusiastic, creative, idealistic, skilled with people, values-driven, flexible, open-minded, optimistic, great communicator.
- ESFJ – Helpful, caring, popular, sociable, conscientious, dutiful, compelled to serve others, follows through on commitments.
- ESFP – Energetic, enthusiastic, people-oriented, spontaneous, fun-loving, serving others, practical, playful, tactful, flexible.
- ESTJ – Organized, particular, managing, practical, vision-oriented, loyal, hard-working, efficient, outgoing, analytic, systematic.
- ESTP – Energetic, perceptive, spontaneous, outgoing, realistic, curious, action-oriented, pragmatic problem solver, curious.
Introverted MBTI types and their strengths
- INTP – Innovative, logical, curious, original, creative thinker, analytical, laid-back, precise, reserved, flexible.
- INTJ – Imaginative, analytical, strategic, determined, original, long-term thinker, independent, logical, reserved, innovative.
- INFP – Altruistic, kind, articulate, quiet, values-driven, reflective, loyal, seeks to understand others, sensitive, creative, idealistic, perceptive.
- INFJ – Inspiring, quiet, original, sensitive, results-driven, intuitive, persistent, insight, good listener, idealistic, organized, dependable.
- ISFP – Charming, ready, adaptable, sensitive, kind, faithful, flexible, open-minded, good listener, friendly, loyal, gentle, helpful.
- ISFJ – Warm, dedicated, kind, conscientious, quiet, stable, practical, responsible, eager to serve, highly organized.
- ISTP – Self-reliant, efficient, conflict-ready, reserved, mechanically-inclined, risk-taking, detached, analytical, handy.
- ISTJ – Quiet, serious, practical, thorough, responsible, fact-oriented, reliable, focused, organized, hard-working, responsible, sincere.
Finding careers that best suits your mbtI type
You might be wondering:
Can these MBTI types actually help me determine the right career path?
Indeed, they can.
Every career or profession gears itself toward a specific set of attributes and qualities. And each MBTI type possesses particular characteristics and qualities.
In many ways, finding or advancing in your career can start with selecting a career path that best matches your MBTI type.
So let’s look at careers that best match each personality type:
- ENTJ – Executive, attorney, architect, engineer, market researcher, analyst, management consultant, scientist, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, computer consultant, business manager, university professor.
- ENTP – Psychologist, entrepreneur, consultant, photographer, real estate developer, creative director, engineer, scientist, sales representative, actor, marketer, computer programmer, political consultant.
- ENFJ – Consultant, psychologist, advertising executive, facilitator, social worker, teacher, clergy, counselor, sales manager, public relations specialist, manager, events coordinator, politician, writer, diplomat, human resources manager.
- ENFP – Entrepreneur, actor, teacher, consultant, psychologist, advertising director, counselor, writer, restaurateur, TV reporter, journalist, scientist, engineer, computer programmer, artist, politician, event planner.
- ESFJ – Nurse, child care administrator, office manager, counselor, sales representative, teacher, physician, social worker, accountant, admin assistant, bookkeeper, healthcare worker, public relations executive, loan officer.
- ESFP – Artist, fashion designer, interior decorator, photographer, sales representative, actor, athlete, consultant, social worker, child care, general care physician, environmental scientist, professions in hospitality and food service.
- ESTJ – Executive, detective, business administrator, insurance sales agent, military leader, pharmacist, athlete, police officer, sales representative, attorney, judge, coach, teacher, judge, financial officer, project manager.
- ESTP – Entrepreneur, facilitator, entertainment agent, marketing executive, sports coach, banker, computer technician, investor, sales representative, detective, police officer, paramedic, athlete.
- INTP – Architect, engineer, scientist, chemist, photographer, strategic planner, computer programmer, financial analyst, real estate developer, software designer, college professor, economist, systems analyst, technical writer, mechanic.
- INTJ – Engineer, scientist, teacher, dentist, investment banker, business manager, corporate strategic, military leader, computer programmer, medical physician, organizational leader, business administrator, financial advisor.
- INFP – Writer, editor, psychologist, graphic designer, counselor, physical therapist, professional coach, social worker, musicians, clergy, psychiatrist, teacher, artist, animator, librarian.
- INFJ – Writer, interior designer, pediatrician, school counselor, therapist, social worker, organization development consultant, child care, customer service manager, psychologist, musician, photographer, dentist.
- ISFP – Musician, artist, childcare, fashion designer, social worker, physical therapist, teacher, veterinarian, forest ranger, pediatrician, psychologist, counselor, massage therapist, store manager, coach, nurse.
- ISFJ – Financial advisor, accountant, designer, bookkeeper, dentist, school teacher, librarian, franchise owner, customer service representative, paralegal, forest ranger, firefighter, office manager, administrative assistant.
- ISTP – Detective, computer programmer, civil engineer, systems analyst, police officer, economist, farmer, pilot, mechanic, entrepreneur, athlete, construction, data analyst, rancher, electronic technician, building contractor.
- ISTJ – Office manager, probation officer, logistician, accountant, auditor, chief financial officer, government employee, web developer, administrator, executive, attorney, computer programmer, judge, police officer, air traffic controller.
How to capitalize on MBTI types in your career
So here’s the deal:
Each MBTI type has a specific combination of qualities, attributes, and strength unique to that type.
Numerous research studies show that the best way to excel in your career and professional development is to play to your natural strengths .
Learning about the specific qualities and strengths of your MBTI type is one to discover these strengths.
But it’s not the only way. You can complement the understanding you gain from MBTI with other scientifically-validated models like:
- Values in Action Character Strength Survey developed by psychologist Martin Seligman (free)
- CliftonStrengths Assessment by Gallop (paid)
Also, here are ten ways to find your personal strengths .
So to capitalize on your MBTI type in your career:
- Learn about your natural strengths
- Select a career path that allows you to play to your strengths
- Continually find ways to cultivate and grow professionally with your strengths
- Become a badass in your career
Even if you don’t know your strengths or MBTI type, there’s a good chance that you naturally gravitated toward a field that’s in alignment with your profile. (If not, you’re probably unhappy in your career.)
How to use your MBTI type to improve other areas of your life
And does this process only apply to your work? Of course not.
Knowing your personality is part of self-knowledge. And this internal intelligence can inform every area of your life including:
- Relationships – how you relate to others
- How you relate to money and personal finance
- What hobbies and activities to enjoy
- How you grow as an individual
The dictum “know thyself” applies to every area of our life experience. This instruction can provide us with personal meaning and enrichment.
Putting your MBTI type to work for you
Once you know your MBTI type, it’s significantly easier to find a career that will be a more natural fit for your personality.
So here are the necessary steps:
- Take the MBTI assessment to determine your personality type
- Learn about your MBTI type (there are tons of resources online)
- Review the careers that align well with each MBTI type
- Chose a job that plays to your strengths or pivot within your existing career, if necessary
Finally, determine ways to develop your natural aptitudes to excel in your career and find more enrichment in your work.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com