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Know Yourself. Personality Assessments and Career Change

Finding your ideal career involves uncovering a lot of information – not only about your skills, strengths and experience but also about who you are, what you want and where you want to be.

Myers Briggs Personality Assessment

To help clients do this, in the early stages of working with them, I ask them to carry out a Myers Briggs personality assessment. Named after the two women who developed it, Myers Briggs identifies 16 basic personality types, based on four paired “dimensions”:

  • Extraversion and Introversion – how we interact with the world and where we direct our energy
  • Sensing and Intuition – the kind of information we naturally notice
  • Thinking and Feeling – how we make decisions
  • Judging and Perceiving – whether we prefer to live in a more structured or spontaneous way

Depending on situations we find ourselves in, we all draw on different aspects of our personalities and move between each of the pairings. Myers Briggs simply tells you how you naturally prefer to be.

Like all assessments, there are no better or worse types to be, there are no right and wrong answers. Your first response to a question is the one to go with.

The Reports

When you’ve completed the questions you receive a report which details:

  • Your personality type
  • Your key traits
  • Possible careers (useful for kicking off your thinking rather than being definitive answers to your ideal type of work)
  • How you react in relationships
  • Your strengths and weaknesses

For some people the report feels extremely accurate, and for others, although it’s largely accurate some elements don’t feel quite right. Either way, the main thing to remember is that it’s a guide to your preferences not a definitive statement of who you are.

Is This Enough when Looking for a New Job?

“Who am I?” is just the first in a series of questions that you should be asking when trying to find your next job.

Research commissioned by Jobsite has shown that job hunters often know the type of position they want (e.g. Accountant, Marketeer, etc), but don’t understand how they can find an organisation that best fits their personality and motivational drivers.

This is because organisations, like people (and because they are run by people), have different ‘personalities’. Any individual organisation’s personality could be about:

  • Working hard and getting rewarded financially for all that effort
  • Giving people free reign to pursue projects they are passionate about (as long as they benefit the organisation in the long run)
  • Working hard during the 9 to 5 but making sure their employees are able to spend time with their families
  • and many others

Jobsite Personal Profile

That’s why Jobsite, in conjunction with Professor Paul Morgan – a specialist in Gravesian Psychology at the University of Nottingham, have developed the Jobsite Personal Profile.

The Jobsite Personal Profile differs from the Myers Briggs personality assessment because, as well as telling you a bit more about yourself, it gives you a better understanding of the type of organisation that will suit your working style. The final reports you receive even suggest the type of questions you should be asking at interview to have the best chance of finding an organisation that has a good ‘personality match’.

To Summarise

When you’re feeling confused about what’s next for you, step back and look at who you are and what suits you. This will put you on the track to finding a career you really want – one that fits you rather than one you make yourself fit into.

To answer the “who am I?” and “where should I be?” questions, Myers Briggs and the Jobsite Personality Profile are great places to start.

Michelle Bayley is a Certified Professional Life and Career Coach. To find out about coaching with Michelle click here.

You can find out more information about the Myers Briggs Personality Assessment including the career preferences for all 16 of the types, real life examples of different types and common threads each type needs to be happy in the book “Do What You Are” by Paul D Teiger and Barbara Barron-Teiger (ISBN 0 316 88065 5) or at where you can also complete an assessment

© Michelle Bayley 2006

By Michelle Bayley – A Certified Professional Life and Career Coach

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