Using Your Personality Type to Manage Your Career Change

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on April 20, 2010

Whether your interest in a job change has been prompted by dissatisfaction with your current role or rumors of impending layoffs, the prospect of identifying and jumping into a different career can definitely feel overwhelming. However, this is a challenge that most professionals will face at least once in their working lives – data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that American workers change jobs an average of seven times over the course of their careers.

If you’re poised on the brink of a significant career change but aren’t sure how or where to get started, learning more about your personality profile could help give you the confidence you need to make the right decision and begin to move forward. From choosing the right field to enter in your second act to creating an organizational framework to structure your search and transition, your MBTI type can be an invaluable asset in the career change process. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started.

  • Delve into the sources of your dissatisfaction. Before you pull the trigger on a potentially life-altering career change, it’s probably worthwhile to understand how your personality traits may be contributing to your current lack of fulfillment. Are you an impulsive type such as an ESTP who may tend to grow bored in a monotonous work situation? Are you an imaginative INTP stuck in a by-the-book position that offers little in the way of creative problem solving? After you’ve spent some time considering the way your personality has factored in your current situation, you can use the information you come up with to talk with your manager about a change in responsibilities, or to select a suitable field in which to seek a new opportunity.
  • Chart an alternate career course. Before you make the final decision to explore new opportunities, set aside an hour or two to engage in this thought experiment. For the time being, vanquish all practical concerns and instead spend some time thinking about the kind of “dream job” you would love to dedicate your time to if compensation was not a chief concern. Then, think about some real-world opportunities that involve some of the same types of work. If you’re still at a loss and can’t come up with any ideas, it may be helpful to revisit some of the careers suggested for different MBTI types; you might find the book Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type to be a helpful resource.
  • Devise an organizational method that works for you. Experts say that many career change efforts fail due to a lack of systematic effort on the part of the jobseeker. Whether you’re a flighty ISFP or a thoroughly organized ESFJ, develop a personal organization system that will help you maintain momentum in your career switch and keep the ball rolling with a series of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. For best results, don’t try to impose a system that won’t mesh well with your personality traits – you’ll be more like to bridle under the pressure and give up.
  • Brush up on your strengths and weaknesses before interviews. Once you’ve followed through and made good on your goal of switching career paths, you’ll likely be refreshing your résumé and scheduling interviews before you know it. Knowledge of your MBTI traits can give you a significant edge in interview situations, so be sure to review information about your type profile and relate it to specific work experiences before you meet with a hiring manager.

The career-change process can certainly be a challenge, but with in-depth knowledge about your personality at your disposal, you’ll be able to navigate the transition with ease. Good luck!


Truity was founded in 2012 to bring you helpful information and assessments to help you understand yourself and use your strengths. We are based in San Francisco, CA.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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