Vanessa, MBTIonline Contributing Writer
There’s a lot at stake when you choose a career. The good news is you can change directions at any time – whether you’re starting fresh as a college grad or you’re shifting careers later in life. It’s never too late to pick a new path. The not-so-good news is you might get lost in a maze of career choices if you don’t know where you’re headed.
Thankfully, knowing your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality type is a great starting point.
Any personality type can excel in any career
None of us have a crystal ball that tells us whether we’ll thrive in a certain career. And it’s unethical for a company to make hiring decisions based on personality type anyway.
But the goal isn’t necessarily to find a perfect match. Because there’s no such thing. Any type can excel in any career. At some point, we all need to flex our preferences (i.e., do the opposite of what feels natural) to do certain parts of our job well.
We all have unique skills, interests, values, and needs. When you evaluate whether a job is a good fit, consider all the nuances of a particular title.
Take an accountant for example. There are so many variables. Is it an accountant position in a large corporation? That might mean you need to work alone – in a very structured way – to audit accounts or review financial records. Or is it an accounting position in an entrepreneurial environment? That might give you more face-to-face time with clients. You’ll also need to be comfortable taking some risks when making your recommendations. Same title. Different skills and preferences.
Now that those disclaimers are out of the way, let’s review some tips and career ideas for introverted personality types. Need the “extraverted” version of this post? Here you go.
ISTJ: The Responsible Realist
ISTJs usually prefer a career that lets them use objective analysis and problem-solving skills. Some strengths of this personality type include: organization, decisiveness, and a “just get it done” mindset. But there are some blind spots too. They may not tolerate even small changes well. And networking may not come naturally. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an ISTJ:
- Computer programmer
- Human resources manager
- Insurance agent
- Law enforcement
ISTJ Career Tip: Role-play interviews or meetings to practice selling your strongest points.
ISFJ: The Practical Helper
ISFJs usually prefer a career that requires attention to detail in an environment where they can help their colleagues in a practical, direct way. Strengths of this personality type include: people skills, the ability to preserve methods that work, and a knack for creating effective procedures. But their blind spots mean they might be overly influenced by what others want – and make hasty decisions as a result. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an ISFJ:
- Administrative assistant
- Career counselor
- Hospitality manager
- Social worker
ISFJ Career Tip: Allow yourself time to cool off before making a big career decision.
INFJ: The Insightful Visionary
INFJs usually prefer a career that allows them to use their well-developed intuition. This casts a wide net for jobs in medicine, science, art, and education. Some strengths of this personality type include: imagination, a strong sense of purpose, and the ability to get things organized. But they may overlook important facts about a job or task. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an INFJ:
- Bookstore owner
- Interior designer
- Research assistant
INFJ Career Tip: Dream big, but make sure your goals are specific and not too idealistic.
INTJ: The Conceptual Planner
INTJs usually prefer a career that requires logic and innovation – especially in the sciences and applied sciences. Strengths of this personality type include: conceptual design skills, an analytical mind, and long-range vision. But they might sometimes neglect important values because they’re only focused on what’s logical. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an INTJ:
- Business consultant
- Computer programmer
- Graphic designer
- Protective services personnel
- Survey researcher
INTJ Career Tip: In interviews or meetings, emphasize what contributions you can make to the organization now (not down the line).
ISTP: The Logical Pragmatist
ISTPs usually prefer a career that lets them use technical expertise to come up with tangible solutions to a problem. Some strengths of this personality type include: a willingness to take risks, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. But they may not have an action plan to actually reach their five- or ten-year goals. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an ISTP:
- First responder
- Forest services
- Freight handler
- Technical support
ISTP Career Tip: Consider long-term goals in addition to your immediate, tangible goals.
ISFP: The Versatile Supporter
ISFPs usually prefer a career that requires hands-on, practical work. Strengths of this personality type include: gentle persuasion skills, craftsmanship, and adaptability. But they sometimes get too overwhelmed by details and miss the long-term potential of a job. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an ISFP:
- Certified nursing assistant
- Grant writer
- Personal assistant
- Social worker
ISFP Career Tip: Practice your responses to hypothetical questions about your career – especially those related to your five- or ten-year goals.
INFP: The Thoughtful Idealist
INFPs usually prefer a career in the language, visual, or performing arts – or in a field where they can help people solve physical or emotional problems. Some strengths of this personality type include: creativity, people skills, and a strong sense of purpose. But they don’t always consider logical consequences when making career decisions. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an INFP:
- Graphic designer
- Marketing professional
- Museum curator
INFP Career Tip: Remember that lofty goals still require boots-on-the-ground action.
INTP: The Objective Analyst
INTPs usually prefer a career that lets them use “big picture vision.” Strengths of this personality type include: a knack for technical knowledge, an analytical mind, and excellent problem-solving skills. But they could become too laser-focused on logic and get overwhelmed by the possibilities when looking for a job. Here are some of the most popular occupations/industries for an INTP:
- Aerospace engineer
- Film/TV writer
- Financial analyst/advisor
- Political scientist
- Software developer
INTP Career Tip: When gathering info about potential jobs, prepare a short list of only the most interesting possibilities.
Not sure of your personality type, but need help choosing a career? We’ve got you covered.