Myers Briggs Personality Type and Career Choice

This detail oriented woman is an ESFJ
••• Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty Images

You may have learned, after taking the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that your personality type is ESFJ. If you are wondering what that means—and who wouldn't be—we'll clear up all your confusion. The first thing you should know is that ESFJ is one of 16 personality types Carl Jung, a psychiatrist, identified a long time ago. The MBTI, which many career guidance professionals use to help clients make career-related decisions, is based on Jung's personality theory.

Before we delve any more deeply into what your ESFJ personality type means for you and your career, let's do a brief review of Jungian theory. According to it, there are four pairs of opposite preferences for how we energize, perceive information, make decisions, and live our lives. We prefer to energize through introversion (I) or extroversion (E, also spelled extraversion), perceive information through sensing (S) or intuition (N), make decisions by thinking (T) or feeling (F), and live our lives by judging (J) or perceiving (P).   Your four letter code, ESFJ, tells us that your preferences are Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.

ESFJ: What Does Each Letter Mean?

  • E (Extroversion): You favor extroversion which means that being around other people motivates you. You would enjoy regularly interacting with coworkers.
  • S (Sensing): You use only your five senses to take in information. It is not like you to see beyond what is right in front of you. You find the details very important.
  • F (Feeling): When you have to make a decision, you are guided by your emotions. You don't like giving criticism and are sensitive to others' needs.
  • J (Judging): You would rather work in a structured environment. You are very organized and are not intimidated by having to meet tight deadlines.

There are some important things to remember when you look at your code.

Most significant, perhaps, is that it is no better to be one personality type than another. You should also note that Jung believed that while an individual may favor one member of each pair of preferences, each of us exhibits both members of each pair. That is excellent news because it means you are flexible. For example, you may prefer extroversion, but that doesn't mean you will fail miserably whenever you have to work alone. Your preferences also interact with one another. Each aspect of your personality affects the others. Finally, don't be surprised if your preferences change over time. That could happen as you go through your life.

Using Your Code to Help You Make Career-Related Decisions

You know your personality type, and that is certainly interesting information to have, but what you really want to know is how can you use it to help with making decisions that will lead you toward a satisfying and fruitful career. Let's first see how you can use your type to help you choose an occupation. The middle two letters, S and F, are most informative for this purpose.

As an "S" [Sensing] you are practical and detail-oriented. You like solving concrete problems, and therefore, you should look for a career in which you can do this regularly.

You also enjoy helping others, as evidenced by your preference for Feeling [F]. Occupations that require sensitivity toward others would bring you satisfaction. Consider the following careers:

Administrative Services ManagerReal Estate Appraiser
Athletic CoachRegistered Nurse
CosmetologistRespiratory Therapist
Dental HygienistSales Representative
Funeral DirectorSocial Worker
Interpreter or TranslatorSpeech Pathologist
Mental Health CounselorVeterinarian
ParalegalVeterinary Technician
Physical TherapistWedding Planner

Don't forget that you should consider more than your personality type when choosing a career. You should also take your interests, aptitudes and career-related values into account.

Use the first and last letters of your type, E and J, to help you evaluate a work environment when you are deciding whether or not to accept a accept a job offer.

Given your preference for Extroversion [E], make sure your job entails regularly working alongside other people. Your preference for Judging [J] makes a structured environment ideal for you.


  • The Myers-Briggs Foundation Web Site.
  • Baron, Renee. (1998) What Type Am I?. NY: Penguin Books.
  • Page, Earle C. Looking at Type: A Description of the Preferences Reported by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
  • Tieger, Paul D., Barron, Barbara, and Tieger, Kelly. (2014) Do What You Are. NY: Hatchette Book Group.