Can the Myers-Briggs personality test help you choose your career?

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I recently read Natasha Alli‘s article on aptitude tests and it took me back a couple years to when I was required to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test as part of an Organizational Behaviour class in university.

The test is broken down into four dichotomies that each consist of two opposing preferences: Extraversion vs. Introversion; Sensing vs. Intuition; Thinking vs. Feeling; and Judging vs. Perceiving.

For me, it was surprisingly accurate. I actually scored in between two of the 16 possible combinations: somewhere in the middle of an ENTP (Extraversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Perception) and an ESTJ (Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judgment), with the addition that I was, in fact, not too far off from an ENTJ as well.

But what, if anything, do these seemingly random letter combinations mean? Are they actually capable of extrapolating my inner workings and from that determine what career path I am to enter?

The reality is that no letters can tell you better than yourself what you were born to do. All they can do is help and assist you down the path, hopefully verifying what you’ve known all along.

The MBTI confirmed I’m extrovert who thinks pragmatically and acts decisively and quickly. I’m a leader that requires an engaging, creative and challenging environment to thrive. I am a sociable multi-tasker who loves to communicate, collaborate and demands the best.

I already knew most of this, but there is certainly some power in having it reaffirmed by a third-party. I embrace all of these aspects of myself because I believe they culminate in the rather complex tapestry that is me. And we are all complex, unique individuals which no test can accurately measure.

I was about to graduate at the time I first took the MBTI. I was ready to embark on my professional career and I had recently decided that marketing held the most promise for me.

As an ENTP, it fit wonderfully. The fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of marketing appealed to me. However, as an ESTJ, marketing was not a suggested career path.

I think, like all new grads, I was searching for validation that I was making the right decision to ensure my endeavours post-grad didn’t go up in flames. But even though the MBTI seemed to know me pretty well, it was also telling me two very different things.

It’s important to remember that this test should not be taken as gospel because it can only attempt to scientifically measure the intangible properties of each individual’s unique personality. I remember thinking that as long as marketing was somewhere in the all the clutter of the MBTI I would remain steadfast with my decision.

And now, almost two years after graduating from university, I’ve learned that I ultimately made the right choice not because I listened to a test but because I listened to myself.

To take  a version of the test online for free to determine your MBTI, click here and answer the questions. Once your MBTI type has been determined, you can do more research on your type by searching the four-letter combination in Google.

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About the author

Simren Deogun recently graduated with high distinction from the management and English programs at the University of Toronto with a CGPA of 3.6. Her career goals include establishing herself within the field of marketing and communications, and engaging in writing or literature-related ventures in her free time. She enjoys dabbling in graphic design and is always finding new ways to enhance her skill set. She also developed and runs her own marketing blog.