The internet is awash with career personality tests that promise to give you some idea as to what job or sector would be most compatible with your personality traits. I will not attempt to do the same here as it is impossible to tell which path is best for you without knowing how strong the particular traits are – and even then, your personality would not be the only factor. Everyone’s habits, interests and skills change as time goes by – choosing a career just because you belong to a certain personality type at some point in your life would be somewhat irresponsible.
That being said, there are some sectors and jobs that make best use of certain personality traits and there is no harm in looking at several examples. We will be discussing the most suitable careers for each personality type a bit later – the below is just a general overview of four main dichotomies.
E/I, or extroverts vs. introverts
This is the most commonly discussed dichotomy, especially when it comes to categorizing careers by personality type. Extroverts tend to shine in “people-centric” or “front desk” roles, e.g. sales, marketing, politics, human resources etc. Introverts, on the other hand, generally prefer to act in the background, choosing careers such as data analysis, research, administration etc.
There is one critical distinction to be made here – everything depends on the specific tasks assigned to that role. For instance, introverts such as INTJs can be brilliant sales strategists (as long as they spend more time dealing with data and strategic planning rather than customers), and extroverts such as ENTPs can excel in laboratory sales (provided that they are actually selling the product and not developing it). As always, everything comes down to which career is ideal for your individual mix of personality traits.
S/N, or sensors vs. intuitives
These personality traits are probably the most important when it comes to choosing a career by looking at the personality type – yet people tend to ignore this dichotomy. Sensors are the best when it comes to practical, real-world tasks – e.g. sorting out the facts, determining which clothing style suits someone best, putting some structures or guidelines in place. Intuitives, on the other hand, are great at detecting patterns, linking many different sets of data together and sensing future opportunities.
In short, intuitive personality types are best in careers that require strategic thinking, innovation and reading between the lines, while sensors excel at enforcing existing rules or engaging in roles that require extensive use of all five senses.
T/F, or thinking vs. feeling
These traits are not as important as the first two when it comes to choosing careers by personality type – still, they make it easier or harder to perform certain tasks required by a specific role. “Thinkers” are generally seen as more logical and practical – sometimes this is just a stereotype, but having a matching personality trait certainly makes it easier in certain situations. People with this personality type excel in careers that require logical rather than emotional thinking – for instance, analysis, administration, accounting, legal etc. They may face more challenges in roles that require excellent people skills, especially if it is impossible to avoid interacting with them at the emotional level.
“Feelers”, on the other hand, tend to find it easier to deal with situations that require high emotional intellect – e.g. counselling, human resources, psychology, medicine etc. This does not mean that their logical skills are inferior to “thinking” personality types – they are simply not their strength when it comes to choosing a career. “Feelers” are great in roles that require emotional involvement and they naturally tend to gravitate towards them.
J/P, or judging vs. perceiving
This last dichotomy is probably the least relevant one when you are trying to choose a career by personality type. Judging types prefer clear guidelines and structures, and seek to put them in place as anything else tends to make them uncomfortable. Perceiving types are the exact opposite – they prefer unstructured flow of events and do best in roles that require a lot of improvization.
When thinking about the best job for your personality type, simply consider this contrast – if you have a dominant judging trait, look for a career that would involve a clear set of expectations, requirements and roles; alternatively, if you are a strong “perceiver”, try to find a job that would not limit your creativity and tendency to “live in the present”.
If you wish to explore this topic in greater detail, you may be interested in Finding Square Holes: Discover Who You Really Are and Find the Perfect Career by Anita Houghton or Please Understand ME: 2 by D. Keirsey. These books will be of great help to anyone who is having some difficulties finding the right career path.