ESFP is one of 16 types the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assigns to individuals after they take this personality inventory. The four letters stand for Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving and represent an individual's preferences for how he or she energizes, perceives information, makes decisions, and lives his or her life.
Career development practitioners often administer the MBTI to clients who are trying to find a suitable career or make other related decisions. They believe that for someone to be satisfied with their occupation, it must be a good fit for his or her personality type, among other traits.
Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers based the MBTI on the 16 unique personality types psychiatrist Carl Jung identified. As an ENFP, you are different from someone who is one of the other types—not better, not worse, just different. Think of each of your four preferences as an ingredient in a recipe. It's not only that each one is different from the other three, the way they combine and interact with one another makes each type unique. Because of the differences between them, particular careers and work environments are more suitable for individuals with some personality types than they are for others.
ESF, and P: What Does It All Mean?
Let's now dissect your MBTI type to try to understand each of your four preferences:
- E (Extroversion): When you read the word extroversion (sometimes spelled extraversion), friendly and outgoing come to mind. While that may be true of many who prefer extroversion, what it means, in this context, is that you get energy from external forces, for example, other people. Those who prefer introversion instead of extroversion have more internal motivations.
- S (Sensing): A preference for sensing means you tend to use only your five senses to decode any information you receive. You don't make assumptions beyond what you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
- F (Feeling): Your decision-making is guided by your feelings and values. You are sensitive to the needs of other people and consider how your actions will affect them. Your beliefs are fundamental to your choices.
- P (Perceiving): Flexibility and spontaneity are hallmark traits of someone with a preference for a perceiving lifestyle. You don't like deadlines and prefer not to have to plan to meet them. You are, however, skilled at dealing with change.
When you think about your preferences, keep the following in mind: Most people do not entirely favor one preference in each pair over the other. While you may prefer to do things a certain way, you can adapt and use the opposite preference, for example, introversion vs. extroversion, when in a situation that requires it. Your preferences may change over time. They are not set for life. Finally, as mentioned before, each preference in your type doesn't operate in isolation. It is affected by the other three.
Making Decisions: What Careers and Work Environments Are a Good Fit for Your ESFP Personality Type?
In addition to using your personality type to help choose a career, it is imperative to consider your values, interests, and aptitudes too. Conduct a thorough self assessment to get all the information needed to make an educated decision.
While every letter in your personality type is significant, when it comes to choosing a career, focus primarily on the middle two letters, "S" and "F." Occupations that involve dealing with concrete things will appeal to your preference for sensing, but don't forget that your values and feelings guide your decision-making. Here are some occupations to consider:
- Athletic Coach
- Dental Hygienist
- Licensed Practical Nurse Reporter
- Social Worker
- Mental Health Counselor
- Producer Dancer News Anchor
- Camera Operator
- Customer Service Representative
- Retail Salesperson
- Chef/Head Cook
- Environmental Scientist
When you are deciding whether to accept a job offer, take your preferences for Extroversion( E) and Perceiving (P) into account. They will play a significant role in your success in a particular work environment. You are motivated by external forces, as your preference for Extroversion (E) indicates. Flexibility and spontaneity are important to you. You thrive when you have to adapt to change.
- 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.