Custom-fit majors: What your personality means for your major

Wouldn’t we all love to be doctors and engineers; being guaranteed a well-paid job at graduation? I tell friends that if I had it to do all over again, I would have been a dentist—four-day work weeks making a six figure salary. But the truth of the matter is I wouldn’t have been happy in the medical field. I just don’t have the personality traits to compliment the “doctor mentality.”

So what can your personality tell you about which major or career you should choose? A lot. Examining personalities can reveal your strengths (organization, communication), weaknesses (judgmental) and preferences (one-on-one vs. large group, field work vs. desk job). These are important to consider not only for your success in a major, but also your future contentment with your career.

There are lots of personality assessments out there (i.e. every magazine in the Kroger checkout line). More professional and scientifically sound evaluations, like the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator or Strong Interest Inventory, can offer more in depth insight and analysis.

According to Myers-Briggs (available on the CDS website), I am an ENTJ or, as my mom describes me, a “Type-A” personality. Recently, I decided to revisit what this all really means about my personality to help with upcoming interviews. (It’s a good idea to really know yourself before going into an interview.)

To save time (and money), I completed the TypeFocus evaluation on the CDS website which is very similar to the Myers-Briggs. TypeFocus offers job suggestions after completing the questionnaire. At the top of my results, I found my major; a nod to the test’s accuracy.

The trick is to answer honestly. Maybe, for example, you strive to be organized always making to-do lists but rarely finishing anything on the list. If the question asks if you’re a procrastinator, don’t say “no” because you wish you weren’t, say “yes” to avoid cheating yourself from the most accurate results. Don’t respond how you want to be perceived. Remember, no one is seeing your answers. This is just for your benefit. Choosing majors or careers that match your preferences enable you to better enjoy your work, stress less and accomplish tasks with less effort.

A major does not mean you are committed to any particular occupation or vice versa. Before declaring a major, I never took one of these assessments—a credit to my Type A personality of needing and sticking to a plan. I knew what I wanted to study but, I still debate, even with graduation literally days away, what exactly to do with my major. Choosing a major is hardly straightforward. I’m not saying you should major in whatever the assessments tell you, but definitely don’t ignore them.

Career Development Services offers five different assessments to help define your personality. Besides helping to choose a major or career, having this information can help in interviews later on. Take the time to really get to know yourself then speak with a career counselor about what it could mean for your future.

By Kelly Cargill

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