Pursuing a Fulfilling Career: The Strengths of a Personality Type Approach

The famous 16 personalities, originally proposed by Carl Jung, holds its spot as one of the most widely-used personality type frameworks. Later-day revisions by mother-daughter duo Myers and Briggs emphasized a strong careers approach to personality types. 

The philosophical concept of Ikigai—a Japanese framework for careers—emphasizes the idea of intertwining personal strengths and values:

  • What you love or enjoy (preferences)
  • What you are good at (skillset, education)
  • What you can be paid for (market demand)
  • What the world needs (self-actualization)
What you love + what you are good at = passion
What you are good at + what you can be paid for = profession
What you can be paid for + what the world needs = vocation
What the world needs + what you love = mission

→ Everything combined together = Ikigai, the hypothetical “prime spot” to be in for life and work satisfaction.

Source: HackerNoon

We’ll find two sections of the Ikigai diagram above relevant:

  • What you are good at (e.g. skills, aptitudes)
  • What you love (e.g. references, passions)

Where then, does personality factor into the equation for a meaningful, fulfilling career? Self-understanding and mindful execution mark the two prime factors in professional success. Each step begins with an idea, then a step-by-step plan to discovery and healthy goal-setting. 

Let’s explore how personality type influences career choices, under four scales:

Putting the Four Personality Scales Under the Spotlight

Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I)

Extraverts thrive on interactions and socializing. They (usually quickly) gain energy through associating and mingling with others. Introverts, in contrast, are most productive working alone or with a small group of focused individuals. They achieve productivity with opportunities for deep concentration.

Career suggestions for Extraverts:

  • Public relations (PR)
  • Marketing, event coordinating
  • Sales, all types
  • Teaching, pedagogy
  • Real estate services

Career suggestions for Introverts:

  • Research, laboratory sciences
  • Graphic design
  • Architecture, engineering
  • Technical and creative writing
  • Social media management

Sensing (S) – Intuition (I)

Sensors prefer non-ambiguous, cut-and-dried facts and data; while Intuitives work best when dealing with ideas and the “bigger picture.” Naturally, Sensors pride themselves on being accurate and detail-oriented. Intuitives, on the other hand, hone in on their trend- and pattern-spotting skills, which often involves a creative edge. 

Career suggestions for Sensors:

  • Quantitative sciences (e.g. statistics)
  • Firefighting, police services
  • Editing, proofreading
  • Piloting, air force navigation
  • Landscaping, construction

Career suggestions for Intuitives:

  • Market research
  • Data analysis and predictions
  • Consulting, all types
  • User experience (UX)
  • Creative direction and writing

Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)

Thinkers aim to possess a rational and detached outlook with events, whereas Feelers see the intrinsic value in emotional understanding. Careers that capitalize on results and competition can be motivating for Thinkers, while Feelers would naturally feel more rejuvenated (and “at home”) in peaceful social environments. 

Career suggestions for Thinkers:

  • Accounting, finance
  • Computer programming
  • Management and team-building
  • Business, executive roles
  • Applied sciences and mathematics

Career suggestions for Feelers:

  • Applied psychology
  • Mental health counselling
  • Nursing, health sciences
  • Music, dance, crafts
  • Human resources (HR)

Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)

Judgers enjoy clean, crisp schedules and certainty; Perceivers have a more free-flowing approach to work and play (which are often closely entwined). Traditional shifts and structures such as the 9-5 may appeal more to Judgers, whereas freelancing and remote work gives Perceivers a greater peace of mind. 

Career suggestions for Judgers:

  • Law, forensic sciences
  • Translations and linguistics
  • Bookkeeping
  • Information architecture
  • Library sciences

Career suggestions for Perceivers:

  • Freelance small business
  • Traditional and new-age art
  • Creative direction
  • Interior design
  • Data visualization

Are you looking for more career and personality type resources? Head on over to The Career Project, a fantastic website chock-full of help!

Summary: The Strengths of a Personality Type Approach in Pursuing a Fulfilling Career

Using personality type knowledge can be one (of many) mental models to approach the career search. Sometimes, people will have two (or even three) types that they’d score almost equally high on. It may then be useful to consider several personality type profiles—as opposed to one set-in-stone “best fit.”

We’ve taken a look at the four (4) scales (i.e. Extraversion–Introversion, Sensing–Intuition, Thinking–Feeling, Judging–Perceiving), characteristic of the 16 personality types. Combined with a separate, more philosophical outlook (Ikigai), navigating the career waters can be more smooth sailing. 

A quick shoutout: Check out The Career Project for more in-depth and insightful career advice (plus virtual resources) from real-world professionals in their fields of choice!