Volume XIV | Issue 2 | Fall 2014

Let your personality point the way

Your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help you discover your perfect job

Do What You Are is one of the most popular career books in the world. For more than 20 years, readers have consulted the hefty manual’s 400 pages to determine their personality type, learn what these traits have to do with career choices, and then find jobs that match their temperaments. 

one of the most popular career books in the world

Personality-type tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are popular not only for people looking for the perfect job, but for businesses looking to hire the perfect employee, and community groups looking to help their volunteers understand how they relate to others. 

“Recognizing and understanding your personality type can change the way you see yourself,” say the authors, “which in turn affects everything you do and every aspect of your life.”

Do What You Are divides the job-seeking process into three parts. Part 1 takes readers step by step through the discovery and understanding of their own personality type. Part 2 introduces the essential elements you must have in your work to be truly fulfilled. 

A chart describing the 16 personality types.The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator defines 16 potential personality types.

The bulk of the book is in Part 3, which devotes an entire chapter to the 16 potential personality types determined by MBTI. If your assessment identified you as an “ENFP,” for example, you would visit that chapter for a wealth of information, beginning with several profiles of others with that temperament. Readers will also find a type-specific list of key ingredients for fulfillment: ENFP types, for example, experience career satisfaction by working with a diverse group of people on a variety of projects. Each chapter also includes job search strategies and lists of careers specific to personality type. 

The Ford Institute Leadership Program uses the MBTI extensively to help program participants better understand how they and others respond in different situations. One Ford Community Fellow sees even more potential for use with a different audience: students.

“A lot of students, especially in rural areas, do not have counselors or career advisers at their school, and have no idea how to begin planning for life after high school,” says George Letchworth, a retired psychology professor who lives in Blue River. “A personality assessment gets students in touch with their strengths and weaknesses, and directs them into potential careers and appropriate college majors.  The next step is selecting colleges that are a good ‘fit’ and affordable.”

Letchworth volunteers extensively with the ASPIRE program, a one-on-one student mentoring initiative. In his work with McKenzie High School students, he sees firsthand some of the barriers rural students face.

“If you grow up in a family where you’ve just never been around doctors or lawyers or engineers, those careers don’t come easily to mind,” Letchworth says. “With the Do What You Are book, they can look at those long lists of careers and say, ‘wow, I haven’t even thought about that.’” 

As he walks students through the career and college process, Letchworth encourages them to use a personality assessment. “When I talk about personality, what I’m really talking about is self knowledge,” he says. “The better knowledge you have of yourself, the better decisions you make. The opposite of knowledge is ignorance and that is not a good way to make decisions about your future.”  

Do What You Are is available for free to residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., through Select Books

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