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Using Personality Type to Help Make Career Decisions

By: Shawn Bakker

To help people make career decisions you can use their knowledge of personality type to assist their information gathering and decision making. The zig-zag decision making model, where you take time to use Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling is very useful when examining careers.

Step One: Use Sensing to focus on the facts

Making use of your sensing perception is a good place to start. Identifying the realities of the career issue that you face and the resources at your disposal is very important for making good decisions. Questions you need to ask yourself include:

  • What have I liked/disliked in the past?
  • What is my current financial, social, educational status?
  • What jobs and corresponding salaries are available?

Step Two: Use Intuition to identify possibilities

Your intuition helps you identify the different possibilities in your situation and generate opportunities for change. Using your intuition perception will allow you to think of ways to make the most of your skills. Questions that can help you use your intuition include:

  • Besides the one perfect career, what other jobs/occupations require people with my skills and preferences?
  • What are the future possibilities for each of my career options?
  • What do the careers I find attractive/unattractive have in common?

Step Three: Use Thinking to identify consequences

You need to use your thinking perception to make a critical and objective analysis of your situation. Having already identified both the facts and possibilities of your situation, you need to look at the positive and negative consequences of the different options. Some questions that will help you use your thinking perception include:

  • What are the pros and cons of each of my possible career choices?
  • What would I objectively recommend to someone who had the same choices?
  • How well do my skills and preferences fit with each of the careers I am considering?

Step Four: Use Feeling to identify what is most important

Your feeling perception will help you identify what you care about most in both your life and career. Using your feeling perception to weigh the outcomes of your choices, ensures that you will meet your personal values. Questions to ask that will engage your feeling perception include:

  • What do I care about most in my life and work?
  • Which of my career options immediately give me a good or bad feeling?
  • How would those important to me react to my different career choices?

Making the most informed decisions comes from using all four steps. While these steps will not guarantee perfect career decisions, they will help you be more informed and provide a clearer understanding of your options. The trick is to focus on each of them equally, even though our individual preferences incline us to skim over some and concentrate too much on others.