Although it might seem like common knowledge that your personality and career are obviously linked – that wasn’t the trending belief for a long time in the United States. Due to wars, the Great Depression, and societal pressures, many believed that work was an obligatory endeavor necessary to keep food on the table and contribute to a bright future for offspring. Careers were far from being held as an avenue for individual expression.
However, psychologists over time began to develop models and theories that educated the public on how career and personality are inextricably linked. Holland’s Career Codes, Roe’s Personality Development Theory, and most notably, Carl Jung’s personality theory that was later developed into the Myers Briggs Typology Indicator test have all been popular modalities for individuals to sort through the various careers available and see which one fits their temperament the best.
Just a warning: once you do know your type, you are in severe danger of becoming addicted. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
ESTJ – “THE BOSS”
The name says it all. ESTJ’s need to be in charge of their work environment. They do best when they can manage, coordinate, delegate, and drive other people to achieve goals. They prefer structure – and lots of it – and don’t mind stepping in to create organization in their work place. ESTJ’s work best with other people – alone time only drains their energy and doesn’t inspire them to be better. They like taking on responsibility and are great decision makers. Practicality is also a must – they need to see real impact, and they’d prefer to see it yesterday.
Ideal Careers: Finance, Business Management, Supervisors, Military Officers, Leadership Positions, CEO
Stay away from: Lots of alone time, little control, subjective fields (arts, humanities, social).
ESTP – “THE NEGOTIATOR”
Known for their practical yet flexible ways, ESTP’s need a variety of stimulus to keep them going. They prefer objects to ideas, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty to get a job done. They are ruthless negotiators, and can change tactics on a whim to get the job done. Their adaptive, high energy, and flexible nature allows them to play many different roles with people in order to achieve their goal. They need action and flexibility in order to have their full attention. No deadlines. Little structure. Lots of action.
Ideal Careers: Talent Agent, Mechanic, General Contractor, Marketing, Sales, Athlete, Litigator
Stay away from: Cubicles, strict deadlines, routine, the arts.
ESFJ – “THE GUARDIAN”
This personality type excels in caring for others. They do best when they can guide, teach, and help others around them because their best selves. Like the ESTJ, the ESFJ’s do best when they are in charge, but instead of a knack for strategy and logistics, the Guardians possess a certain warmth and personable quality. This essence makes them extremely favorable with others, and allows them to be in charge of many at a time. ESFJ’s prefer to see practical impact with their work, and like to see measurable improvement from others. They thrive with structure, group settings, predictability, and clear expectations.
Ideal Careers: Teacher, Social Worker, Health Care Administrator, Hospitality, Leadership Positions
Stay away from: Working from home, blurred guidelines/expectations, lack of impact for others
ESFP – “THE TRAVELER”
Novelty is key for the ESFP Traveler. They need new people, new experiences, new tasks, new everything. Routine is a bore, and the ESFP will do everything they can to stay away from it. ESFP’s are great at getting in the action and putting their hands to work. They have an affinity for others and for animals, and enjoy being in practical fields. They can adjust very easily to new situations, and prefer to operate without a clear agenda. True to their name, they enjoy bouncing from place to place, taking it all in, and transforming their experiences into something tangible and relatable for those around them.
Ideal Careers: Travel guides, Performers, Artists, Animal care, Teacher, Fitness Trainer, Consultant
Stay away from: Data entry, admin work, lengthy academics, routine.
ENTJ “THE DIRECTOR”
Clocking in as the highest paid personality type, the ENTJ knows how to intersect creativity with business. Similar to the ESTJ, the ENTJ does best when they are in charge (and can help innovate). They prefer structure and thrive in organization, but need to feel connected to whatever endeavor they are chasing. The ENTJ likes to “drink the kool-aid” and goes all in whenever possible. In an ideal situation, the ENTJ can combine their creative instincts and good taste with their ability to lead others and make sound business decisions. Without the creativity element, the ENTJ’s can feel suffocated and directionless.
Ideal Careers: Entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer, Producer/Director, Organization Builder, Sales
Stay away from: Lack of creativity, individual work, little room for innovation or development
ENTP “THE INNOVATOR”
Almost like a jack of all trades, the ENTP is going to be happiest when they can use their talents to create solutions, develop innovating strategy, and offer insight for better results. Like the ENTJ, they need to be creatively attached to whichever career they choose. Project development is always going to be a home run for these Innovators, because their mental muscles can be fully utilized. Like the ESTP, the Innovators are very adaptable and can excel in a range of different careers. And, because of their extroverted nature, they excel better as a team member or a leader.
Ideal Careers: Corporate Trainer, HR, Marketing, Sales, Consultant, Community Organizer
Stay away from: “busy work,” lack of influence in strategy formulation, working from home.
ENFJ “THE MUSE”
Altruism is the name of the game with the every lovable Muse. ENFJ’s feel a deep need to help others, create impact, and to do so in a creative and energizing fashion. People are their language – the way they feel, what inspires them, and how to tap into inner talents. The ENFJ highlights others’ talents and fosters creativity and inspiration, hence their name. They like leading others in a pursuit of creativity, and prefer structure to organize their days. But, without meaning and impact behind their careers, the ENFJ lacks the satisfaction of a hard day’s work.
Ideal Careers: Counselor, Teacher, Social Worker, Public Relations, HR, Real Estate Agent
Stay away from: Lack of impact for helping others, lack of creativity, unstructured work environment
ENFP “THE ROMANTIC”
With more thirst for opportunity and more talent than they can handle, the ENFP’s are drawn in so many different directions it’s hard to pick just one. The ENFP’s love the spotlight, are incredibly creative, and sustain their high energy levels through being surrounded by others. Their attention span is low – meaning they need a fast paced work environment with constant new challenges for the ENFP’s to face. They also find a need to help others – but in a more spontaneous fashion. The challenge will be to hold onto the ENFP’s attention, so they need a wide range of duties to stay put.
Ideal Careers: Performers/Actors, Entrepreneurs, Counselor, Writer, Teacher, Advertising, PR, HR.
Stay away from: Authority, structure, busy work, little room for growth
ISTJ “THE ENFORCER”
Reliable, practical, hard working and loyal, the ISFJ’s value long and stable careers. Due to their respect of tradition, ISTJ’s tend to find themselves drawn to well established fields. They flourish in routine, and do best when they can control exactly how their day will unfold. They are self sufficient and hard working and do not need any team members to motivate them. And once an ISTJ makes a decision to see something through – they do so with perseverance. Needless to say, employers LOVE them.
Ideal Careers: Accountant, Auditor, Lawyer, Surgeon, Economist, Police/Military Officer, Stockbroker
Stay away from: Instability, unpredictability, subjectivity, and large teams.
ISTP “THE ENGINEER”
…Otherwise known as Curious George. The ISTP is constantly curious about how things work, how to offer practical solutions, and what’s next in the day. They thrive on unpredictability, but still remain practical in their endeavors. They learn best “hands on” and bore easily with abstract theory. They need freedom to wonder and explore – or else they will feel stifled. Their introverted nature gives them the ability to concentrate, which comes in handy when needing to solve problems. Their talents vary all over – but the ISTP will do best without the confinements of routine, structure, and authority. Which, is why many ISTP’s don’t enjoy school. No worries, it’s normal!
Ideal Career: Police/Detective, Computer Programmers, Engineer, Mechanic, Carpenter, Pilot, Athlete
Stay away from: Strict hours or rules, little spontaneity, mindless busy work
ISFJ “THE PHILANTHROPIST”
The ISFJ’s beautifully combine two amazing skills together – people & organization. They are in tune with others’ wants and needs, and have rather fabulous gift at being able to organize systems, operations and products in order to fit people’s needs. As you can see, this is going to allow the Philanthropist to do well in a variety of different careers – although they do tend to gravitate towards one that value stability. As long as the ISFJ can stay within their practical world and see a visible way to create impact, they’re happy. Service is their jam, and their job should honor that.
Ideal Careers: Nurse, Designers, Veteranarian, Dentist, Decorators, Child Care, Social Work, Doctor
Stay away from: Unmeasurable work, disarray, harsh criticism, lack of service
ISFP “THE ARTIST”
More than just a job, the ISFP searches for more of an overall calling. They like to use their hands and connect with the world in order to find purpose. Creative freedom without confines is their ideal scenario – leaving them to stray away from the traditional corporate world. The ISFP’s live in the present and prefer to have a colorful environment in which to grow. Structure is mundane and organization is limiting. The Artists are free spirits and need to experience new surroundings in order to feel fulfilled. Planning ahead isn’t quite their thing, so the independent contractor relationship tends to appeal to their spontaneous eye. If they can create beauty to share with the world, then they will truly have found their calling.
Ideal Career: Artist, Photographer, Cosmetologist, Designer, Massage Therapist, Musician, Teacher
Stay away from: Abstract ideas, deadlines, long term commitment, routine
INTJ “THE ICONOCLAST”
Fiercely independent and original, the Iconoclast is known for breaking down incredibly difficult and abstract theories and converting them into realistic solutions and strategies. They prefer working alone and strongly values autonomy,usually so that they can have the appropriate amount of space to be creative with their original problem solving. The Iconoclast is analytical in nature and values structure in their work. Busy tasks are not their jam, and they normally try to find short cuts to work around it. Authority is also on their bad side – but in order to execute their creative ideas, The Iconoclast typically needs permission, which can become frustrating. Networking and small talk really are not their favorite, and because of this, they can feel alone at times.
Ideal Career: Scientist, Military, Lawyer, Strategist, Computer Programmer, Medical and Technology fields
Stay away from: Micro managers, busy work, zero tangible results
INTP “THE PROFESSOR”
The Professor thrives on being unique and original – which is perfect considering they only make up 3% of the population. The Professor is extremely independent, abstract, eccentric, and nonconformist – which means the suit and tie gig probably isn’t going to pique their interest. Logic is their language, and the INFP loves to analyze abstract ideas and philosophize over various theories and proofs all day every day. The Professor loves to innovate, and has been the source of many scientific discoveries throughout the years. The INTP has an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, and their introversion leads them to do research independently. Competition just does not motivate them. And, neither do practical solutions – but abstract projects can hold their attention for hours.
Ideal Career: University Professor, Technical Writer, Engineer, Scientist, Lawyer, Consultant
Stay away from: Non project based work, lack of theory and logic, competition
INFJ “THE PROPHET”
The Prophet is a rare breed – making up less than one percent of the population – but their impact makes up for their small numbers. They are passionate, creative, and insightful, and uses their idealistic and optimistic nature to create concrete steps to help impact the lives and of others. They tap into their compassion and strong will to help others help themselves, and feels that their life should have meaning and purpose. Without this personal connection to others and to their work, The Prophet can feel lost.
Ideal Career: Screenwriter, Blogger, Counselor, Life coach, Spiritual Guide, Healthcare, Clergy
Stay away from: Busy work, little connection to work or purpose, high conflict
INFP “THE POET”
Out of all the personality types, Poets tends to have the hardest time finding a job they love. But once they do, they NAIL it. The Poet finds herself caught between rejecting the idea of long schooling, but lusting after careers that require additional training. So, they typically does best when school and work are linked inextricably to a core value of theirs. They prefers the written word over all else, and many young Poets dream of becoming accomplished authors. Lucky for them, the Internet has opened up many methods to connect with others through writing. Otherwise they would be resigned to taking an entry level sales job or the equivalent, which is actually their worst nightmare.
Ideal Career: Author, Counselor, Musician, Teacher, Life Coach, Religious Work
Stay away from: Arbitrary education, little flexibility, sales, lack of purpose or meaning