ISFJ is one of 16 personality types that are reported by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a personality inventory. Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers developed the MBTI based on psychiatrist Carl Jung's theory of personality. When you know your personality type, you can use it to help you find a suitable career. Career development specialists believe that if an individual chooses a career that is a good match for his or her personality type and other factors including interests, work-related values, and aptitudes, the chance of being satisfied with it is substantially increased. Many administer the MBTI to their clients. You can also take an online version of the assessment.
Before we continue, let's take a closer look at the MBTI. If you know the theory behind it, you will better be able to understand what your ISFJ type means and how it will play a role in your career planning. Carl Jung theorized that every individual's personality type is made up of how we like to energize (introversion vs. extroversion), take in information (sensing vs. intuition), make decisions (thinking vs. feeling), and live our lives (judging vs. perceiving). Being an ISFJ means you favor Introversion [I], Sensing [S], Feeling [F], and Judging [J]. Here's an explanation of what that means.
I, S, F, and J: What Each Letter of Your Personality Type Code Means
- I: If your preference is introversion, it means your own thoughts and ideas energize you. You don't need to interact with other people to get motivated.
- S: As someone who prefers sensing, you use your five senses to process any information you receive. You are not one to look beyond what is currently right in front of you, for example, things you can see, touch, hear, smell and taste. You see the details rather than the patterns that emerge from them.
- F: Your feelings and values guide your decisions. You are sensitive to the needs of others and are reluctant to give criticism.
- J: Your preference for a judging lifestyle means you like structure. You are well-organized, and deadlines don't ruffle your feathers. You have no difficulty planning in advance to meet them.
It is important to remember these are just your preferences. Pay attention to them, but do not let them dictate your life. While you may prefer to do something or live a particular way, you can do things differently or live a different way when a situation requires it. For example, you favor introversion over extroversion, but that doesn't mean you can't perform well if you have to be part of a team. You would rather work alone, but you can work with others too.
In addition, each pair of preferences is on a scale. Your MBTI results will show where on it you fall. You may be an extreme introvert, or you may be closer to the center of the scale. In that case, your preference for introversion wouldn't be as strong.
You should also know that your preferences interact with one another, so all four letters are important. Don't get hung up on the fact that you are an introvert or prefer judging. All four preferences influence who you are. Realize, too, that your preferences may change as you go through life.
Using Your Code to Help You Make Career-Related Decisions
And now your burning question: now that you know your personality type and what it means, how can you use it to find a suitable career? Let's first look at the middle two letters, S and F.
As an "S" you are detail-oriented. You tend to be practical and pride yourself on your common sense. Occupations that involve solving concrete problems are typically a good fit for individuals who have an "S" in their personality type. However, ISFJs like using their feelings and values to guide their decision-making, as indicated by the "F." Given both these preferences, you would probably enjoy solving problems while helping people, maybe even assisting them in solving problems.
Also consider your preferences for introversion—getting energy from within—and judging—your need for structure. You would enjoy working independently, in a structured environment.
ISFJs find satisfaction when working in the following occupations:
- Administrative Services Manager
- Archivist Athletic Trainer
- Computer Support Specialist
- Dental Technician
- Electrician Funeral Director
- Home Health Aide
- Medical Secretary
- Mental Health Counselor
- Nurse (RN and LPN)
- Paralegal Pharmacist Photographer
- Physical Therapist
- Sales Representative
- School Principal
- Social Worker
- 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.