A 14-year study of thousands of Americans in various careers shows that different Myers-Biggs types have different preferences and skills relating to the jobs they take. When the data were analyzed at the end of the 14 years, researchers found that people of various Myers-Briggs categories most often held the following jobs listed below.
Career Distribution by Myers-Briggs Type
ISTJ: Administrators in schools, industry, and health care, dentists, police and detectives, auditors and
ISFJ: Nurses, clerical supervisors, preschool teachers, librarians, health technicians
INFJ: Education consultants, clergy, physicians, media specialists, teachers (English, art, drama)
INTJ: Lawyers, scientists, computer systems analysts, chemical engineers, university teachers
ISTP: Farmers, mechanics and repairers, electrical technicians, engineers, dental hygienists
ISFP: Storekeepers and stock clerks, nurses, dental assistants, bookkeepers, mechanics and repairers
INFP: Psychiatrists and psychologists, writers, artists, and editors, teachers, social workers, musicians and composers
INTP: Writers, artists and entertainers, computer programmers, social scientists
ESTP: Marketing personnel, police and detectives, managers and administrators, retail salespeople, auditors
ESFP: child care workers, receptionists, salespeople, religious workers, teachers (preschool)
ENFP: Rehabilitation counselors, teachers (art and drama), writers, artists, entertainers, psychologists, clergy
ENTP: Photographers, marketing personnel, salespeople, journalists, computer systems analysts
ESTJ: Teachers, school administrators, surgeons, factory and site supervisors, lawyers
ESFJ: Medical secretaries, clergy, nurses, home economists, hairdressers and cosmetologists
ENFJ: Clergy, teachers, actors and entertainers, writers and artists, consultants
ENTJ: Lawyers, managers, mortgage brokers, administrators (computer systems and education), scientists
The study data do not indicate which careers are best for certain types. The information simply reflects what jobs people were holding at the time the study was in progress. It serves mainly to provide helpful information about the demands of each career. When evaluating potential careers, it’s best to consider how your preferences relate to the demands of certain professions. Every career uses some of each of the eight preferences.
Public contact vs working alone: Introversion/Extraversion
Jobs that involve mainly working with others are better for Extraverts, especially if they involve selling, persuading, and motivating. While Introverts are often capable of doing these things, too, they may find themselves drained by the constant interaction with others.
Hands-on activity vs. abstract speculation: Sensing/Intuition
A hands-on profession appealing to Sensing types is one where “doing” and “bottom line” are the main goals, as in accounting, trial law, and civil engineering. Jobs with short-term, measurable objectives are more attractive to them. In contrast, jobs that require foresight and planning are better suited to Intuitives. Examples are architectural engineering, teaching law (professors), and financial planning.
Objective vs. people-oriented decisions: (Thinking/Feeling)
Thinking jobs are attractive to those concerned mainly with logic and objectivity. They don’t want to be embroiled in personal relationships or human welfare decisions. Careers in the Thinking category include stockbrokers, high-tech research, and military positions. Feelers are attracted to careers involving interpersonal dynamics, such as the clergy, counselors, teachers, and nurses, among others.
Structured demands vs. flexible innovation: (Judging/Perceiving)
Judging types do best in careers that require scheduling and established procedures—everything from bus driving to orthopedic surgery. Jobs that are more open-ended, requiring flexibility and ability to adjust, include journalism, strategic planning and entrepreneurial endeavors.
It’s a Personal Decision
When you consider your own type, such as ISFP, the key is not to choose a career that theoretically belongs on a list, but rather to consider the various facets of your type and how they relate to the job possibilities. A bus driver who travels a short downtown route every day is different from a bus driver transporting senior citizens through the city and acting as their tour guide.
The goal is to find a career that fits your preferences rather than force yourself into a job that theoretically suits your type. The better the personal fit, the less job stress and the more satisfaction you’ll experience in the long run. If you have an opportunity to practice law you might find that the job in question involves representing low-income clients, about whom you feel personal concern. if you’re an INFP you may be tempted to rule out the possibility because the career is not on the master list. Yet the job may be a perfect fit for your type, with its tendency toward compassion and flexibility.