Close Menu

    Oct 23, 2015    |   Aidan Millar

“Most likely to…”: Exploring Type and Career Selection

refine-your-resumeResearch data seems to support the trend that the function pairs, ST, SF, NF, and NT, have the most influence on job selection. Studies have found that the amount of overlap on lists of most chosen occupations within pairs of opposite types ranged from 2% to 14%. This means, that for each pair of opposites, only one to seven job titles out of more than 200 occupations appeared among the top 50 occupations for both types. For example, NT’s are more likely to be found in jobs similar to one another and more likely to be in different jobs than SF’s.

So where do the function pairs tend to gravitate to? If you’re a career counselor, knowing the patterns of attraction may help guide your conversation.

ST’s are commonly referred to the ‘bottom-line’ individuals. As concrete and analytical people, they are often found in occupations where they can focus on pragmatic ways to use data. Many ST’s gravitate towards jobs in business or finance for these reasons.people-desk

SF’s, or the ‘customer service’ people, like to help people in practical ways. They like to see tangible results as they relate to the service of those around them. As a result, many are found in jobs in education and health care.

NF’s are referred to as the ‘people development people’. In their career, NFs often want to help people fulfill their long term potential or realize big-picture goals. Therefore, you’ll often find them working in areas such as religion or counseling.

NT’s the ‘systems theorists’, focus on theoretical frameworks and continuously keeping themselves challenged. They are often found in science, technology, and management occupations where they can challenge, improve, and refine long-term objective outcomes.

What I’ve described above is simply a shortcut to understanding that career choice does follow patterns and distributions as predicted by type; understanding generalities as it relates to who goes where, may just help start those important conversations around career choice or college selection. Since the function pairs play the largest role in occupational choice, it is useful to help career clients consider how the jobs they are considering align with their personality type, while also exploring how they can use their function preferences in the jobs they are considering. Additionally, if the student wants to pursue what we call an ‘an out preference’ career, it may also be valuable to encourage clients to consider specialties that re-inject their personality into some day-to-day activities. Now with all that said, and while similar types tend to gravitate toward similar occupations, it is important to remember that there is also a lot of type diversityconfusion-311388_1280-2 within an occupation. Through development, learning and varying interests, people may be interested in any job for any reason. In most jobs, there is at least some representation by most – if not all – 16 types. That means, within most occupations, there are people with each and every type preference who are satisfied and effective within that role. Ultimately, our job as career counselors and type practitioners is never to prescribe career choice, but to ask the important questions that lead to a fruitful discussion around a client’s options.

For more on using Type in career exploration, check out Introduction to type and Careers on our website.