The best way to learn about your personality is through the use of personality instruments or inventories. Many publishers allow only certified professionals to administer them. A career development professional, such as a career counselor, can administer a personality instrument and help you utilize what you learn from it. This information taken in conjunction with what you learn from the other parts of your self assessment, can help you choose a career.
The career development professional will choose from among several personality instruments to administer. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular. Other personality instruments include the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF), Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS) and NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI). All are based on psychological theories of personality. The Myers-Briggs, for example, is based on Carl Jung's theory of personality types.
Most personality inventories consist of a series of questions that you answer by filling in circles on a scan sheet or selecting answers on a computer. Your practitioner may have you complete it in his or her office or at home. It must be stressed that while personality inventories may be referred to as "tests," there are no right or wrong answers. Remember that no personality type is better than any other so it is important to be completely honest when answering the questions.
Getting Your Results
After you complete the inventory you will generally return it to the practitioner to be scored. He or she will either send it to the publisher or will score it him or herself. Once scoring is complete, the career development professional or the publisher will generate a report that the practitioner may discuss with you at this time. He or she may choose to wait until all other assessments are complete since, as mentioned previously, the personality inventory should be used in conjunction with other assessment tools that look at values, abilities and interests.
Your report will tell you what your personality type is. It will probably also explain how this conclusion was drawn based on your answers. Also included in your report will be a list of occupations that are suitable for those who share your personality type. Does this mean that all of these occupations are suitable for you? Absolutely not. Some will be suitable for you, while others won't be based on characteristics other than your personality, such as the aforementioned values, interests and abilities. The level of training you are willing to undertake to prepare for a career will also affect your choice. You may not be willing to earn a PhD for example.
Online Personality Inventories
You will find some personality inventories offered online, sometimes for free and other times for a fee. There is, for example, a version of the Myers-Briggs offered online, for a fee, by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT). Since this organization was co-founded by one of the test's developer, Isabel Myers Briggs, we can be fairly sure that the online version is as accurate as one administered locally. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about all online self assessment tools. Some may not be as accurate as those a career development professional would use and will often not be accompanied by adequate feedback. However, you can still benefit from using them, particularly if you can't, or choose not to, hire a professional. Use common sense when looking at your results and always thoroughly research any occupations that are indicated as being "right for you." That is true whether you are working with a professional or an online tool.