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Last Updated on August 1, 2018

What are MBTI Types and How Can They Affect Your Career Choices?

What are MBTI Types and How Can They Affect Your Career Choices?

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.

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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:[1]

    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.

    The direction of your energy: Extraversion vs. Introversion

    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.[2]

    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.

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    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.

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    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:

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    • 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:

    1. Values in Action Character Strength Survey developed by psychologist Martin Seligman (free)
    2. 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:

    1. Learn about your natural strengths
    2. Select a career path that allows you to play to your strengths
    3. Continually find ways to cultivate and grow professionally with your strengths
    4. 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:

    1. Take the MBTI assessment to determine your personality type
    2. Learn about your MBTI type (there are tons of resources online)
    3. Review the careers that align well with each MBTI type
    4. 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

    Reference

    [1]Business Insider: The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type
    [2]Center for Application of Psychological Type: How Frequent Is My Type

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    Scott Jeffrey

    Business Coach, Writer, and Mind Voyager

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    Last Updated on October 12, 2018

    How to Tell Symptoms of Social Anxiety And What to Do About It

    How to Tell Symptoms of Social Anxiety And What to Do About It

    Social Anxiety Disorder (formerly known as Social Phobia) can be a significant hurdle to your happiness, health, and ability to achieve your potential in relationships and at work

    Here’s a common scenario:

    You’re the kind of person that likes others. You want friends, you want to hang out with your co-workers for hors d’oeuvres after work, and you definitely don’t want someone to hang out with on Friday nights. You just can’t make your reality fit with your wishes.

    Here’s one scenario that often happens: after wish you could be bold at work, make friends, and ask for that raise, the minute you’re invited to golf with your boss, do a presentation for the team, or come to a friend’s anniversary party…you bail out. You don’t feel smart enough, worthy enough, prepared enough…it is never enough…so you say “no’ to the very thing you wish you could do.

    So, on one hand, you’re happy because you got to avoid the anxiety-provoking personal encounter, but you’re simultaneously miserable because – yet one more time – you didn’t go after what you want most. This can hurt your self-esteem even further, which only makes you less apt to try again the next time.

    The vicious cycle can go on for years on end. Clearly, this disorder has the potential to rob you of your health or prevent you from meeting your goals at work and having positive, healthy relationships.

    But here’s the good news about Social Anxiety Disorder – you don’t have to let it rob your future!

    Is It Social Anxiety Disorder?

    First, let’s figure out what we’re dealing with.

    The Fancy Definition 

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Social Anxiety Disorder (formerly known as Social Phobia) is an “intense, persistent fear of being noticed and judged by others” to the degree that it can prevent you from reaching your potential at work and other areas of your life.  

    It’s not “just” being shy. The anxiety must last over six months and cause “considerable impairment” in your life, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (5th ed.).[1] In addition, the anxiety must be constant, intense, and disabling to qualify. 

    You’re not the only one!

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    According to Social Phobia org, social anxiety is the third- largest mental health issue in the world, and affects 7% of US citizens.[2] It often (not always) begins around middle school which is inherently a period of intense self-consciousness. 

    The Theories

    Research is still divided on the cause of Social Anxiety Disorder, but some theories indicate there is a genetic/inheritable component while others argue that it can be a learned behavior.

    Others believe the problem is multi-determined and can be a combination of genetics, social learning, and other factors combined. 

    10 Scenarios That are Potential Triggers 

    The Social Anxiety Association lists several scenarios that can be triggers for your anxiety including these common ones:[3]

    • Being teased or criticized
    • Being the center of attention
    • Being watched or observed
    • Having to say something in a formal, public situation
    • Meeting people in authority (“important people/authority figures”)
    • Feeling insecure and out of place in social situations (“I don’t know what to say.”)
    • Feeling embarrassed (e.g., blushing, shaking)
    • Meeting other peoples’ eyes
    • Swallowing, writing, talking, making phone calls if in public
    • Being introduced to other people

    3 Major Symptom Categories

    When we encounter our triggers, sufferers tend to become symptomatic. According to Psycom, there are 3 main categories of symptoms for this disorder:

    1. Physical symptoms: racing heart, dizziness, stomach trouble, blushing, sweating, trembling, and dry mouth
    2. Emotional Symptoms: panic attacks, poor body image, nervousness, high levels of anxiety and fears.
    3. Behavioral Symptoms: Avoiding places/situations where you think you will be the center of attention; not pursuing activities for fear of embarrassment; becoming isolated, quitting school or a job, substance abuse.

    NIMH adds that poor eye contact, mind going blank, speaking softly, self-consciousness, and feeling awkward are also commonplace. Remember: these symptoms can be “normal” – we are looking only for a situation where it is prolonged and a true hinderance to functioning!

    What To Do About It

    The important factor is to do something about your Social Phobia as it can become more self-perpetuating over time. Here’s are a few ideas of how to get started.

    1. Ask a Doctor

    Don’t self diagnose, ask a doctor. Reach out!

    If you are concerned that social anxiety is preventing you from reaching your full potential, then seek consultation from a mental health professional or medical provider. Don’t suffer in silence!

    Fewer than 5% of people with social anxiety seek treatment after their symptoms begin and, in fact, 1/3 of sufferers report having symptoms for ten years or more before reaching out for help. 

    This is a needless impediment to your wellbeing, because studies indicate that this condition is highly treatable. In fact, one study claims an 85% improvement and sometimes full recovery after treatment! [4]

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    A family doctor, internal medicine physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist are among the types of providers experienced in diagnosing and treating Social Anxiety Disorder. Be sure to check reviews and recommendations in your community.

    Insider Tip!

    Experienced mental health providers always ensure that other factors aren’t the cause of your problem before assigning a psychiatric diagnosis. Many medical issues, medications, and even substance abuse can mimic psychiatric issues so it is essential to rule these out first. 

    Special note: Make sure your provider considers all angles without making any assumptions because some people truly do have both genuine psychiatric symptoms and a coincidental medical problems which can mimic it. 

    Diagnostics can get complex, so this is why only a credentialed provider should diagnose your concerns! 

    What Should You Expect?

    Most providers will conduct an intake evaluation where they will take a thorough history, check your symptoms against the DSM-5 criteria, provide you with an anxiety checklist or other type of self-report test instrument, and review your medical records to name a few possibilities.

    Be prepared to speak honestly about your history as the more data, the more accurate your diagnosis and recommendations will be. There are also resources, by Mayo Clinic and others, which provide some of the questions you might be asked. Preparation can certainly help with your anxiety about the interview. [5] 

    2. Treatment Options

    Here are some ways to try to regain your health!

    Psychiatric Treatments

    The most common types of treatment for social anxiety are psychotherapy, medication, or some combination thereof. 

    If you elect to take medication, your doctor can help you decide which one is right for you. Be sure to ask about how long it will take to notice improvement, any potential side effects, and how to weigh the risks versus benefits of the medication.

    As for psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common option and NIMH found particularly good outcomes using cognitive therapy combined with a behavioral therapy group.[6]

    While the prospect of a group treatment might seem terrifying, it is deemed important so you can work on your symptoms in real-life scenarios with other group members.

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    What is the goal of psychiatric treatment? 

    A good goal to aspire to in the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder is to decrease symptoms, learn to reframe negative thoughts about yourself, developing confidence in social situations, which in the end should help you develop the type of friendships, relationships, jobs, and other opportunities that you previously could not negotiate on your own.

    Alternatives

    Some organizations are proponents of alternative medicine as an adjunctive treatment. Treatments such as massage, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture are common place. 

    NAMI also suggests various self-management strategies (identifying one specific time to worry during the day, becoming an expert on your triggers, etc.); stress and relaxation techniques (e.g., breathing exercising, focused attention), and yoga (physical postures, breathing, and meditation). Exercise, like in many other areas, is also recommended but check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan.[7]

    3. Community Support

    Many churches, clubs, and local organizations provide support and healing opportunities for Social Anxiety Disorder. 

    The National Alliance of Mental Health provides educational and support resources to those with mental illness including social anxiety at 1-800-950-NAMI or info@nami.org

    4. Help Yourself!

    NAMI and other organizations provide many ideas for self-help as a first step or as an adjunct to formal treatment. Here are some  ideas for being proactive in your care:

    1. Become educated about medication and treatment options. 
    2. Know your personal triggers and stressors and plan ahead. 
    3. Actively participate in your treatment. 
    4. Don’t QUIT if it isn’t helping. Keep at it until something does.
    5. Live a healthy lifestyle – engage in exercise and de-stressors and watch your diet.
    6. Avoid drugs and alcohol as they affect emotional balance, sleep, and can interactive with medication. *This includes too much caffeine!
    7. Join online discussion groups.

    Practice Makes Improvement (If Not Perfect)

    Mayo recommends that sufferers participate in social situations by being with those you feel comfortable around.  Then, slowly increase the “risk” by branching out a bit more. Rather than throw yourself into a wild frat party, you might first want to take a small interesting class where the teacher does most of the talking.

    You might find that these are “safe” settings to meet people since it is highly structured and there is inherently a reason to speak with your peers. It also levels the playing ground as all of you are “new” in this social setting. [8]

    Mayo further suggests that you actually practice socializing, just as you might practice piano. Here are some examples they suggested:

    • Eat with a close relative, friend or acquaintance in a public setting.
    • Purposefully make eye contact and return greetings from others, or be the first to say “hello”.
    • Give someone a compliment.
    • Ask a retail clerk to help you find an item.
    • Get directions from a stranger.
    • Show an interest in others — ask about their homes, children, grandchildren, hobbies or travels, for instance.
    • Call a friend to make plans.

    While these might seem like basic tasks to our more extroverted friends, this can be seemingly unsurmountable to our friends with Social Anxiety Disorder!

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    Be Kind (To Yourself)

    Learning these new social skills is taxing. Remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Mayo suggests that you spend some time with people you already know and feel comfortable with such as long-term friends and family. 

    Another idea is to engage in pleasurable activities and hobbies when you’re anxious. 

    Remind yourself that anxiety doesn’t last forever and that you have survived it before and will survive it again. 

    Never, Ever Give Up

    As you begin your treatment strategies, don’t give up. Don’t ever, ever give up. 

    Social Anxiety Disorder, as we stated earlier, is a treatable disorder, so every single small step gets you further to your end goal.

    Remember: As you practice, you will invariably fail and have set-backs. It is normal so just expect it! Progress isn’t linear– it occurs with step-by-step small gains over time. 

    The Future You

    Remember that the best time to start is now. Be a strong, stubborn, tenacious self-advocate. Get help if needed to take the step toward wholeness and healing now!

    No matter whether your goal is having close friends, being more effective at work, or even finding a new relationship partner, being able to successfully connect with others can indeed transform a lonely, frustrating life into a more fulfilling one.

    Take the step.

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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