should you add IQ or Myers Briggs to your resume?

It’s Flashback Friday! Here’s an old post from February 2009 that we’re making new again, rather than leaving it to wilt in the archives.

A reader writes:

Applicants always want their resume to stand out. Well, I know that a few of the companies I have worked for know of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type test. Although it is not seen as “professional” (yet), I have seen it posted in many settings and have even seen workshops on this stuff.

Would this be a good thing to add to a resume to make it stand out?

By that same token, would an IQ score be something to add? I mean, it is a test of problem solving and reasoning, which are valuable skills in the workplace.

No! Do not under any circumstances put your IQ on your resume. You will look pompous (assuming it’s high), weird, and … just strange. If you are smart, count on it to come across on its own in your materials, your achievements, and your interview.

Don’t put your Myers-Briggs type either, unless you’re in a field where it’s widely considered useful currency. I don’t know what those fields are or if there even are any, but if one exists and you’re in it, presumably you’ll know. But otherwise, you risk appearing a little cheesy to some (although probably not all) resume readers. I suppose you can mention it in your cover letter if it’s somehow highly relevant to the needs of the job, but leave it off the resume. (But I bet someone will disagree with me on this, and I’m looking forward to reading their reasoning in the comments.)

Resumes are for listing your accomplishments; they’re not for personal traits. Listing that you’re an “ESTJ” does give me some information about you, but it doesn’t tell me what you’ve achieved and experienced, which is what I’m looking for when I look at your resume.

Anyone want to argue the opposite?

{ 213 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie the Fed*

    No to both. No no no no no.

    Myers Briggs I find useful but people who put too much stock in it tend to strike me as a bit…navel gazey. It’s really just a description of your personality traits – which you can exhibit elsewhere in the application process.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      I’ve known a few companies that really emphasis Myers Briggs, Gallops Skills, or Emergenetics. If you know for a fact that the company you’re applying to uses it, you could maybe add it to the resume, or discuss in the interview process. For all other companies, no. Just no.

      1. Melissa*

        Even then, I think it depends…my old job uses MBTI and other strengths/skills inventories, but I think it would still be weird if someone put their type on their resume.

    2. fposte*

      And it fails as a predictor, so whatever it says about your personality traits doesn’t seem to play out in the workplace anyway.

    3. Anonymous*

      MBTI is actually not really about personality traits; they are operational preferences. It’s very often misapplied.

      1. Anonymous*

        (And what I mean is that “personality traits” are seen as static and unyielding. Your MBTI type shouldn’t be; it speaks to how you most likely interact with the world and the ways in which you most adeptly interact with the world, but placing too much stock in “being” an INFJ or an ESTP doesn’t really mean that much.

        Also, the strength of each indicator is crucial (yet often ignored) and actually makes the results mean something to an individual.)

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Ah, that makes sense. I’ve evolved a bit since I first took it – used to be a strong INFP and now much more INFJ.

          I’ll stop before I get too navel gazey.

          1. Anonymous*

            And it’s flexible all the time, really. For instance, I’m an INFJ, but I’m a mid-range Introvert, a strong iNtuitive, a very weak Feeling, and a mid-range Judging. That means that I’m probably nearly as adept at analytics (and similar) as a weak Thinking would be, but you wouldn’t know that just from my static type. And maybe some days, I’m more extroverted than introverted, since it’s mid-range. But my type does tell me that it’s probably unlikely that I will ever be sensory oriented, so I need to come up with tactics for when it’s expected of me.

            So just because someone has a ‘preference’ towards, say, introvertism that doesn’t mean that it gives them license to announce they won’t show up to meetings anymore because all the people stress them out. But a lot of people take their MBTI results to mean just that or, as someone said below, that it’s an endpoint rather than a tool to help understand themselves and others.

          2. Meg*

            I’m ENTJ, sometimes ENTP. A friend of mine puts a lot of stock into it – he’s also an ENTP, and calls out some of my particular quirks as “that’s what you get for being an ENTJ.”

            1. Ariancita*

              I test sometimes as ENFP and sometimes as ENTP, really depends. And my E/I is middling, which also depends on the day/my mood/etc. So yeah, I don’t really put a whole lot of stock in it. Doesn’t help that every single other description I read about the other types has me saying, “Oh, that’s totally me!” It’s not. :)

              1. College Career Counselor*

                I have found that my thinking about the MBTI has evolved over the last 20 years. I have come to value its use in certain settings (preferences as they relate to work style or environment) when working with students. I’ve also seen it useful for group dynamics (having an awareness of your preferences and those of others helps in conveying information, giving time to process, etc.) and to a certain extent leadership (I consider it part of the knowing yourself and understanding others aspects of EQ).

                That said, you should NEVER put it on your resume (along with your IQ–that would make me question your judgment), nor should it be used as a tool to determine whom you should hire.

                Having worked in career services, advising, and higher education for as long as I have, I find it useful to be able to use the terminology and the thinking behind it in understanding how best to approach projects and people. The part that I always try to guard against is using it to put people in their 4-letter box. “Oh, well, what do yo expect from an ISTJ?” “Let’s not put him in this group–we already have enough ENTPs.” People are much, much more than their MBTI code.

    4. Felicia*

      I’ve interviewed with two companies that both asked me to do a Myers Briggs test as part of the application process, but I’d never state my type up from ( 50% of the time I am an INTJ 50% I am an INFJ, because of course I will announce it to you guys). I find everyone’s types really interesting and probably have an annoying fascination with it, but I keep that strictly to my personal type. Also putting an IQ score would be even worse, IMO. It can only come off as bragging, and I’ve heard that it doesn’t even indicate much about what you know, just your potential.

    5. Andrea*

      Hmmm. Yeah. I find Myers Briggs info useful but then I’m an ENFP and we’re like that.

      Put Myers Briggs on a resume and you’ll just creep all the SJs out and you don’t want to do that. ;)

  2. Cat*

    IQ would make me assume that the applicant was an insufferable douchebag and throw the resume away. That might be unfair, but when you’re a law firm, you have to work hard enough to screen out the stealth douchebags; listing IQ is too much of a red flag.

    Myers-Briggs would make me think the candidate was a bit naive. Those tests are fun and sometimes useful, but they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. I’d worry that someone who listed the result on a resume was the type of person who took it as an endpoint rather than a starting point; that would make me worry they’re not particularly inquisitive and tend to take things at face value, which is a serious problem in our line of work.

    That said, if someone listed their Harry Potter house on their resume, there’s a chance I’d be okay with that, so maybe I’m hypocritical.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      That said, if someone listed their Harry Potter house on their resume, there’s a chance I’d be okay with that, so maybe I’m hypocritical.M

      I would totally want to talk to that person.

      /Gryffindor here–in fact I just hung a huge Quidditch banner on my cube wall. :D

      1. Liane*

        Probably a Gryffindor.
        But once I told a good friend–who *Always* comes up Gryffindor–that with my tendency to know-it-all-ism (sometimes & only in certain areas), my snarky comments, plus a couple other things, I might just be a Slytherin. His reply: “You know you just described Hermione!!”
        So that confirmed I’m a Gryffindor.

        1. Ariancita*

          Yeah…that’s Hermione! LOL! I would actually think that would make one more Ravenclaw. I wondered if I could be Slytherin too, but then I think of things that aren’t like me at all that are very Slytherin: patience for the long game, politicking behind the scenes, the power behind the throne stuff.

      2. Felicia*

        For where my personality would fit most, I’m a mix between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but Ravenclaw would be my preference:) My friend who was looking for a roommate asked all potential roommates their Hogwarts house:)

      3. Al Lo*

        According to Pottermore, I’m a Ravenclaw. Also, I totally want a Quidditch banner on my office wall now.

        1. Jessica (the celt)*

          I’m Ravenclaw by choice and by Pottermore, so I was glad to be placed there. :) I always feel that Hermione could have been in Ravenclaw, but wonder if she “chose” Gryffindor in a similar way that Harry discouraged Slytherin. She did admit that the Sorting Hat considered putting her there at first when another student asked her why she wasn’t in Ravenclaw with her brains. My nickname from friends and coworkers who are Potterphiles has always been “Hermione,” but I argue that I’m Ravenclaw through and through.

          My husband probably could have been Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, but he was sorted into Ravenclaw. I tell people we met in the house Common Room. ;~) I also feel that Snape could have been sorted to Ravenclaw, had he not had those … um … unfortunate tendencies.

      1. Melissa*

        This is useful and entertaining, lol! I’m always startled how much the ENTJ (James Potter, in this graphic) preferences match my own.

      2. Anon*

        Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape for me. Looks like the Sorting Hat did its job; I’m Slytherin in Pottermore.

    2. Mander*

      Ok, so this discussion made me go sign up at Pottermore just so I could see what house it put me in. And I’m pleased to say it’s Ravenclaw! Definitely the best color scheme, IMHO.

      It would be great to apply for a job in which listing something like this on my CV would actually be appropriate… ;-)

        1. Chinook*

          I think it is because INFJ’s hate BS and can handle the truth, so we all like how you present the information.

      1. LMW*

        I’m an INFJ too. And yes, we’re supposed to be rarest. Apparently the entire population has the good sense to read AAM.

      1. Becky B*

        Same here! It depends on what else is going on. This week I was more INTJ than my usual INFJ, and thinking about it, I did feel the difference.

        I had just come across a chart on Pinterest that showed INFJs and INTJs were rare, especially for women, which surprised me. Most of my friends seem to be these types. Hermits United! (tm Doctor Who)

        1. Felicia*

          Same! Most of my friends are INFJ or INTJ. Perhaps we like to stick together around people who “get” us :) I think I switch between INFJ and INTJ based on the situation

    1. Kethryvis*

      i’m ISFJ, does that count?

      i think i’ve been INFJ before though! so maybe i can’t learn the secret handshake but i can hang out with the cool kids sometimes?

    2. Broke Philosopher*

      I am E/I NFJ. I can come up with either E or I, which I guess reflects the fact that I like to socialize, but also value my alone time like a precious jewel. I have taken the test a couple times (good procrastination tool), and if I’ve been social recently I’ll be I, and if I’ve spent a lot of time alone I’ll be E. Interesting.

    3. Liane*

      INFJ, too.
      It’s supposed to be the rarest (25%, I’ve heard) for science types. BUT I have a science degree, Zoology, & have held a lot of lab jobs, mostly microbiology & a decent amount of chemistry. So you really CAN’T tell. But perhaps the INFJ is one reason why I love microbio so much more than chemistry; it is either qualitative or semi-quantitative, depending on what you are doing.
      AAM, I love your description of the type as “psychic,” which is so true. However, I usually tell people that my approach is Bones McCoy, not Mr. Spock and I don’t want to hear about the logic either.

    4. TheSnarkyB*

      I’m INFJ too!! The F is major – it’s my strongest attribute. It’s crazy the difference a letter makes. Dear ole boyfriend is INTJ and we butt heads like crazy/are total opposites in a lot of ways.
      I usually don’t put a lot of stock in things like this but this time, it was very apt.

      1. Felicia*

        Same! Most of my friends are INFJ or INTJ. Perhaps we like to stick together around people who “get” us :) I think I switch between INFJ and INTJ based on the situation

    5. Felicia*

      I’m an INFJ a lot of the time too!:) My feeling and thinking are very close to 50/50, so sometimes I am an INTJ. I find that INFJ people tend to congregate most often on fairly intelligent internet discussion groups, so you’ll find us online in certain types of settings more than the general population.

    6. Anon*

      I just scored as one apparently. Though I have slight differences between most of them, it just depends on the day.

      1. Plynn*

        I think I tested as a teenager as an INFP, with the P/J being fairly borderline. I evolved over the years into testing stronger for the J, but then the F started to blur more into T…

        I think the only thing I can really say for certain is that I’ve had to do that test way too many times…

    7. German Chick*

      So am I! But then again, Myers-Briggs has a low reliability and validity so I don’t really identify with my test result…

    8. Anonymous*

      INFJ/INTJ/INFP/INTP. If you’re “average” in an area, the test results will still sort you into one or the other.

    9. Meganly*

      I am an INFJ as well! I didn’t realize that it’s the “psychic” type; my partner accuses me of reading his mind all the time, so maybe it’s right. :P

  3. The IT Manager*

    AAM speaks the truth. :)

    I don’t know what your Myers-Briggs results are supposed to signify unless you think that one personality type is inherently better at the job you’re applying for than others. All of the various results come with a list of famous people who have had that personality type so I think it essentially means nothing.

    Your IQ doesn’t actually signify your workplace skills. And putting it on a resume marks you as someone who puts stock in it and probably too much stock in the idea that you are intelligent and that intelligence is all you need to succeed.

    See this week’s Dear Prudence for an example of two people for whom high IQ did not equal superstar employee ( which also led me to the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.

    1. Ariancita*

      Oh my gosh…that letter strikes a chord. Lots of similarities between me and the letter writer.

      Let me tell you, IQ means nothing. I have a high IQ and feel like an idiot almost all the time. It just means you’re smart enough to realize you’re pretty dumb.

      1. Anon*

        +1 For Ariancita. I had a high IQ test score when I was a child and thankfully, I didn’t understand why the adults were all reacting the way they were to my score. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I looked up what the scores actually meant that I understood their reaction. I still don’t put any weight into the IQ test as you can have brains and not doing anything with it. I can remember times where I became too arrogant and didn’t study and the test whupped my butt. It simply means your mind works faster, you still have to hone it like any other skill.

      2. Andrea*

        “It just means you’re smart enough to realize you’re pretty dumb.”

        Ha this is so true.

        Some days I think one my best traits is realizing where I am dumb (and compensating for it) and other days I think I’m just dumb.

        Correlate imposter syndrome to known IQ numbers one time and see what kind of results you get.

      3. Jessa*

        Oh yes, I remember reading that Prudence and thinking OMG this is my life. IQ is not an endpoint dammit. And not every kid with a high IQ excels in everything either. I know language geniuses who cannot for the life of them add without a calculator or their fingers. I happen to be one. I have a processing disorder that includes numbers, I understand calculus and higher level maths but I can’t do arithmetic without a calculator. I grew up BEFORE the hand held calculator was invented and made cheap enough for children to have in school. Maths were a nightmare.

  4. Lynn Whitehat*

    They’re both controversial enough that you never know when you’re going to be addressing someone who hates them, and even thinks less of someone who puts stock in them. Or someone who just has no use for NFs or something.

    1. Ariancita*

      Oh! I like this chart! I am always either ENFP and ENTP. I think I resonate with Sirius Black. Probably because my Ennegram is a solid 7!

  5. Sabrina*

    Yeah I think that’s about as effective as putting the results of your most recent fashion magazine quiz on your resume. (And I put about as much stock in them)

    1. Anonymous*

      Hey now, MBTI has a lot of merit in a team setting, which can be very useful in management. I agree that it’s terrible to use it as a means of recruiting or even self-labeling very much (because there’s little evidence it helps with individual metrics outside of a team), but there’s no need to denigrate it.

      A lot of people are self-educated on type theory and think it’s a simple personality test, when actually it has to do with individuals best operate at a low stress level (i.e., how they best make decisions, interact, etc). MBTI can help managers and colleagues understand each other’s work and environmental preferences in an easily measurable way, so it’s often more efficient and clear-cut. Once you have a team, it can really help with building a productive group dynamic.

      1. fposte*

        In that respect I think it’s very similar to astrology, though, or enneagrams, or other systems; it allows people to describe their self-identification in compact and understandable ways. That in itself can be really useful, even with the Forer effect at full bore.

        But it doesn’t reliably capture any differences about what people *do*–it’s just about what people think they do or like. (The National Academy of Sciences review committee judged most of the axes to fail to meet even the “validity” standard of measuring what they’re supposed to–that doesn’t even get into predictive value, just the test’s actual testing.) So it doesn’t predict behavior, success, etc., and it’s really not a good plan to use it in hiring. But hiring managers use a lot of things in hiring that really don’t predict, so it doesn’t particularly stand out there.

          1. fposte*

            The initial question is about including it when you’re trying to get hired, so I think that’s a point worth making explicitly. But I’d love to know more about the research on using it in teams–can you mention some of the work?

            1. Anonymous*

              Fair enough. And there’s not much significant research on the team use (or on MBTI in general); I’m in the process of training and have seen it work, anecdotally. I know there is educational research which shows it’s effectiveness in classroom settings though. Primarily, the research has been focused on how, as you said, it absolutely should not be used a method of recruiting and also how it should not be used as a static means of self-labeling.

        1. Anonymous*

          And I’m not saying you have to buy into as a legit science, just that there are plenty of very legitimate organizations (McKinsey & Co. is the most famous) that use MBTI as a shortcut/simple metric for understanding communication and working styles, and using that information to create a more productive environment. No company should use it as a predictor of success.

          1. Cat*

            Well, one could make a fairly persuasive argument that the MBTI and McKinsey occupy the same sphere of things that are useful not because of inherent merit but because we, as a society, have decided to give them value.

            1. Anonymous*

              I’ve worked with McKinsey and never felt that way, but okay. Differing opinions make the world go ’round!

            2. Lora*

              Heh. I interviewed there recently…and I completely agree with you. Pretty much every time any employer I’ve worked for has used them, they produce no more information than could have been gleaned from simply walking around the cube farm and randomly talking to people. Which, in fact, is McKinsey’s method of “research” for the most part. Fortunately my directors and project managers at the time were direct enough to say, “We already knew that. What else have you got for us?” Errrrr herp-de-derpy-doo…nothing…

              1. Melissa*

                I was about to say – that’s exactly what McKinsey does, anyway. It’s just that some employers would rather pay them exorbitant amounts of money to do that than do it themselves. (Not that I am knocking it – I’m a social scientist, so a good deal of my work has to do with asking random people questions and then analyzing their answers.)

        2. Eva*

          fposte, allow me to repeat part of a comment I wrote in reply to you last time Myers-Briggs was discussed here where you also brought up the Forer effect:

          “The Forer … profile you refer to was made up of statements that were vague and ambiguous to the point of catch-all meaninglessness, e.g. “At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.” ( Sure, ‘at times’ even the Unabomber could be gregarious!

          MBTI profiles, on the other hand, go out on a limb in describing quite distinct personalities, and this definitiveness mitigates confirmation bias. For instance, imagine giving AAM this ESFP profile which includes the line: “They might not be the best advice-givers in the world, because they dislike theory and future-planning.” :) ( (And if someone wants to quibble about the qualifier ‘might’, I give you this continuation: “For the ESFP, the entire world is a stage. They love to be the center of attention and perform for people. They’re constantly putting on a show for others to entertain them and make them happy.” Still think it sounds like it could be AAM? (Or for that matter the Unabomber? :D))”

          The full comment can be found here:

          1. fposte*

            It’s true that the Forer effect isn’t completely consistent for Myers-Briggs–mind you, the same can be said of some astrological forecasts and enneagram reports, and the fact that it’s occasionally falsifiable doesn’t mean it’s never applicable. (MBTI is actually more like enneagrams than astrology in being essentially a codification of a self-description.)

            But it sounds scientific without meeting scientific standards, and I get concerned when people therefore take it as being more scientific than these other systems. I totally agree that can be useful to have a phraseological shorthand to identify your interacting and behavioral tastes, but I’ve found nothing that suggests MBTI outperforms any other system of self-description, including people narratively describing how they like to work. It’s more catchy than some (the MMPI is no fun at parties :-)), but I’m not seeing any research that suggests a greater value.

            1. fposte*

              But I’m definitely on board with Anonymous above in saying different opinions is what makes the world go ’round :-).

            2. Ariancita*

              I would just like to chime in and say I LOVE reading astrology. But then, I also like faeries and making mischief and truly believe that my computer has a mischief making computer faerie and if given the attention and praise it wants, it’ll usually behave for me. :)

              That is to say, to discount something as not scientific does not take away it’s entertainment value and enjoyability. (So we’re on the same page as to belief in its validity.)

              1. Chinook*

                Nope – computers don’t have fairies. they have gnomes with pet hamsters. In the older versions, the hamsters ran fast to keep the fans going. In the newer versions, the hamster are more pets and less working animal.

                Gnomes also require the odd sacrifice. They prefer brownies. This can be offered to them via their high priest(esses) known as IT.

                1. Ariancita*

                  I think you’re talking about a Windows machine. My work space is a PC-Free Zone. I’m pretty sure Macs have faeries. :)

                  (In a past work life as a graphic designer, I was once dubbed the High Priestess of Postscript.)

                2. Chinook*

                  Yup, I can defintiely see Macs having fairies (and am politely refraining from any other Tinkerbell comments).

            3. Eva*

              “I get concerned when people therefore take it as being more scientific than these other systems.”

              Myers-Briggs is more scientific than astrology.

              I’m fine with you not finding it useful, but I find it misleading of you to say that it is “very similar to astrology” and to mention the Forer effect as if though that explains the appeal of MBTI.

              That said, I agree with you that people take MBTI to be more scientific than it is and I share your concern. On my website, my co-admin and I constantly caution our visitors that the MBTI only says something about a subset of the personality, and that the MBTI cannot explain everything – see for example step 10 here:

        3. Eva*

          One more thing:

          “But it doesn’t reliably capture any differences about what people *do*–it’s just about what people think they do or like.”

          The psychologists Costa and McCrae, two of the top names in the Big Five literature, would beg to differ with you here. In their study “Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator from the Perspective of the Five Factor Model of Personality”, they note that “…the four MBTI indices did measure aspects of four of the five major dimensions of normal personality…” and that “even critical reviewers … see promise in the instrument”.

          The MBTI can be criticized, yes, but it is not true that it is on par with astrology. It is better than that – which is why 89 out of the Fortune 100 companies use the MBTI (according to Annie Murphy Paul in her book ‘The Cult of Personality Testing’) whereas none of them use astrology.

          1. fposte*

            I’m fine with you being an MBTI fan, but you’re arguing a logical fallacy there–who uses it doesn’t prove its validity, just who it’s popular with; handwriting analysis has also been used by major companies and is utterly non-predictive as well.

            The Costa/McCrae is an interesting early examination, but it’s got its own bobbles, including the use of their own test as the unquestionable touchstone. But it also doesn’t address my main question that MBTI work has so far, from what I can see, failed to answer–what does it get you? What situation did it objectively improve? When has having this information provided a quantifiable advantage over not having it, or over having the MMPI or some other personality test? That’s not a tough standard to meet–it’s a pretty basic scientific bar to clear–but so far I’m not seeing any research that demonstrates an actual, quantifiable outcome influence from its use. And that’s what I’m waiting for.

            This is more of a thread hijack than I meant to get into, so I’ll end my part of that here :-).

            1. Brenda*

              “What situation did it objectively improve? When has having this information provided a quantifiable advantage over not having it, or over having the MMPI or some other personality test?”

              Does it make sense to apply these criteria? I can’t think of many (or any) management or hiring techniques that would meet these stringent criteria.

              1. Bobby Digital*

                Well, like, of course it makes sense. Aren’t many (if not all, in theory) management/hiring techniques based on these criteria?

                Because if you’re arguing that their techniques aren’t results-oriented (again, at least in theory), I’d be really interested in what you’d argue they’re used for. Managers doing performance reviews because they like filling out forms? Hiring managers wanting cover letters because they need some light reading?

                1. Brenda*

                  I’m saying that the commenter was choosing to hold this conversation to a ridiculous, artificial standard. Why do we all of a sudden have to prove that the MBTI achieves something “objectively” and “quantifiable” when we don’t hold other techniques and strategies discussed on this blog to that standard. Of course everyone believes what they do is effective and gets results. There’s a difference between debating that based on personal experience and requiring scientific proof for it.

    2. Sabrina*

      Just replying to myself. :) Of all of them, I think Myers Briggs to be the most “legit”. However most things with colors or communication styles I’ve found to be completely off.

    3. Andrea*

      Myers Briggs is enormously useful to me as a manager/leader. I’m an ENFP who does well with INT’s on my direct report team.

      INT’s have a hard row to hoe generally because they are so often misunderstood. Not only do I get them, I *love* them, whilst leaving them alone to do what it is they do best independently (and not emoting all over them, or asking them to do extroverted feely things that drain all of their energy).

      Not astrology or Cosmo quiz, very useful.

      But still too weird to plop it on a resume.

  6. De Minimis*

    ISTJ here. But I’ve heard that the MBTI doesn’t really have a whole lot of substance behind it.

    Mine has changed a bit over the years, in high school I guess I was more sensitive and perceptive, I used to be an INFP. Guess I’ve become callous and judgmental as I age.

    1. Ruffingit*

      As I wrote below, mine has changed with age as well. I used to be an E and now I’m an I. As I’ve aged, I value my solitary time more.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        The idea with MBTI is not that we are all of one or the other–EVERYone is supposed to use all of the functions some of the time. It’s supposed to be a preference, not a binding behavioral code.

        As I understand it, MBTI theory says that as we age, we “move toward the middle” on each dimension. Supposedly being in the middle indicates maturity and an ability to engage, interact, rationalize, etc. as things warrant.

    2. Kaz*

      My husband and I had to take the Myers-Briggs test as part of our premarital counseling. I thought I answered the questions like a heartless bastard and it turns out I’m on the border of being warm and fuzzy. Perhaps I have softened in my old age.

      Also, the pastor really didn’t know what to do with us because we both got the exact same personality type. He clearly had a whole schpiel worked up for how problems might arise between each different type and couldn’t think of anything to say. We got out 45 minutes early. So I count that as winning at premarital counseling!

      1. Melissa*

        Seriously? He couldn’t think about the conflicts that come when two people both have similar personality types – like two really headstrong and stubborn people, or two really timid people who are afraid to tell the other when they are being bothered until they blow up? Sometimes I feel like our similar personalities cause more conflicts between my husband and I than we’d have if we were different, lol.

    3. Melissa*

      My preferences have changed, too. I was an ENFP in college, and now I am an ENTJ and much more in the middle of the E/I scale than I was before. It’s funny the big swing that J/P took, too – I used really, really prefer P and now I really, really prefer J.

  7. Emily*

    INFJ here! While I definitely would not advise listing your MBTI on a resume, if you identify closely with your personality type, it can help to review the strengths and preferences of your type when crafting a cover letter.

    For example (this is from Wikipedia):
    INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding of themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear and confident vision, which they then set out to execute, aiming to better the lives of others.

    I find that reflecting on these traits can be a helpful reminder of what your strengths are!

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Yes, I agree!

      When I started thinking about the kind of manager I wanted to be, I was reading a bit on this and realized that I’m very people driven and value driven, more than task-oriented. So I play to my strengths and mitigate the weaknesses as best I can.

      1. Chinook*

        I think you show the perfect way to use MBTI – to make yourself aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and to point out that not everyone is like you (which should be obvious but isn’t to everyone).

        The first time I did the test was when iw as teaching overseas and a friend and I both came up with the opposite personality to everyone else in the group (which really explained why we were good friends). When we had to describe a characteristic of those like us, we came up with “we have immense patience with those who are trying hard but no patience for fools.” The other just laughed because they realized that was what made us compeltely different but none of us could put our fingers on it before.

    1. EE*

      Hm, just did that. Marginal or no preference for E over I and marginal or no preference for J over P. I must not be a very distinct personality!

    1. KellyK*

      Maybe if you actually did something useful/interesting with it—wrote your local group’s newsletter or arranged trips or whatever.

      I’d say “yes” if it’d be worth putting down as volunteer experience. “No” if it’s just there to show that you’re smart enough to be in Mensa.

    2. Clever Name*

      That seems to be a not-so-stealth way to yell, “HEY! I’m SMART!”. If one is really that smart, people realize it pretty quickly.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Exactly. If you want to convey that you’re smart, let it show through your resume and your accomplishments. (And if it doesn’t show through your accomplishments, then your ability to qualify for MENSA doesn’t really matter.)

    3. Ariancita*

      NO! Plus, Mensa isn’t that impressive when you look at actual numbers. I bet everyone in this comment section could qualify for Mensa. :)

    4. Rachel*

      I wouldn’t list Mensa. Mostly because I don’t qualify (IQ test in 140s; needs to be close to 150 I am told), but mainly because I wouldn’t want to waste resume or cover letter space on something that didn’t showcase my achievements or what I could do for the organization. I do proudly list my college 4.0 GPA.

  8. Elizabeth West*

    I had the DISC one. But honestly, those things can change depending on your circumstances and mindset. The DISC instructor told us a story about someone who scored very introverted–he had a LOT going on in his personal life (impending babies), and then in a year his score was totally different.

    1. Jessica (the celt)*

      I have a coworker who swears by DISC, but I’ve taken it three times in a few years, and I’ve had a different one each time… I’m pretty sure that’s not “normal,” but I also didn’t buy that who you are as a child is set and equal to who you are as an adult, as I was also told. There are extenuating circumstances that definitely aren’t taken into consideration there (abuse, health changes, etc.)

  9. De Minimis*

    I think I’d be a bit hesitant on Mensa as well, although if it were something where you were demonstrating applicable skills [like leading projects, managing funds] it might be worth putting on there.

    I’ve always found it funny that “mensa” means “stupid person” in Spanish, or I guess technically it means a stupid female person.

    1. the gold digger*

      It does? I have been speaking Spanish (in Chile, Spain, Panama, Miami, and Texas) for years, and I have never heard that interpretation. Maybe it’s regional?

      I did realize years ago that calling the Lone Ranger’s sidekick “Tonto” was a pretty big insult, though.

      1. De Minimis*

        It may be…California Spanish perhaps, that’s where I heard it, from my Spanish speaking mother-in-law who was born and raised in central CA. She was always complaining about various “mensos” and “mensas.” I looked it up on Google and apparently the term is in use only in Mexico and I guess among some Mexican-Americans.

  10. Anonna*

    INTJ here. Since we’re the serial killers of the Myers-Briggs spectrum (including such standouts as Hannibal Lecter, Mr. Burns, Jigsaw, Dr. Jonathan Crane, Draco Malfoy, Stewie Griffin, and so on), I’d rather not list that on my resume.

    1. Cat*

      So in the interests of continuing my string of Harry Potter references on this thread, I’m not sure what suggests Draco would be an INTJ. Given that his first week at Hogwarts he immediately developed a little clique of which he was the leader, I’d peg him as an extrovert at the least. And I don’t know that we saw much of his reasoning otherwise to type him as an NTJ.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Eh, he only had like 2 friends. He didn’t seem to take any joy from social interactions. He could still be an I.

        1. Cat*

          He could be; we didn’t see that much of him. But from what we did see, he did seem to be the ringleader of the Slytherin gang from that year. I’m definitely not counseling that we jump to conclusions re Draco’s personality type. I just think it’s a bit much to say he’s definitively an INTJ (and then to use that as an example of “serial killer” personality type in part based on that data point).

          1. Anonna*

            Although I have to say, I don’t have a lot of faith in that chart because there is NO way Hermione is a P over a J.

              1. Anonna*

                Right? I gave a link, but it’s awaiting moderation. I would be happy to kick Malfoy off Team INTJ in the meantime.

            1. Anonymous*

              And there’s no way Dumbledore is an “E.” Maybe when he was younger, but the Dumbledore we knew spent most of his time thinking alone in his office with Fawkes!

        2. College Career Counselor*

          Exactly. Charismatic (to the weak-minded), but insular. He was not a BMAH (Big Mage at Hogwarts).

      1. Jessica (the celt)*


        I have had philosophical discussions about Snape with people who only see one side. My premise is that he is one of the most human characters (if not THE most human character) in the books. He seems devoid of emotion to some, but he is actually emotionally overcome.

        I felt a bit vindicated when I read that Alan Rickman took the role only because Rowling promised him that there was more to the character than originally met the eye. He almost turned it down, because he didn’t see any redeeming qualities, but she assured him that there was more to come in the future books.

    2. Lora*

      Haha, at my current job the director is really into personality testing (there’s a long backstory there, he really does it to CYA). When my Myers-Briggs score came back INTJ and DISC came back a strong I and middling D, suddenly the director decided he wanted to keep me at a distance. As far from the other human beings as possible.

      1. anonintheUK*

        I am also an INTJ. Since I have no people-pleasing tendencies whatsoever, I get to deal with the difficult clients. Also ,my staff have noticed that there is no point in trying to wheedle me into doing anything, and a high risk that I might not even notice the attempts.

  11. Eva*

    The Myers-Briggs Foundation cautions against using MBTI for recruitment purposes. From their guidelines:

    “It is unethical and in many cases illegal to require job applicants to take the Indicator if the results will be used to screen out applicants. The administrator should not counsel a person to, or away from, a particular career, personal relationship or activity based solely upon type information.”

    As someone who works with Myers-Briggs for a living (do check out my website if you’re at all into this stuff! ), I agree with the Myers-Briggs Foundation on this point (although I don’t know what they’re talking about when they say it’s “illegal”). I happen to believe that MBTI can be useful in the workplace for facilitating better communication and cooperation between people whose preferences clash, but in recruitment it does more harm than good IMO.

  12. De Minimis*

    At my high school they wanted everyone to take it, even the janitors, they thought it would explain any kind of personality conflict that occurred.

    1. Chinook*

      High school woudl be the perfect place to have everyoen take it because teens are not known for being the most self-aware. this type of test can really open your eyes to how you happen to be normal even if yoru normal is different from others.

  13. Clever Name*

    Please, no IQ on resumes. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m in the top 2% or so (based on standardized testing throughout my school years), but even I would think somebody was an insufferable know-it-all if they went so far as to list IQ on their resume. Seriously, most people realize pretty quickly you have high intelligence if they work with you at all closely. Besides, being really smart isn’t really terribly relevant to one’s success at the job. Showing accomplishments and the capacity to achieve on your resume is a better way to showcase your abilities.

    As for the MBTI, I certainly wouldn’t put it on a resume, but I did notice that when we all took the test at my company the vast majority of us were similar types. I work at the type of company where cultural fit is huge. In fact, the two people who had the most divergent type from the rest of us are no longer here (one by choice, the other not so much).

    1. Xay*

      As an INTJ/P (and the J/P is split right down the middle every time I have taken the test), I wouldn’t list it on my resume either. I think the test results have value, but you can’t really use them for anything unless the person is in the workplace.

    2. Anon*

      Fellow INTP here. I would also avoid putting it on a resume. People already think I’m some sort of weird mad scientist; I don’t need to give them any more evidence of it!

  14. DT*

    Most tests, DISC, Kolbe, MBTI, etc., don’t tell me anything about how successful a staff member will be. If you put it on your resume you are probably dillusional about the value that they bring. At best, they are good tools for self reflection. I would advise to leave it off the resume.

  15. Mike C.*

    IQ tests are diagnostic tests performed by professionals, not some stupid survey you take on the internet. They are used mainly to test for specific cognitive deficiencies and lose their power as the number goes higher. Furthermore, one can have a high number and have developmental issues in other areas. It’s meaningless and misleading in the hands of the layperson.

    Look, I have a “good” IQ score, and it doesn’t mean jack about my ethics, ability to work with others or productivity. Using an IQ score in that way actually harkens back to an ugly time in history where eugenics was a common practice. Ranking the value of a person by a score like this is really ugly.

    As I said earlier, IQ is the result of a diagnostic medical test. Would you put the results of a pap smear or colonoscopy on your resume? I didn’t think so.

      1. De Minimis*

        Or maybe BMI….I could actually see that happening. I recall a story about a hospital having BMI requirements for employees.

    1. CathVWXYNot?*

      My husband and I took a bunch of online IQ tests a while ago, just for fun. We were consistently 2-4 points apart (mine was always higher, ha!), but we got high scores in completely different ways: I aced the verbal parts but struggled with the spatial awareness parts, and he did the opposite. So two very similar numbers reflect two people who are a good fit for completely different jobs – I’m a scientist / writer / editor and he’s a carpenter.

    2. Mints*

      I feel like the only time the personality test could be useful is if the job has a really unusual structure where you are cut off from most people. Like scientist stationed in Alaska unusual, and the recruitment warned about this. In your cover letter, you might be able to talk about how you’re really introverted and would do well in this situation, and say the type within that context.

    3. the gold digger*

      I have a “good” IQ score, and it doesn’t mean jack about my ethics, ability to work with others or productivity….Ranking the value of a person by a score like this is really ugly.

      Exactly. It has nothing to do with one’s worth as a human being or one’s right to be alive. It is an attribute, nothing more.

      (I have pretty strong feelings about this – my husband’s father is very intelligent and disdains others who are not as bright or as well eductated as he. He might be really smart and have a PhD, but if I had to pick between being around him and my grandfather, a farmer who didn’t go past 8th grade, I would pick my grampa any day. Being smart does not make you nice.)

      1. Clever Name*

        Education =/= intelligence

        My husband’s grandfather had an 8th grade education, but had the mind of a creative engineer. Brilliant, brilliant man. Survived 3 years of imprisonment as a POW in Siberia.

        1. Bobby Digital*

          Yeah, sometimes I find it really incredible when I have to explain the lack of correlation between education and intelligence to other adults.

    4. Chinook*

      “IQ tests are diagnostic tests performed by professionals, not some stupid survey you take on the internet.”

      I agree wholeheartedly, especially because IQ tests are also tests of one’s cultural knowledge. Speaking as one who never saw an escalator until she was 12 and rarely saw building taller than 4 stories, I remember taking an IQ test that had a question about an escalator. Luckily, the teachers giving them were aware of the cultural mismatch and helped by explaining some things without giving us answers, but that pretty much set the tone for my respect of IQ scores.

      1. Ariancita*

        Yes, they are very culturally biased! It’s really a ridiculous how much emphasis people put on the outcome of that test without ever contextualizing the test, the test taker, and the result.

    5. Anonymous*

      Exactly. My IQ score means I’m good at taking IQ tests. That’s all!

      When people say, “I have a high IQ,” I get the same impression as I would if they said, “I was in gifted classes as a kid.”

  16. nonny*

    MBTI is up there with ‘80% of communication is nonverbal’ for me in the category of ‘ridiculous nonsense that is so widespread and cliche that people forget how ridiculous it is out of sheer overexposure’. Noooo oh my gosh no.

    Since you’re so smart, why not spend a few minutes reading up on the criticisms of the Myers Briggs test as a way of categorising people, especially for the process of hiring. And then think about what kind of message it sends about your understanding of MBTI and its limitations to include it on your CV.

    1. nonny*

      Also, to maybe put it in a more AAM type principle. MB is entirely based on self reporting in a survey. When my work made me take it I found it hilarious that I easily ended up bang in the middle for both spectrums, and much to the annoyance of the training dude, then refused to pick a side. I didn’t lie or exaggerate my personality at all, the four possible descriptions I ended up on the edge of all describe my personality equally accurately. And to be honest so do most other squares on that board. They’re written that way on purpose. It’s actually been shown that if you take the results out of the explanatory context (and thus out of people’s ideas about ‘oh, I’m totally an I’) most people will identify strongly with most of the possible results.

      Rantyness aside, even if you do think of it as a useful team building thing and not a load of bollocks, the fact is that you could easily take the test to show any result you want, so no possible result is CV or cover letter worthy.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Yeah, I think I was right in the middle of 3 of the 4, and I don’t remember which was the moderate outlier. I just consider myself well balanced.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      OP, this right here is why you should leave IQ off your resume. It will bring about hostile comments/thoughts like this:

      “Since you’re so smart, why not spend a few minutes reading up on…”

  17. Elle-em-en-oh-pee*

    Thank you for reposting this Alison, even if we shouldn’t put MBTI (or I Q test) results on the good ol’ resume, at least you’ve given us the excuse to dish here… Glad to find out I am not the only one who secretly wants to talk about it! I’ll settle for reading about it, though.

  18. Chloe*

    FWIW I think I”m an ENFJ or something similar … I would never put this on a resume because if you’re going for a leadership/management position, sometimes these tests are wholly representative (or supposed to point to) how you make decisions/how you lead … if you’re an INFJ and you have someone that’s the complete opposite, they might feel an instant sense of combative spirit – not how you want to start off on an interview. Furthermore, some people see I (introvert) and think “shy” – not necessarily true, as many INFJs have shown here. LIkewise, I’ve never been described as anything BUT an extrovert, but it still comes with a connotation (loud!). Basically: Let your personality shine for itself; show don’t tell, and all that jazz.

  19. Ann Furthermore*

    ISTJ here. I remember doing this in college, and while it was interesting, and pretty much on the mark (at least for me) it certainly isn’t something that defines me.

    On a related note I took a different personality test in college, focused on left brain/right brain type of stuff. My results indicated that I’m so left-brained that it could almost be considered a disability, which was hilarious because it’s so true. I have an accounting degree, and over the years I’ve morphed into being an IT geek. No creativity or intuition. At all.

    I work with someone who would be the type to put their IQ on their resume, and this is not a person you want to be like. This person is incredibly intelligent — in fact, she is one of the smartest people I have ever met — but also has a pathological need to make sure everyone knows that SHE is the smartest person in the room, on the conference call, in the meeting, whatever, and the rest of us are just idiots. Extremely frustrating.

    1. Lora*

      But not smart enough to know that the smartest thing you can do is never, never tell anybody this?

      Seriously, even if you ARE the smartest person in the room, shutup shutup shutup. Nobody likes being made to feel stupid by your preening. And if you take that attitude (and boy, are there a LOT of them in my field) everyone will just want to punch your smarmy face in.

      Including all the OTHER people with genius level IQs, who you just didn’t happen to know about. Especially the woman you had assumed was a secretary, the young man you assumed was an intern, and the guy with the funny facial hair and a Southern accent.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I know. With this particular person I’m pretty sure that some of it is a language/communication issue, as she is from another country, but it is still very aggravating. The other day I found out that she does this to our boss as well, so it’s not just me. I don’t think she intends to appear that she views herself as being superior to everyone else, but she does anyway.

  20. khilde*

    I saw other fellow ENFPs. I bet it’s because the others got distracted halfway down and never finished reading the comments. :)

  21. khilde*

    Dangit. I meant I NEVER saw any other ENFPs.They probably overlooked that small detail anyway. And trying to be *somewhat* witty fails when you have to go back and correct the comment. Eh.

      1. khilde*

        ha! Thanks! I knew there were at least a few people around here that understood me :) Plus, let me just say that after having my second child I feel like I’m losing little chunks of my brain each day. I always thought the “mommy brain” excuse was *so* stupid. But I’m kind of starting to understand the legitimacy of that concept. One kid didn’t do it to me. But with two? I can’t form sentences anymore and my typing’s gone to hell. Very strange.

      1. khilde*

        Yay! I think AAM has really toughened me up in terms of being able to objectively confront/communicate with people. I’ve alawys said that I’m either nice or bitchy. There is no in between with me. When I’m trying to be firm, it just comes across as bitchy. UNTIL! I started reading AAM and realizing how to phrase things that still honor the emotion, yet say it in an unemotional way.

  22. Lily in NYC*

    Oh dear. It’s bad enough to see a resume with “Mensa Member” on it. Adding your IQ is way worse.

  23. Hope*

    What about discussing test results that measure actual abilities, rather than personality, such as how well one notices details or well one recognizes patterns, etc?

    1. Ruffingit*

      I still vote no. I think proof of your competency in any area is better served by showing it through your accomplishments, not what some test says you can do well.

    2. Anonymous*

      Are those tests common in your field?

      I can’t think of an example where this would be true, but if you work in the field where there’s a common, respected test that almost everyone has taken, a score on that might be okay.

  24. Suz*

    I’m surprised I’m the only ESTP here. If you compare the description of an ESTP to the definition of ADHD, they’re almost identical. So will taking Ritalin turn me into an INFJ?

  25. pidgeonpenelope*

    I’m an INTJ. I’ve tested and retested and I still come up with INTJ yet the description sounds nothing like me….

    But with me being an introvert, there’s no way I’d put that on the resume. People misunderstand introverts and think we can’t be social. We can. We just like our peace and quiet too.

  26. Sissa*

    ISFJ here! It’s funny how I recognize myself in the type description!

    I actually had a chat with my manager last week about personality types, and I’m actually kind of curious if finding out everyone’s types would make cooperation easier. Our team has several folks who work fundamentally differently from everyone else, and this causes massive clashes on at least weekly basis.

    Does anyone have any experience in improving teamwork through Myers-Briggs types?

  27. Joe Strazzere*

    For me, Myers-Briggs assessments are about as trustworthy as Astrology. Perhaps fun, but not based in reality. I was appalled to find one company where I worked was excited about them, and very glad I joined after the initial assessment frenzy.

    Would you put your Astrological Sign on your resume? (Hopefully not)

  28. Anonymous*


    If you want to prove that you’re intelligent, use your accomplishments, work experience, and education to show it.

    And if you want to prove that you’re intelligent, leave the Myers-Briggs test results out of it. Falling for the Barnum Effect won’t make you look like a genius, and it won’t say anything about how good you will be at the job you apply for, either.

  29. Vicki*

    I am a great fan of the MBTI. I read everything I can about it. I’m a member of a group that has monthly talks on Type. I would love to find a job working with Type.

    And I say: No. Do not put this on your resume unless it has a particular meaning to the field you are in.

    As Alison says “Listing that you’re an “ESTJ” does give me some information about you, but it doesn’t tell me what you’ve achieved and experienced,”

    Worse, there are people out there — managers, HR people, recruiters — who think that your MBTI type provides more than hints about what you _can_ achieve. Don’t give them a reason to get the wrong impression.

  30. Tara T.*

    The MBTI is helpful when trying to decide what career to go into, what to major in at college, and at the time of life when still asking the question, “Who am I?” It does not prove anything. Interviewers are not interested in that so much as previous experience or relevant courses.

  31. John*

    If you’re applying for International professional employment and your score is high, certainly make some mention of it in your resume.
    The problem here is I think many of you are stuck in your Western equality bubbles, where any hint of intelligence is considered elitist as all must be equal.
    Above average Intelligence elsewhere in the world is a highly valued commodity and if you’re applying for teaching positions in Asia, you will be expected to provide photos and personal details.

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