Careers for All 16 Myers-Briggs Types: What You Should Know About the MBTI
What do Myers-Briggs types have to do with career choices? One word: discovery. The more you know about yourself, the more vocational possibilities you can uncover for your future. In fact, self-reflection is probably the best reason to learn about different personality types. You may discover personal likes and dislikes that you've buried in your subconscious or never even noticed before. By bringing your deepest preferences to light, you can make better career decisions.
At least, that's the theory. Even though the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the world's most popular personality assessment, not everyone is in agreement about the extent of its usefulness. After all, it doesn't actually measure what you're good at. Nor does it tell you whether you truly possess any specific personality traits. Instead, it indicates that you may have certain preferences when it comes to interacting with the world, gathering information, and making decisions. For example, it may reveal that you have a preference for thinking logically about every possible variable before deciding on a course of action, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have a strong ability to do so.
Still, despite its limitations, the MBTI does help many people. As a method of self-discovery, knowing your four-letter MBTI type can help you evaluate whether you might feel comfortable in certain kinds of careers or professional situations. (For instance, if your personality type is INFP , career matches probably won't include any jobs that require you to violate your personal values or that involve a crowded work setting.) And here's another way the MBTI can help: Knowing the personality types of other people in your life can give you a greater appreciation for their diverse preferences, which can lead to better cooperation and fewer misunderstandings.
So even though you shouldn't think of them as part of a definitive career test, Myers-Briggs types can have a useful place in your personal and professional development. If the MBTI helps you reflect more deeply on your likes and dislikes, then it will serve a meaningful purpose. It may even give you some clues about worthwhile career options that aren't on your radar yet.
Learn more right now by checking out the following sections:
- What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?
- Careers for each Myers-Briggs type
- Why you shouldn't take your Myers-Briggs type too seriously
- Alternatives to the MBTI
What Is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?
The MBTI instrument is a questionnaire designed to indicate your psychological type based on four pairs of contrasting preferences. It was developed by Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Together, they created the MBTI as a way to provide deeper insights about people's psychological functions. Much of the MBTI is based on concepts that were first put forward by Carl Jung, the world-famous psychiatrist.
According to the Myers-Briggs school of thought, there are 16 personalities that stem from what people prefer within four main categories of experience. The Myers-Briggs categories are 1) outer focus versus inner focus, 2) information gathering, 3) decision making, and 4) structure. Within each category, a person has a preference for just one of two options. In MBTI personality types, the letters stand for those options. So the basic idea is that your answers to the MBTI's questions reveal that you prefer either:
- Extroversion (E) or introversion (I)—Extroverted people prefer to have a lot of social interaction. They gain energy from staying busy and being in the company of many others. In contrast, introverted people prefer to spend time alone or with just a small number of close friends or loved ones. They restore their energy through quiet reflection and deeper or more intimate personal interactions.
- Sensing (S) or intuition (N)—People with a preference for sensing tend to place the most trust in what they can see, smell, hear, taste, or touch in the present moment. They prefer to gather facts and data. On the other hand, people with a preference for using their intuition often trust their hunches and look for deeper meaning behind what their senses are telling them. They prefer to look for meaningful patterns in the data, and they are often more inclined to think about the future.
- Thinking (T) or feeling (F)—Those who prefer thinking when making decisions tend to place a high value on logic and consistent reasoning. They decide things based on what they see as the hard truth. In contrast, people with a preference for feeling generally want to consider the needs of everyone involved in a particular decision or situation. They are more likely to empathize with other people in an effort to achieve harmonious outcomes.
- Judging (J) or perceiving (P)—People who prefer a judging lifestyle tend to have an outer life that looks fairly structured and routine. They may come across as orderly, disciplined, and less open to new information. On the other hand, people with a preference for a perceiving lifestyle often appear to be spontaneous and adaptable. Other people may see them as being more open to new ideas and experiences.
All 16 of the Myers-Briggs personality types are unique combinations of the psychological preferences above. Each type is known by its four-letter combination. For example, if you prefer introversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving, then your personality type is INFP. Or if your preferences lean the opposite way for each of the four categories, then your type is ESTJ. The first letter in each Myers-Briggs type represents the most conscious psychological preference. The fourth letter represents the least conscious preference. (The letters are always listed in the order of the four categories above.)
According to U.S. estimates, the rarest MBTI personality type is INFJ. The most common is ISFJ.1 But there is no best type of personality. All Myers-Briggs types have equal value. So you should never use Myers-Briggs test results to limit yourself or another person. There are no right or wrong results.
Many career counselors, therapists, life coaches, and professional consultants have their clients complete the MBTI as part of the services they offer. In fact, you'll probably gain the most benefit from the MBTI if it's administered by a professional who is certified by the Myers & Briggs Foundation. That way, you can receive personalized, in-depth feedback about your Myers-Briggs type and individual preferences.
You can take the MBTI assessment online, or you can take it in person or over the phone by finding an MBTI practitioner near you. If you're just looking for a quick and free assessment that uses the MBTI elements, check out 16 Personalities. Just be aware that these versions are generally shorter and less accurate than the full MBTI assessment.
Careers for Each Myers-Briggs Type
For some people, the link between personality and career choice is pretty clear. But for many of us, that link tends to be fairly blurry. After all, our personalities may vary according to our particular circumstances. For example, in one situation, we may prefer to be outgoing. In another, we may prefer to withdraw. So, although it can help you discover new things about yourself, the MBTI shouldn't be used as a stand-alone career selector or career-path test. Since the MBTI instrument is based on an either/or model, the results can sometimes be limiting or misleading. (In reality, many of us have fluid personalities, not static ones.)
With that in mind, exploring each of the Myers-Briggs types can still be enlightening. Even for someone with a fluid personality, job choices are often tied to the most dominant preferences. Your likes and dislikes have a real impact on your personal and professional values, ambitions, needs, and interests. By knowing and understanding those preferences, you may improve your odds of choosing a suitable career.
Just remember that for every personality type, the Myers-Briggs letters mean that a person's preferences merely lean in one direction or the other for each of the four categories. Those preferences may be strong, or they may be slight. That's why almost any career may be suitable for many different personality types. So don't let your Myers-Briggs type impose artificial limits on your aspirations.
The careers listed in each section below are just examples. They don't represent the full spectrum of possible jobs for each MBTI type. Plus, just because a particular career is listed under one personality type doesn't mean it couldn't also be listed under other types.
Each Myers-Briggs type accounts for only a small percentage of the U.S. population. In order from most common to least common, the 16 different personality types are:1
- ISFJ—13.8 percent
- ESFJ—12.3 percent
- ISTJ—11.6 percent
- ISFP—8.8 percent
- ESTJ—8.7 percent
- ESFP—8.5 percent
- ENFP—8.1 percent
- ISTP—5.4 percent
- INFP—4.4 percent
- ESTP—4.3 percent
- INTP—3.3 percent
- ENTP—3.2 percent
- ENFJ—2.5 percent
- INTJ—2.1 percent
- ENTJ—1.8 percent
- INFJ—1.5 percent
Unless otherwise indicated, median salary numbers are based on May 2017 estimates, rounded to the nearest thousand.2
Introversion / Sensing / Feeling / Judging
ISFJ is the most common MBTI type.1 It's indicative of someone who likes to protect or nurture other people. If you have this personality type, you may prefer to adhere to order and tradition while steadfastly taking care of your commitments in a friendly but quiet manner. You also may strive to make people feel important or respected by remembering details about them that others forget or overlook. Good examples of ISFJ jobs include:
- Dental hygienist—$74K
- Elementary school teacher—$57K
- Funeral director—$52K
- Surgical technologist—$46K
Extroversion / Sensing / Feeling / Judging
This personality type is very similar to the one above. The difference is that people with this type tend to prefer more social interaction. In fact, they like fostering harmonious relationships with a lot of different people while trying to pay close attention to others' needs and provide for them. They also like to demonstrate their loyal and caring nature by handling responsibilities in a timely, accurate, and cooperative manner. ESFJ jobs include examples like:
- Registered nurse—$70K
- Corporate trainer—$60K
- Sales representative (for services)—$53K
- Child and family social worker—$44K
Introversion / Sensing / Thinking / Judging
The ISTJ personality is linked with a fondness for doing quiet, detail-oriented work behind the scenes. If you have this type, you may like taking on practical jobs that require you to be loyal, reliable, and organized. And you may prefer taking a comprehensive and realistic approach to gathering information and making decisions. A few examples of ISTJ jobs include:
Introversion / Sensing / Feeling / Perceiving
A preference for creativity and low-key adventure is one of the hallmarks of the ISFP personality. People with this Myers-Briggs type like to synthesize different ideas and explore new possibilities. But they prefer to work alone or with just a few people at a time. They also aim for kindness and flexibility when interacting with other people, preferring to provide help and avoid conflict. Good ISFP jobs include examples like:
- Fashion designer—$67K
- Theatrical makeup artist—$59K
- Music producer—$50K3
Extroversion / Sensing / Thinking / Judging
An inclination toward leadership is strongly associated with the ESTJ type. In fact, people with this kind of personality like to make quick, decisive decisions in order to get things accomplished. They also like to set standards, enforce rules, manage people, and implement plans in a realistic and efficient manner. Possible ESTJ jobs include:
- Business operations manager—$100K
- Healthcare manager—$98K
- Project manager—$72K3
- Executive chef—$59K3
Extroversion / Sensing / Feeling / Perceiving
The ESFP personality is associated with a fondness for motivating or entertaining others. Many people with this MBTI type also like to enrich the lives of others through their friendly enthusiasm, fun spontaneity, and love of material luxuries. And they often aim to be highly adaptable and optimistic when encountering new people or situations. Examples of potential ESFP jobs include:
Extroversion / Intuition / Feeling / Perceiving
Outward enthusiasm and creativity are linked with this Myers-Briggs type. People with this personality often like to be spontaneous while finding ways to motivate or support other people. They also prefer to look for patterns and new possibilities before quickly and confidently moving forward. If you have an ENFP personality, careers worth exploring include examples like:
- Marketing manager—$132K
- College art instructor—$67K
- Public relations specialist—$59K
- Fitness trainer—$39K
- Wedding coordinator—$35K3
Introversion / Sensing / Thinking / Perceiving
Those with the ISTP personality prefer to do things with the mindset of a craftsman. That means they like to stay calm and attentive to the job at hand, even when they are under pressure or have to act quickly to solve problems. They also enjoy mastering various kinds of tools, efficiently organizing information, and figuring out how things work and why things happen. ISTP jobs include examples such as:
- Airline pilot—$137K
- Criminal investigator—$80K
- Aircraft mechanic—$61K
- Auto mechanic—$40K
Introversion / Intuition / Feeling / Perceiving
Are you someone who only likes to do meaningful jobs? For INFP personalities, working behind the scenes for a good cause is often a top preference. Those with this type of personality like to contribute their talents to something they love doing, as long as it aligns with their idealism and personal values. That's why the typical INFP careers list includes humanitarian jobs. But many people with this MBTI type also enjoy using their creativity. Yet, they often dislike too much structure, politics, or bureaucracy. They also tend to dislike tasks that require them to be assertive or decisive. So if your type is INFP, careers to avoid may include jobs in areas like sales, banking, law enforcement, and business management. Instead, you may want to explore jobs like:
- Social scientist, for example:
- Research psychologist—$98K
- Community services manager—$64K
- Investigative journalist—$62K3
- Graphic designer—$49K
Extroversion / Sensing / Thinking / Perceiving
Those with the ESTP personality type like to persuade other people and jump into action to solve urgent problems. They prefer being active while in the company of others, and they like to live in the moment—even when there's an element of risk. In addition, they strive to be flexible yet pragmatic when coming up with rapid solutions. Worthwhile ESTP jobs include examples such as:
Introversion / Intuition / Thinking / Perceiving
Do you like to think critically about the world around you and use your imagination to make connections between things that, at first, seem unrelated? People with the INTP personality enjoy the constant pursuit of new knowledge. And they like to find logical ways of explaining the things that fascinate them. But they tend to dislike too much social interaction, preferring instead to focus on inventing new solutions or analyzing interesting problems and information. That's why examples of INTP jobs include:
- Natural scientist, for example:
- Wildlife biologist—$62K
- Financial analyst—$84K
- Computer programmer—$82K
- Medical laboratory technician—$52K4
- Private investigator—$51K
Extroversion / Intuition / Thinking / Perceiving
The ENTP personality is associated with a preference for being creative, acting independently, and sharing useful or fascinating insights. If you have this Myers-Briggs type, you may enjoy taking on challenges that require vision, strategic thinking, intellectual curiosity, and inventiveness. And you may like speaking out, debating other people, and trying many different things. Examples of ENTP jobs that fit the bill include:
- Theoretical physicist—$119K
- Political scientist—$115K
- Art director—$93K
- Mobile app developer—$72K3
- Entrepreneur—Typically $68K, but it depends on your success and how much you pay yourself5
Extroversion / Intuition / Feeling / Judging
Do you enjoy providing leadership, encouragement, and inspiration to other people? If your MBTI type is ENFJ, you probably like to stay attuned to the needs and feelings of others so that you can help them achieve their full potential. That's why the following examples are often considered good ENFJ jobs:
- Human resources manager—$110K
- Film director—$60K3
- Marriage or family therapist—$49K
- Clergy member—$47K
- Early childhood education director—$47K
Introversion / Intuition / Thinking / Judging
People with INTJ personalities like to think strategically and use their imaginations to develop long-range master plans. They prefer to take on roles that provide the opportunity to come up with original ideas and implement them to a high standard. They also like to spot patterns and trends so that they can capitalize on their intelligence. Good examples of INTJ jobs include:
- Systems software developer—$108K
- Information security analyst—$96K
- Personal financial advisor—$91K
- Market research analyst—$63K
Extroversion / Intuition / Thinking / Judging
The ENTJ personality is all about taking charge. If you have this Myers-Briggs type, you probably like to set goals, stay organized and well-informed, and lead people toward achieving a particular vision. You also may prefer to take quick, decisive action whenever you see problems that need to be addressed. Here are some examples of ENTJ jobs:
- Chief executive—$183K
- Management consultant—$85K3
- Politician—From nothing to more than $200,000 depending on the particular office you hold6
- Restaurant manager—$52K
- Hotel manager—$52K
Introversion / Intuition / Feeling / Judging
INFJ is the rarest of the 16 personality types.1 But it's no less important than any of the others. After all, suitable jobs for INFJ personalities generally involve some kind of advocacy. In fact, for people with the INFJ personality, careers that offer the chance to work for the common good—such as by guiding other people or championing their rights—tend to be the most appealing. Basically, an INFJ career is usually infused with meaning. That's why good examples of INFJ jobs include:
- Organizational psychologist—$87K
- Clinical psychologist—$75K
- Human resources specialist—$60K
- Addictions counselor—$43K4
- Victim advocate—$35K
Why You Shouldn't Take Your Myers-Briggs Type Too Seriously
The MBTI instrument is very popular, especially within corporate America: Almost 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies use it in some way with their existing employees.7 But popularity does not equal truth. Here's the reality: The MBTI has a lot of critics who say that the instrument lacks scientific validity and that Myers-Briggs types are just artificial stereotypes, not reliable indicators of people's true personalities or occupational suitability.8, 9, 10
One reason the MBTI is considered by many to be unreliable is because the same person can complete the same questionnaire on different days and get different results. For example, the MBTI might indicate that a person has an INFP personality one day, then a month later it might indicate an INTJ personality, and a few weeks after that, an INFJ personality. In this example, the person may have fairly balanced preferences when it comes to thinking (T) versus feeling (F) and judging (J) versus perceiving (P). But the MBTI only indicates a preference for one side or the other in each of those categories, even if the preference is slight.
That's like saying a person is either tall or short based on whether he or she is over or under 5 foot 10 inches (an arbitrary dividing line). Would it really make sense to say that a person who is 5 foot 9-and-a-half inches is short but someone who is 5 foot 10-and-a-half inches is tall? It would be silly and super subjective since it ignores the fact that someone can be average height—neither tall nor short. But the Myers-Briggs types don't leave room for that kind of nuance.
Personality traits and preferences are continuous spectrums. Most people tend to lie closer to the middle of those spectrums than to the extreme edges. But that can fluctuate depending on the particular moment or situation. Plus, the MBTI questionnaire relies on you to be totally honest about who you are right now rather than who you would like to be. But it's human nature to want to answer in a way that will make you feel better about yourself, even if it isn't the truth. So it's easy to fake your answers in order to get the kind of result you want—the personality you want to been seen to have.
Many critics of the MBTI also point out that it's too easy for people to see themselves in the flattering and generalized descriptions of Myers-Briggs types. In that way, using the MBTI can be similar to finding meaning in a fortune cookie or in your astrological sign. It's entertaining, but it probably doesn't precisely reflect your unique traits, preferences, or potential.
That's why, when it comes to Myers-Briggs, "career test" is a misnomer. The MBTI instrument may not effectively measure or predict anything of real practical value. Used as a fun jumping off point for reflecting about who you are and what you might enjoy doing, it can serve a limited purpose. But just remember this: There isn't any hard evidence to show that certain Myers-Briggs types are better suited to particular occupations than others.
People and careers are too complex to fit into neat boxes. Don't limit yourself.
Alternatives to the MBTI
Your process of self-discovery shouldn't include just one kind of personality assessment. After all, the MBTI might be popular, but it isn't necessarily accurate or nuanced. That's why many career counselors recommend using other assessments such as those based on the Holland Codes or the five-factor model (FFM).
Holland personality type theory is based on the idea that the occupation you choose is likely an expression of your most dominant traits. The six types of personality traits of the Holland Codes are 1) realistic, 2) investigative, 3) artistic, 4) social, 5) enterprising, and 6) conventional. Each general trait or personality type corresponds to different strengths and preferences. For example, the conventional personality type is associated with a preference for routine, structure, organization, paying attention to detail, and following clear rules, plans, and expectations. According to the Holland Codes theory, most people are a combination of at least two personality types.
You can take a free Holland Codes test online. Or you can read more about the personality types of the Holland Codes and see specific job examples by checking out our article on career and technical education.
For an even more nuanced and scientifically valid personality assessment, you can take a Big Five test. Otherwise known as the OCEAN or five-factor model, this type of assessment is well-supported by psychological researchers. Rather than giving you an absolute personality type, the Big Five lets you know how much you display of the following general traits:
- Openness—How curious, inventive, or open to new experiences are you? Do you enjoy using your imagination, going on adventures, admiring art, and straying from routine?
- Conscientiousness—How reliable are you when it comes to organizing and following through on plans? Are you efficient and self-disciplined?
- Extroversion—How sociable and outgoing are you? Do you like to talk a lot or actively seek opportunities to be in the company of other people?
- Agreeableness—How cooperative are you? Do you place trust in others and show them compassion?
- Neuroticism—How emotionally stable are you? Do you get nervous or succumb to other troublesome emotions easily?
By knowing your unique personality makeup and reflecting on your traits in a nuanced way, you can more effectively weigh the potential pros and cons of different career options.
Take a variety of personality assessments and spend time reflecting on what you learn about yourself. Then, take action to put your future success in motion. All kinds of careers are worth training for, regardless of your personality type. And moving forward is what will enable you to discover what you're really capable of achieving. So explore nearby training options right now by putting your zip code into the school finder below!
1 The Myers & Briggs Foundation, "How Frequent Is My Type," website last visited on October 18, 2018.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections, website last visited on October 18, 2018.
3 PayScale, website last visited on October 18, 2018.
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on October 18, 2018.
5 Entrepreneur, "Will Entrepreneurship Make You Rich? A Realistic Perspective.," website last visited on October 18, 2018.
6 ThoughtCo, "Politician Salaries in the United States," website last visited on October 18, 2018.
7 Forbes, "The Mysterious Popularity Of The Meaningless Myers-Briggs (MBTI)," website last visited on October 18, 2018.
8 David J. Pittenger, Measuring the MBTI...And Coming Up Short, website last visited on October 18, 2018.
9 Vox, "Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless," website last visited on October 18, 2018.
10 Psychology Today, "Goodbye to MBTI, the Fad That Won't Die," website last visited on October 18, 2018.