Learn to build you career in Accounting with Myers-Briggs

Did you know every person on the planet falls into one of 16 personality types? I can hear you say ‘But I’m an individual, don’t pigeon hole me like that!’ and that is absolutely true. We are, all of us, unique but we do follow similar patterns of behaviour depending on which personality type we fall into. Whether you’re an imaginative strategic thinker with a plan for everything (‘The Architect’) or you’re an excellent administrator, unsurpassed at managing projects and people (‘The Executive’) there is a role for you in the Accounting & Finance job market.

There is no such thing as the perfect personality and the Myers-Briggs test emphasises this quite strongly. There are pros and cons to each so it’s less a case of ‘I find it hard to focus therefore I’m going to be a bad employee’ and more a case of ‘I’m a great brainstormer and therefore an invaluable part of our management team’. Knowing your personality type helps you immensely in job interviews. Everyone hates that curveball question at the end of most interviews that goes something like ‘So tell me about your weaknesses’. The worst response you can give is ‘I don’t have any’ because clearly we all do. Employers probably don’t want to hear ‘I don’t know my weaknesses’ either. If you are open and honest about your flaws you can work to address them.

Knowledge is power. If you know what your weaknesses are you can work to mitigate them to the best of your ability. Take for example the ‘Logistician’ type (also known as ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale). Logisticians are the most common personality type accounting for around 13% of the human population[1]. ISTJs are characterised by their integrity, sense of duty and obligation and their strong practical logic. Consequently ISTJs are perfectly suited for careers in law enforcement, legal firms, the military and some accounting roles. They love to follow rules, working toward goals and they take pride in their work. They put all their energy into completing relevant tasks with great attention to detail and patience. Sounds great, huh? These pros are met with an equal number of cons however, some of which include;

– They believe work is best when it is clearly defined by rules, regulations, policies & procedures

– They are stubborn

– Insensitive (they rarely take emotions into the equation) and

– They frequently blame themselves for failures.

These personality traits would be completely unsuitable for say a career in retail, sales or hospitality where their priority for only wanting to deal with facts can be inhibiting in those more socially rich and open environments. As a Finance Professional however, these ‘negatives’ could be spun into positives under the right conditions but without the knowledge of who you are how can you expect to present yourself in the best possible light to potential employers? Likewise, if you seek a promotion, you’ll need to be confident that you have the right personality fit for the scope of the role. Consider the ENTP ‘Debater’ type. ENTPs are almost the polar opposite to ISTJs because they are constantly challenging the ideas of management (sometimes openly which can cause friction with more sensitive personality types) and have a well voiced disdain for restrictive rules. They are idea generators but don’t like to get their hands dirty with the grunt work. This makes them ideal managers so if you do the Myers-Briggs test (link below) and you turn out to be an ENTP then working as a Management Accountant or CFO would be ideal. The problem though is getting there. ENTPs have extremely flexible minds capable of effortlessly switching from one idea to another but this mental flexibility also makes it hard for them to focus on projects and deadlines[2]. If you identify this as a weakness then you can take steps to ensure you are better prepared to meet say reporting deadlines or stay focused on a key project you’ve been assigned when starting out your career as a subordinate. When you’ve made it to the top and you’re the one assigning projects you’ll be in your element innovating and driving change but you need to get there first.

It’s impossible to cover all 16 personality types in any great detail so I’ll leave you with a link to a free test here:

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

The test takes less than 12 minutes, is multiple choice and remember to answer honestly even if you don’t like the question. Also, try not to leave any neutral responses because that does tend to skew the results somewhat. At the end of the test you’ll have a very detailed (and accurate) assessment of your strengths and weaknesses organised into eight sections (including Parenthood, Relationships, Friendships, Career Paths and Workplace Habits). Leave your comments on our LinkedIn group and share your personality type with others to see how you measure up.

If you are an Accounting/Finance Professional interested in exploring new opportunities in the Brisbane market we’d love to hear from you on (07) 3135 9780. I also encourage you to join our private LinkedIn network (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/7021899). As you probably are aware we do move quite quickly on the roles we recruit for so it pays to stay ahead of the competition. Our group is an exclusive community I am building up for Finance Professionals in Brisbane who want to share job search opportunities, industry news, blogs and other content. You’ll also have an opportunity to network with each other. You might even come across some people you have worked with in the past!

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