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Will the Myers-Briggs Tell Me What I Should Be When I Grow Up?


 the story of the Duke experiments / by J.B. Rhine., Digital ID 497341, New York Public LibraryWith the unemployment rate stuck at over 9%, seeing the bright side of the situation can be tough.  One positive outcome of these hard times is that job seekers are becoming more interested in finding a job that's a good fit, not just something to pay the bills.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify what the right job would be if you don't have much experience doing work you enjoy.  As a career counselor, I get a lot of questions from clients about personality assessments, and if I had to pick the one I get asked about the most, it would be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (you may know it as the MBTI).  The MBTI is one of the most widely used and heavily researched personality assessments in the world because the results can be applied to a range of situations from couples counseling to team building.  It's an interesting assessment, and it's cool to be able to tell people you're an ENFP, INTJ or whatever four-letter type you happen to be.  However, the question I often hear is:  I took the Myers-Briggs several years ago, but I still have no idea what I want to do.  Why is that?

I don't usually recommend the Myers-Briggs to clients who are just beginning their career exploration because the basic report doesn't even cover ideal career paths.  The Myers-Briggs is designed to help deepen your self-awareness and to help you understand how to get along better with other personality types.  This can be helpful information as part of your career exploration plan, but it's not going to help you generate very many ideas about
careers to look into.  This page provides more information on the use of the MBTI for career planning.

If you are looking for a list of careers that might fit your interests and you have a New York Public Library card, try Career Cruising.  You can use it from any New York Public Library location or from home!  Career Cruising's Career Matchmaker assessment starts off with 39 quick questions about what you like to do.  If you want to narrow down the list of possible careers, you can answer more questions.  You can also explore academic programs related to certain careers, and look-up careers you are curious about.  You can also set up a meeting with a career coach at Job Search Central by signing up online.

For anyone interested in Myers-Briggs fun and trivia, check-out these sites:

  • TypeCan
    This fun site offers a lot of good basic information on preferences and the history of the Myers-Briggs.
    Find out about all of the famous people who share your personality type!



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