Around age three or four, most of us were pressured, for the first time, to formulate a response to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Of course, kindergarten prepared us with a wide range of responses. From firefighter to banker to astronaut to president, we often found ourselves a little misled as to which careers we’d actually enjoy in twenty or thirty years. And some of us, twenty or thirty years later, are still equally as confused about what we’d like to do for work.
Luckily, our personality types can help us out here. By understanding our cognitive processes, our behavioral preferences and our most pervasive personality traits, we’re able to narrow down the ever-daunting job hunt to a few key careers that might interest us. Here’s which professions you may want to look into based on your Myers-Briggs personality type.
INFJ: You should work for a nonprofit or NGO.
NF personalities are known for favoring meaningful work over high-paying work, and this prospect resonates particularly strongly with the principled INFJ type, who often struggles to find a workplace that matches up with their personal values. INFJs gravitate toward charities, nonprofits and non-government organizations in high volumes. They need to know that their work is making a positive impact on the world and that the company they’re reporting to isn’t interested in exploiting the less fortunate.
INFP: You should work as a writer, producer or creative.
INFPs are at their best when they’re sharing their creative gifts with the world. These types often find themselves drawn to careers in writing, filmmaking or storytelling. They’re happiest in any field that allows them to connect with others on a meaningful level. If they can stay behind the scenes and incorporate their imaginative vision into the process, that’s even better.
ENFP: You should work as a writer, freelancer or entrepreneur.
ENFP personalities are the second-most likely type to start a business or choose self-employment—perhaps because these ambitious types deeply resent being managed. ENFPs thrive when they’re fighting to share their creative vision with the world. They are often drawn to fields that allow them to express themselves through writing or public speaking and that keep their hands in many different pots. So long as they maintain a sense of freedom and creative autonomy, the ENFP is likely to stay happy with their work.
ENFJ: You should work as a counselor, teacher or public relations agent.
ENFJs are passionate about helping the people around them in a meaningful way. Their natural people skills make them a perfect fit for careers in counseling, education and public relations. These types can manage emotional crises, connect easily with almost anyone, and inspire others to take control of their lives in a genuine and positive way. Any career that allows ENFJs to help the people around them to reach their full potential is bound to be a good fit for this type.
ESFJ: You should work in nursing, education or administration.
ESFJs are naturals at providing practical support for the people around them. Their strict, no-nonsense work ethics combined with their compassionate and caring demeanors make them shine in the fields of healthcare, education and management or administration. These selfless types are happiest when they’re providing for the people around them in a concrete and meaningful way. Their people skills also help them thrive in management positions—so long as they’re working with a team of committed and respectful individuals!
ISFJ: You should work in health care, education or social work.
ISFJs are ceaselessly practical, analytical and supportive. They thrive in careers that allow them to use those skills to make a difference in the lives of those around them. These types are shoo-ins for careers in education, counseling and nursing or health care—where they can directly apply the skills they’ve gained to better the lives of the people in their community.
ESFP: You should work in entertainment, social work or education.
ESFPs are people-people through and through. They’re likely to thrive in any career that allows them to help, entertain or enrich the lives of the people around them. These types work best in fast-paced careers that allow them to never have the same day twice. For this reason, many of them are drawn to freelance or entrepreneurial work, careers in the entertainment industry, or people-focused jobs (like social work or counseling) that present them with an ongoing series of challenges.
ISFP: You should work in fashion, art or architecture.
The keen observational skills of the ISFP are second to absolutely none. These types thrive in careers that play upon their aesthetic awareness and allow them to design the world around them to their liking. Many of the world’s most talented architects, photographers, videographers and fashion designers likely shared a preference for introversion, sensing, feeling and perceiving. These types make the world a more passionate and artistic place.
ENTP: You should work as an entrepreneur, consultant or freelancer.
Of all the personality types, ENTPs are the most likely to start their own business or be self-employed. These types thrive when they are working autonomously to bring their big ideas to fruition—whatever they might be! These types also thrive in consultant positions, which allow them to solve a wide range of problems in a creative and intellectual manner. As long as the ENTP has the autonomy to control their own career and enough variety to keep things interesting, they’re likely to remain highly invested in their line of work.
INTP: You should work as a researcher, computer programmer or software developer.
INTPs are at their creative best when they’re able to hole themselves up to work on new projects that capture their interest. Often, that means delving deeply into research on a niche topic. These types are shoo-ins for careers in software development, academic research or entrepreneurship. Their ability to both deeply understand any topic as well as invent innovative new solutions to problems makes them invaluable workers in just about any forward-thinking field.
ENTJ: You should work as a manager, analyst or consultant.
ENTJs are at their best when they’re considering long-range solutions to complex problems and sharing those solutions with others. These types are fits for careers in politics, high-level management, consultation and analysis. They are able to convey their concerns and potential solutions in a direct and impactful manner, making them an invaluable member to any team.
INTJ: You should work as a researcher, analyst or professor.
INTJs are natural analysts. They take in everything through a critical lens and thrive on forming strategic solutions to combat future problems. These types are well-suited for careers in research, development, analysis and teaching. As long as they are constantly being presented with new opportunities to learn, develop and problem-solve in a meaningful way, the INTJ is likely to remain satisfied with their career.
ESTP: You should work in engineering, medicine or technology.
ESTPs are known for being highly adaptable, quick on their feet, and excellent at analyzing complex systems. For these reasons, they are great fits in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and technology. Their ability to understand, apply and adapt complex systems in a straightforward manner makes them highly adept at just about any position that requires them to react quickly to physical upsets.
ISTP: You should work in technology, engineering or mechanics.
When it comes to understanding, altering and developing systems of any sort, the ISTP’s abilities can’t be beat. These incredibly logical types are naturals at developing, manipulating and fixing just about anything in their environment. They excel in the fields of technology, engineering, medicine, architecture, mechanics, or whatever else captures their interest!
ESTJ: You should work as a manager, analyst or agent.
ESTJs are incredibly practical, incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly effective when it comes to achieving their goals. These down-to-earth types possess the ability to excel in just about any field, but their skills are best put to use in positions where they need to manage, oversee or persuade the people around them. These types have the gift of the gab, but they’re also ceaselessly organized, making them perfect for just about any managerial, sales or consulting role.
ISTJ: You should work in government, military or banking.
ISTJs function best when they are contributing to an organization that is impacting their community or nation in a meaningful way. These types crave highly structured environments, where there is no ambiguity as to what’s expected of them and their work is both valued and respected. These hard-working types are ideal for government or military jobs, as well as positions in finance, analysis and health care.
Heidi Priebe is a personality psychology writer who focuses primarily on the Jung-Myers model of psychological type. She is the author of five books, including The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. Follow her on Facebook here or argue with her on Twitter here.