College is a great place to learn more about yourself.
Not only are you away from the pressures of high school, family members and friends, but you’re able to choose all of your courses based on your interests for the very first time – which will be a major influence in your future career.
You may have taken a career aptitude or personality assessment at some point during grade school, but you probably didn’t take it seriously (or have forgotten the results completely since then).
But knowing your personal strengths is an important part of understanding your preferences and the way you work.
If you are skeptical of taking a personality assessment, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the reasons should encourage you to seriously consider it:
1. Understanding your personality type can help you choose a major and career path
Many people have difficulty defining the type of work they want to do, particularly when a tough job market might sway your decision towards a specific field over others. From your choice in subjects to study to deciding which major to sign on for, knowing your personality type can help you understand what works for you and why you’re comfortable or uncomfortable in certain fields or industries. From there, you can look for a field of study that satisfies your preferences.
For instance, if you’ve chosen to go into law, knowing whether you have a preference for introversion or extraversion can help you narrow down the position you would be most comfortable working in (which helps you determine courses to take in order to prepare for the specific job). While a person who prefers extraversion might desire a position with more interaction with people (such as a legal clerk), one whose preference is introversion may be more comfortable in research.
2. Knowing your preferences can help you do well academically
Your personality type affects how you learn and determines what teaching styles are best for your natural preferences – and, as you might imagine, these learning preferences affect how you take in information. While college professors all have different ways of teaching, knowing how you learn best can help you determine why you’re finding one class more difficult over another. Personality type is a great point of reference when approaching a professor. It helps them understand your learning style and preferences in order to determine how to help you understand the material better.
Personal preferences also play into study and work habits. If your preference is for intuition, you may be more apt to remember specifics when they relate to a pattern, whereas those whose preference is sensing may be more inclined to focus on and remember specifics.
3. Communicating your strengths is an essential part of the hiring process
If you know and understand your personality type, strengths and natural preferences, you’ll be ahead of the crowd when applying for an internship or entry-level job. Clearly communicating your strengths to a potential employer is an important part of the hiring process, and it’s also something that many people struggle with.
Determining your fit at a target company is also important during the job search, and depending on your personality type, you may fit in better at one company over another. For example, a person with a preference for judging might experience more stress in an environment that has little structure and prefers, instead, to have clear processes and responsibilities in place. This might become apparent during the hiring process, or you might discover the company is not the right fit during an internship. Either way, understanding your preferences helps you examine why a company might not be a good fit and will help guide you in finding one that is.
Have personality assessments or career aptitude tests played a role in your choice of major or career? Why or why not?
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