Tailoring Your Career to Your Strongest Cognitive Function
Every person has a dominant function, or intelligence or ability, which they can apply at work for success, flow, and higher productivity.
Are you feeling stuck in your career? Are you looking to switch fields or even just excel in your current role? Understanding your cognitive functions could be the key to finding a job that you not only excel at but also genuinely enjoy. In this article, we’ll explore how each cognitive function aligns with different career paths. I work with 16 intelligences, instead of the traditional eight cognitive functions, to get additional nuance and to identify subtypes and people who don’t quite fit in the traditional mold. Take my cognitive function test to determine which intelligence is your strongest!
Judging functions rely on executive parts of the brain to manage and organize and make decisions. It is found that people high in conscientiousness, like Judging types, are often well-organized, responsible, and reliable. They might excel in roles that require a high degree of accuracy and organization such as accounting or operations management4.
Perceiving functions rely on exploratory functions in the brain to generate new information and to analyze information. Jobs in startups or young companies with more flexibility, or companies which depend on constant innovation and change, and open deadlines might be ideal for Perceiving types.
Intuitive Judging (NJ)
Recommended Careers: Data Analyst, Strategic Planner, Researcher, Policy Maker, Urban Planner, Financial Planner
Why: Intuitive Judging types excel in careers that require high focus, visualization, and organizational skills. Their unique ability in prediction and estimation makes them ideal for roles that involve forecasting and strategic planning. They may struggle in high-adrenaline environments which require a fast-paced and flexible mindset, and where planning is less effective. If you’re strong in Intuition and Judging, definitely talk with your manager about being more involved in organization and planning and forecasting!
Sensing Judging (SJ)
Recommended Careers: Operations Manager, Logistics Coordinator, Accountant, Nurse, Supply Chain Manager
Why: Sensing Judging types thrive in roles that require a high level of discipline, step-by-step thinking and time management. Their knack for logistics makes them invaluable in operational roles. They might struggle in environments that change quickly and lack clear processes. An inability to prepare ahead can be hard on you. If you’re strong in Sensing and Judging, talk to your boss about being more involved in preparation, managing logistics, making schedules, and establishing processes.
Thinking Judging (TJ)
Recommended Careers: Lawyer, Engineer, Project Manager, Financial Analyst, Police officer
Why: Individuals with a Thinking Judging function are exceptional at applying laws and frameworks to solve problems. Their strategic mindset is particularly useful in careers that involve resource management. You like to have a predefined framework or guideline to work from, rather than just making decisions on your gut. You might struggle in an environment which requires accurate understanding of individual perspectives and adjustments and changes based on personal considerations or taste. If you’re strong in this function, consider a conversation with your manager about being more involved in leadership, business decisions, and project management.
Feeling Judging (FJ)
Recommended Careers: Communicator, Public Relations Specialist, Politician, Diplomat, Teacher
Why: Feeling Judging types are naturally inclined towards careers that require strong communication skills and the ability to influence and persuade others. You might struggle in environments which require a more non-verbal, action-oriented or tactical approach. If you’re good at this function, talk with your boss about being more involved in the social media, communication, and tone of voice of the company.
Feeling Perceiving (FP)
Recommended Careers: Journalist, Interpreter, Hiring and Recruitment, Artist, Musician
Why: These individuals excel in roles requiring strong listening and interpretation skills. Their ability to engage emotionally and spot nuances is invaluable in careers that explore different cultures, values, and lifestyles. You might struggle in environments which set aside personal opinions and instead rely on logical principles to solve problems. If you’re good at Feeling and Perceiving, considering taking part in maintaining the democracy of the company, ensuring all voices are heard and that information and events are documented and that the stories are shared with the social media department and management.
Thinking Perceiving (TP)
Recommended Careers: Software Developer, Systems Analyst, Detective, Medical Researcher, Mechanic
Why: Thinking Perceiving types are adept at problem-solving and tactical thinking. Their ability to diagnose, analyze, and weigh pros and cons makes them well-suited for analytical roles. At the same time, you might not like if there are too tight rules or boundaries, which make it hard for you to use your intellectual flexibility. You might struggle in environments where the most efficient approach is scorned at in favor of the most elegant approach or one that is more socially appropriate. As a person strong in Thinking and Perceiving, consider roles which allow you to be involved in analyzing and discussing decisions, assessing performance, and keeping score on what happens in the company.
Sensing Perceiving (SP)
Recommended Careers: Paramedic, Travel Blogger, Photographer, Carpenter, Dancer, Masseuse, Hairdresser, Athlete
Why: These types crave freedom and variety, excelling in careers that offer new experiences and practical tasks that they can get their hands on. You might dislike an environment which requires more slow-paced movement, and which requires focus and mental fortitude. If you’re good at Sensing and Perceiving, consider being more involved in things that get your adrenaline up, like difficult customers, or challenging work with time pressure.
Intuitive Perceiving (NP)
Recommended Careers: Graphic Designer, Writer, Marketing Strategist, Inventor, Videographer
Why: Intuitive Perceiving types thrive in creative environments that allow them the freedom to brainstorm, generate new ideas, and experiment. You might struggle when an environment demands more preparation and structure, and doesn’t allow flexibility. If you’re strong in Intuition and Perceiving, ask for more brainstorming and idea-generation situations, and ask for freedom to explore alternative ways to organize different processes in the company.
Extroverted functions prefer a more fast-paced environment where things move quickly and you have to adapt and think on the fly. Extroverts tend to be more social, assertive, and talkative. They often prefer jobs that allow them to interact with others. Examples include sales, teaching, and management roles1.
Introverted functions prefer a more slow-paced time frame and time to work through and avoid mistakes ahead of time. They also enjoy a mix of organization and analysis. Introverts often excel in roles that allow for deep thinking, analysis, or one-on-one interactions. They might enjoy roles as lab technicians, data analysts, or writers, where they can focus on tasks independently or in a small team setting2.
Extroverted Intuition (EN)
Recommended Careers: Journalist, Educator, Consultant, Trend Analyst
Why: Careers that tap into your passion for language, pattern recognition, and novelty will keep you stimulated and engaged. You might dislike when an environment requires too much attention to detail or requires you to spot or slowly work through mistakes and errors and ensure something works perfectly on the first try. You enjoy experimentation more. If you’re strong in Intuition and Extroversion, ask to be involved in new processes and exploring new products or ideas and learning a new field or department. You might benefit from shorter timelines and more variation.
Extroverted Sensing (ES)
Recommended Careers: Outdoor Guide, Athlete, Firefighter, Event Planner, Personal Trainer
Why: Your passion for nature, exploration, and stimulation will be best utilized in careers that require direct action and fieldwork. When you are strong in extroversion and sensing, you might dislike environments which require a more academic, in-depth analysis. You dislike spending too much time talking or abstracting away from something and like to get going as quickly as possible. If you’re strong in Sensing and Extroversion, consider talking with your manager about ways to be more involved on the floor where things happen, and to be allowed to go on fieldtrips to different customers and partners. Ask to be involved in hands on testing of products and seeing how things are working in practice. You also value if you can get right into something and might struggle in a more slow-moving company.
Extroverted Thinking (ET)
Recommended Careers: Sales, Business, Presentations, Product Manager, Operations Manager
Why: Your ability to take command, coupled with a competitive mindset and an eye for innovation, will serve you well in leadership roles. You might dislike when a situation requires more humility and listening. You like making decisions quickly and find it annoying to reflect on why or for what purpose you do something. If you’re strong in this function, talk with your manager about being involved in selling or giving presentations about products and to represent the business in different ways.
Extroverted Feeling (EF)
Recommended Careers: Community manager, HR, Coach
Why: Your ability to enjoy and effectively work with a wide range of people with diverse viewpoints and values. Your high tolerance and humility sets you apart. You might dislike if a situation requires more independent work and critical thinking, and when you are not allowed to collaborate with other people. If you’re strong in Extroversion and Feeling, ask to be involved in the company culture and relationships in the company, establishing a shared culture and vibe.
Introverted Thinking (IT)
Recommended Careers: Mathematician, Scientist, Programmer, Data Scientist
Why: Your critical thinking skills and logical approach make you well-suited for careers that require a scientific approach and deep analysis. You might dislike if an environment requires more social humility and collaboration and peer-work, and prefer working more independently. If you’re strong in Introversion and Thinking, you might benefit from asking your boss for privacy and time to work on more careful and analytical projects, with long term return.
Introverted Sensing (IS)
Recommended Careers: Librarian, Archivist, Quality Control Analyst, Historian
Why: Your eye for detail and patience make you ideal for careers that require following instructions and detailed processes. You might dislike when an environment requires a lot of learning and new information on a frequent basis, as you prefer having a more familiar routine. You like having time to practice ahead of something, so if a company has longer time frames, that’s in your benefit. If you’re strong in this function, consider asking to be involved in documentation, going over details of agreements, and checking that processes are followed correctly.
Introverted Intuition (IN)
Recommended Careers: Philosopher, Strategist, Futurist, Psychologist, Theoretical Physics
Why: Your abstract, theoretical mind is your biggest asset in careers that require looking at things from multiple perspectives. You might dislike having to go out and do field work or take action, especially if you haven’t had time to reflect on your theory long enough first. Those strong in Introversion and Intuition might benefit from running simulations on what-if scenarios, to see how the company might develop depending on if they choose path A or B. You might also like having longer time frames so that you can really go in depth on something.
Introverted Feeling (IF)
Recommended Careers: Novelist, Blogger, Counselor, Social Worker, Customer Service Representative, Human Rights Advocate
Why: Your introspective nature and writing skills can be best utilized in careers that require self-awareness and the exploration of human emotions. You might dislike if a situation requires you to take command or assume leadership of a group, as you tend to want everyone to do what they feel best themselves. With high Introverted Feeling, talk to your manager about being involved in post-decision evaluation, reflecting on what happened after a decision was made or after a new product launch, and finding what went well and what went badly.
Understanding your strongest cognitive function can be a significant step towards finding a fulfilling career. It offers a window into how you process information and interact with the world, guiding you towards a path that not only matches your skills but also aligns with your passions and interests.
So, how do you feel about these recommendations? Do they resonate with you, or are there aspects you’d like to delve deeper into?
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