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This is Part I of a four-part series discussing ways to narrow down what jobs you’d like to pursue post-graduation.

“So, what do you want to do after you graduate?”

It’s a question you’ve probably fielded several times in your life. It’s a difficult one to answer, especially at the ripe old age of 19 or 20. You may have your major solidified, but many fields of study open up an infinite number of career possibilities. How can you narrow it down?

A good place to start is with an in-depth personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. Through a series of preference and situational questions, the test breaks your personality down into four categories that dissect what makes you tick. It’s a little eerie how this test knows you better than you know yourself!

By understanding how you function and how you naturally approach situations, you can see what careers match your personality best. You have the ability to put yourself in situations where you have a greater chance of success because you know your strengths. For example, if you’re an ENTJ, you tend to be a leader and a logical thinker, so maybe business is a good field for you. If you’re an INFP, you tend to prefer one-on-one interaction over group work and you may be more sensitive to people’s feelings, so nursing or counseling might be a good fit for you.

Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of your own nature, but you can learn to appreciate how different individuals respond to situations. This can be a valuable tool when working with others professionally.

If you haven’t taken the Myers-Briggs test, your school’s psychology department or career services office may have an opportunity to take it for free. In the meantime, there is a free, abbreviated, online version called the Jung Test. This test will categorize your personality the same way Myers-Briggs does and it suggests careers for you at the end.

Remember that this test is a starting point, and you probably won’t fit into one type perfectly. Just because you’re an INTP doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily enjoy chemistry or engineering. This test simply gives us insight into how we naturally behave, but it doesn’t mean we can’t develop skills or interests outside of those common with our type. Take it from a quiet, meticulous ISFJ who enjoys the often chaotic communications field!

Look for Part II in the coming days, where we’ll explore the value of exploratory coursework.

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