Job Hunter, Know Thyself

by Ryan Nitz, Head Editor, INALJ Alaska

Job Hunter, Know Thyself

ryan.nitzOne of the more interesting and enlightening things that I’ve done recently is take the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I had heard about the MBTI a few times, but never really thought much about it or its implications. For those of you who don’t already know, the MBTI is based mostly on the theories of Carl Jung, and is an assessment that can help identify personality type. If you’re like me and have never really thought that much about personality types and the real-life effects they have on everything we do, especially in social and high-pressure situations, it could be helpful for you to make a little time investment and see what kind of insight this type of personal inventory might be able to offer you. I know I was pleasantly surprised.

What was surprising to me wasn’t the result of my MBTI questionnaire—it was the unexpected feelings of liberation and validation I felt once I started to think about how the personality traits indicated for me manifest in my life all the time. It helped me feel a little less insecure about some of my natural tendencies (like shyness, and the propensity to kick things around in my head for a million years or so before saying them out loud), and feeling less insecure helped me realize that these are things that I can address and improve upon. After all, shyness and introversion aren’t necessarily the personality traits that one naturally associates with leadership and management. But, wait, you say, what does this have to do with me, Mr. Navel-gazer?

Well, it’s hard to argue with the idea that the better we understand ourselves, the better position we’ll be in to find jobs and organizational cultures that represent good matches to our natural strengths. For example, if your MBTI indicates that you are one of my fellow INFPs (follow the links at the end of this post to find out what those four letters mean, if you’re not familiar with MBTI types), you might place a lower priority on submitting applications for positions that are heavy on, say, public speaking. Or, if in the process of an interview, you find that the culture of an organization is one that assumes extroversion personalities on the part of its employees, that would be something pretty useful to know. It’s not that you would necessarily remove yourself from consideration for that job, but you’d know that you would have some work to do and some energy to expend on a daily basis in order to adapt and go with the flow at work.

If nothing else, it’s at least a little entertaining to take some personality indicator tests and see what they have to tell you. Worst-case scenario, you waste a little time; best-case scenario, you come out with some valuable information and understanding about yourself that you may not have previously had. It could help lead you to identify the jobs for which you’d be a more natural fit and, if all the pieces fall into place, to which you might even actually enjoy going every day.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to comment and/or drop me a line.

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