When searching for your target career, it is often necessary to think about your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. One way to do this is to consider your primary area of intelligence. Howard Gardner, Harvard University professor, developed the theory of multiple intelligences nearly forty years ago. However, many people still do not know the theory well. Gardner’s theory proposes that rather than typical IQ tests, we have up to nine areas of intelligence. These areas of intelligence are often thought of as talents or skills. However, consider that people who are good at one thing may struggle with another. They are no less valuable than anyone else. Here are a few careers that fit the intelligences and ways that multiple intelligences can be used in career counseling.
This type of intelligence often manifests itself in an interest in language and literature. Linguistic people can understand language and words more than others. These people are often English teachers, authors, editors, broadcast journalists, translators, politicians, and others. Some of the linguistic people may also choose to work in other parts of the world where they can learn new languages and continue using English skills. Teaching abroad, government contractors abroad, and business executives around the world are often linguistically intelligent.
As you may imagine, these people have a propensity for math. These are the people who seem like human calculators. You can ask them a math question, and they have it answered before you can type it into the calculator. They also tend to think linearly. They want things to make sense logically. Network engineers, accountants, scientists, and analysts are examples of careers that may interest someone who is logically/ mathematically intelligent.
Like the above category, you can imagine that these are the musicians and songwriters of the world. Sometimes, songwriters are linguistically and musically inclined. Some jobs that you may not have considered in for this area, though, are speech pathologists and audiologists. They are often good with language but can hear the changes in voice tone and inflection.
The spatial intelligence often expresses itself through the ability to see space and time differently. These are often the architects, artists, and designers creating breathtaking models and art. Drivers, engineers, and photographers may seem to have little in common, but they often see the space or surroundings with more detail than the rest of us.
Interpersonal skills can be enhanced with instruction, but some people seem to have an intuitive ability to understand other people’s needs, emotions, and interactions. These people are often more empathetic because they are in tune with others. These are the social workers, teachers, coaches, and corporate leaders among us.
People with interpersonal intelligence are often more likely to understand the personal feelings people have. While they are not the empaths, they understand that people’s internal workings are essential to their growth. Writers can sometimes fall into this category as well. Counselors, criminologists, and life coaches are often very good at interpersonal aspects of life.
Rather than human nature, these people are often more in tune with the natural surroundings. They are the biologists, zookeepers, and farmers that develop new ways to interact with nature. Animal trainers, ecologists, and veterinarians use their natural senses to enhance the world around us.
Bodily/Kinesthetic people are often the athletes we see on television, but they are much more than that. Mechanics, PE Teachers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and construction workers are often more intelligent in this area. They know how they must move to stay safe, fit into small spaces, or help others achieve their physical goals. Mechanics and construction workers may seem like odd choices here, but they often have to understand the movement of themselves and the objects around them.
The most controversial area of intelligence is existential. Gardner has mentioned that he is not sure that it should be added. However, these people are much more likely to understand the universe and our existence. The people who may fall into this category often become pastors, yoga gurus, and philosophers. They are the great thinkers and the calming souls that we encounter.
First, it is essential to note that you will not encounter any area of intelligence alone. There may be some strong aptitudes for some areas and not others. For example, if you are high in linguistic and intrapersonal intelligences, you might choose to become a librarian or author. You will spend much of your time around books, words, and language. There are many tests available all over the web. Some of the tests can even help you determine your best choices for future careers. You may even choose to take a few tests because there may be similarities in certain areas. You will often only have one or two that are “high” and a few moderate or low. Choose careers from your high areas as often as you can. If you have two high areas, you might even choose to find a career that crosses both. Farmers are often naturalists and kinesthetic. If these are high areas for you, maybe you consider a career in agriculture.
Using Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory will not provide you with every answer you want from life. However, it can help you begin to focus on careers and college majors. Take the time, however, to explore related majors or classes. You may determine that a career as a museum curator is much more fulfilling than a librarian for your personality. Likewise, being a forensic accountant might be better for you than a statistician. You have to determine your personal interests within your intelligence. Not all writers write non-fiction. Likewise, fiction writers may write a variety of genres. You do not have to determine the rest of your life today, but you can take steps to determine what is best for your future. Remember, you can change careers if you find that the one you have is not working. This tool is only one of many that will help you find your place in this world.