Know Yourself To Discover Your Career

Know Yourself To Discover Your Career

By: Hilary Zhang
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There is one more semester to go in your final year, and you want to start your post-graduation work search early, but with two or more concentrations/majors on hand, which one should you take forward and explore career possibilities with? You are not the only one who is struggling with this dilemma! If you loved everything you studied, it can be really stressful and frustrating to make this choice on your own. Applying for a ton of jobs with tailored resumes and cover letters can feel like a full time job, and you might not have all the time you need to apply for everything you want. Now is the perfect time to start getting to know your personality a bit more to help you make a decision!

Even the smartest person in the world could have difficulties figuring out what he/she would like to do for a career. Additionally, there is a great chance that the span of your career will not be linear, so try not to feel bad if you don’t know what you really love to do yet. A career-personality test can give you some hints and help you narrow down your options. The insights you get can support you in generating a list of careers you might be more likely to get excited to get up and go to work on Mondays in the future! Though there are many types of career tests, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, I’d like to write about a popular one called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

The MBTI is used to classify personalities into types and suggest careers areas that might suit those personality types. It paints a picture of a type’s methods of perception, decision-making and functioning. The MBTI measures four pairs of traits, each varying on a spectrum to yield a total of 16 personality types. Here’s a description of each scale from

  • The Introversion (I)—Extroversion (E) scale explains how you derive your energy. Introverts are energized from within their internal worlds of thoughts and ideas and find too much social interaction draining. Extroverts gain energy from being around other people and dislike being alone for long periods of time.
  • The Intuition (N)—Sensing (S) scale details how you gather and process information. Intuitives are big picture thinkers who view the world through abstract ideas and possibilities for the future. Sensors are more down-to-earth and detail-oriented, preferring to focus on the concrete, practical realities of the present.
  • The Feeling (F)—Thinking (T) scale describes your primary decision-making mode and how you interpret information. Feelers are emotionally driven and place importance on subjective considerations like sensitivity to other people’s feelings and values. Thinkers view the world through a primarily logical lens, with objective data and rational assessment being their tools of choice.
  • The Perceiving (P)—Judging (J) scale measures how you relate to your external environment. Perceivers are more flexible, spontaneous and open-ended, preferring to avoid making deadlines or definite plans. Judgers like to stick to a schedule, view deadlines as definite and rely on organization and planning.

The majority of people have mixed types of personalities, but one or two traits will tend to be dominant. Knowing these can give you some hints when you need to make critical decisions on finding your “perfect” job, and developing a fulfilling career. Personality test results may also remind you to be more conscious of others’ preferences and styles while working on group projects and assignments with a team of people. They may help you become a better leader and focus on people’s strengths in order to achieve better group performance as well as a harmonic group dynamic.

I took a personality test for the second time recently and got the results of Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging (ISFJ), which is quite different from the results I got from 2 years ago (INFP)! As I’ve learned, values, strengths, and interests can change significantly as you gain more personal and professional experience. I’m probably more down-to-earth, detail-oriented, and organized than two years ago due to all the business group projects and assignments I’ve worked on during this time.

In my case, taking personality tests has been a great way to track my personal growth and professional development. Moreover, the “Sensing” result I got wasn’t consistent with my expectations, and helped me realize my preference for concrete and practical realities. This helps me to choose my group members more wisely in order to avoid potential conflicts and misunderstandings. Last but not least, I can use these results to make some great predictions of my future career (hopefully in either marketing or human resources) by analyzing the nature of various positions to find my best fit position after graduation.

If you are also curious about your own MBTI type, you can try a free online quiz based on the MBTI here, though to obtain a formal result it’s always best to consult a professional who is trained and certified to administer the official assessment.

Hilary Zhange, Career Peer Educator
Hilary Zhang is a Career Peer Educator with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year business student concentrating in human resources and marketing. Her passion for helping others reach their potential has lead her to volunteer for many different organizations both on and off-campus. Hilary's other passions include the French culture and language, and playing piano and guitar.

Posted on February 27, 2013