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Written by Donna Dunning


Many career development practitioners are aware of how to use personality type to help clients assess their preferred work activities and occupational choices. Skilled career practitioners also use personality type as a way to customize the career development process itself. Here are some quick tips, organized by dominant functions, to help you tailor the career development process to different clients.
Responders (ESTP and ESFP)

  • Make the career development process step-by-step, active and interesting.
  • Assign short, specific tasks with concrete deadlines.
  • Avoid too many inventories, especially abstract and theoretical ones.
  • Provide opportunities to do hands-on research.
  • Use practical language and examples throughout.

Explorers (ENTP and ENFP)

  • Focus on the future and generating ideas and possibilities.
  • Broaden rather than narrow career options.
  • Do not expect them to work steadily in a step-by-step way.
  • Allow opportunities to “run” with ideas or try something new and different.
  • Organize information into a big-picture framework.

Expeditors (ESTJ and ENTJ)

  • Demonstrate your competency as a career development expert.
  • Be clear and logical when defining the career planning process.
  • Work in a structured and task-oriented mode.
  • Define outcomes for each step and activity.
  • Let them take charge of the process.

Contributors (ESFJ and ENFJ)

  • Create a pleasant, friendly career development environment.
  • Focus on values and contributions; these can be a source of direction.
  • Discuss importance of morale and atmosphere at work.
  • Support and encourage them in a personal way.
  • Provide a part for them to complete within a structured development plan.

Assimilators (ISTJ and ISFJ)

  • Make the career development process practical and structured.
  • Show them a sequence of steps and tasks to complete.
  • Find themes from data to move into the future rather than starting with abstract goals or ideas.
  • Provide opportunities to share their depth of knowledge and experience.
  • Expect and coach incremental, step-by-step change.

Visionaries (INTJ and INFJ)

  • Focus on the future and long-term goals.
  • Allow them to imagine and create themes, visions and dreams for themselves.
  • Create a big-picture, integrated plan of action.
  • Link career development to theoretical models.
  • Integrate all parts of the career planning process.

Analyzers (ISTP and INTP)

  • Demonstrate your competency as a career development expert.
  • Make the career planning process as streamlined as possible.
  • Include flexibility and maneuverability in the process.
  • Show logical reasons behind activities.
  • Allow time to critique and question the process and the information.

Enhancers (ISFP and INFP)

  • Provide a supportive and nurturing environment.
  • Take time to get to know them personally.
  • Consider how they can make a unique and personal contribution.
  • Be accepting of their values and choices.
  • Assess how the needs of those close to them will affect their career choices.

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