Exploration is how we learn, whether it’s exploring a new place, a new job/career, or even yourself. Yes, college is a stereotypical time for exploration, but it can happen at any point in your life. Although college does offer the advantage of providing many different options and opportunities, there are still tools available to help you get to know yourself on another level. There are, of course, many different ways of doing this, and I am using this post to explore one that I have used myself, and also enjoy implementing when working with students.
When looking for a new job or even when trying to settle into a current one, it’s important to know your personality and how you go about doing things. There are quite a few personality tests and assessments out there, but my favorite, and also the most comprehensive (I have found), is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
To be brief, this assessment was created to better explain the theory of psychological types put forth by Carl Jung. The MBTI identifies your preferences for each of the four dichotomies in Jung’s theory, which in turn, results in one of the 16 personality types.
The Four Dichotomies:
- Extraversion(E) or Introversion (I): Where do you put your attention and get your energy? Do you get your energy from being around people (Extravert) or do you need time alone to recharge(Introvert)?
- Sensing (S) or Intuition(N): Do you pay more attention to information you gain from your five senses (Sensing), or do you pay more attention to patterns and possibilities that you see in information you receive (Intuition)?
- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): When making decisions, do you value facts and objective principles (Thinking), or do you focus more on personal concerns and the people involved (Feeling)?
- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): Do you prefer a more structured, decided lifestyle (Judging), or are you more flexible and adaptable (Perceiving)?
The 16 Personality Types:
As I said, I’m being very brief with this; this is possibly my favorite thing I have learned since I decided to major in Psychology when I started college, so I could talk about it forever. For more detailed descriptions of the four dichotomies, as well as more general information I recommend visiting The Myers & Briggs Foundation. I have taken the actual assessment while in school, but there are quite a few free ones out there as well. I personally recommend this one: Human Metrics. It’s pretty comprehensive and also gives you a few different resources in your results, including your personality type (obviously), learning styles, and different career options that work well with the type you scored.
I personally scored as an INFJ. Education and counseling are high on the list for career choices, so in that sense I’m pretty on track. However, this knowledge of myself became more useful while I was still looking for a job. It allowed me to get to know my tendencies better and rework my thoughts to help myself stay positive. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to control your potentially negative thoughts when you know how your mind works. But for those still exploring different career options, assessments like the MBTI could help you weed out jobs that may not be best for you. I find these tests to be extremely accurate, but like with everything else, they might not be the best tool for everyone. The reason I share it and recommend it, is because I want to emphasize how important it is to be self-aware.
Be aware of how you make decisions, how you see the world, how you organize your thoughts, and how your process information; knowing this about yourself can help immensely in the job search and in life in general. It allows you to think more clearly about what you want to do and where you want go, which coincidentally, is a common interview question. Funny how that works, huh?