Updated 27 May 2020
As a commonly used personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) characterises an individual as one of 16 personality types. This article will focus on what the MBTI classifies as the INFJ personality.
A personality test can offer valuable insights into a person’s character, particularly concerning how they operate and interact in the workplace. As such, many employers use them as part of their recruitment process.
For those that have been identified as an INFJ personality, the following offers guidance on some of the best INFJ career matches, as well as discussing how INFJ character traits translate in the workplace.
The INFJ personality type is made up of the following characteristics:
When combined, these traits result in personalities that are caring, thoughtful and creative.
Each of the 16 personalities of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has a dominant cognitive function that shapes its character. For INFJs, this function is introverted intuition, meaning they think deeply, are insightful and geared to follow their emotional instincts.
This dominant function is supported by the auxiliary function of extroverted feeling. This means that INFJs have a high level of emotional intelligence and are tuned in to the feelings of those around them. While this allows them to form strong human connections, the introverted aspect of their personality means they also value privacy and alone time.
INFJs are also known for their altruism. They put great thought into the meaning of things and have an innate desire to improve the world around them for the benefit of others. They have high moral standards and stick firmly by their beliefs.
INFJ personality types are also strong-willed and, when committed to a cause, will take assertive action to achieve a desired result.
Those most commonly associated with the INFJ personality type are as follows:
As an introverted personality type, INFJs are most comfortable in a quiet working environment that offers them the opportunity to focus on their inner thoughts.
They are also private individuals that prefer to work independently or in small groups with people that share their values.
Their philanthropic nature means that the best INFJ career matches are those that provide a sense of purpose and the chance to implement positive change. INFJs have strong values and work most effectively in roles that align with their own beliefs.
They are also highly organised individuals that enjoy taking decisive action based on thoughtful planning – and find fulfilment in seeing their ideas turned into reality.
When working as part of a team, INFJs often play a supporting role, preferring not to be the centre of attention. Their emotional sensitivities make them highly perceptive, so they are good at seeing where talents lie and work to encourage participation from all.
INFJs also make diplomatic team members. They are mindful of the views of all those involved and work to build a shared vision based on collaboration.
As they are uncomfortable with confrontation, teams with competing personalities are not a good match for the INFJ, but they play a valuable role when working in a supportive group.
INFJs are motivational leaders. Their character traits lend themselves to a supportive, rather than authoritarian, management style. They tend to gain respect through their work ethic, values and commitment, while nurturing the talent of others.
INFJs excel when managing a team that is focused on a shared goal. However, their idealistic visions can sometimes lead to impractical expectations, placing unnecessary strain on their direct reports.
The best INFJ careers are those that provide a sense of purpose and allow this caring personality type to contribute towards a humanistic or environmental cause. That said, the INFJ personality can also thrive in a creative profession.
This is perhaps the most obvious INFJ career match, particularly since this personality type is often referred to as ‘the counsellor’.
INFJs are well suited to this profession due to their ability to form personal connections and their empathetic nature. They are good listeners and their insightfulness gives them a deep level of understanding when it comes to human emotions.
The role of counsellor also appeals to their desire to improve the lives of others.
As far as INFJ jobs go, the teaching profession is a complicated one. While this personality type is nurturing and motivational, introverted INFJs may feel uncomfortable working with large groups of students.
They are, however, well suited to working one-on-one with those who need additional support. This aspect of teaching allows the INFJ personality type to combine their caring nature with their creative intelligence, finding ways to deliver accessible learning to those with disability.
As a personality type motivated by positive change, environmental science can be one of the most rewarding INFJ career matches.
Thoughtful planning and creative problem-solving skills make INFJs a great match for this profession. They would find satisfaction in the intellectual challenge of the role, making a valuable contribution to the protection of both the environment and human wellbeing.
Roles in HR require strong character judgement and a commitment to employee welfare. Since INFJ personality types are both perceptive and caring, they are a good match for this line of work.
HR professionals stand up for workers' rights and help to improve conditions of employment: responsibilities that would appeal to the INFJs ethical values.
INFJs are organised, resourceful individuals who are drawn to peaceful working environments. As such, the role of librarian is one of the INFJ jobs best suited to those that closely identify with these aspects of their personality.
INFJs are also deep thinkers that would find value in the studious environment of a library setting. In addition, libraries often play a pivotal role in supporting local communities, speaking to the caring and giving nature of the INFJ personality.
The INFJ personality type is known for being intelligent and articulate. When this is combined with their ability to foster emotional connections, it makes the role of writer one of the most suitable creative INFJ career matches.
Unlike INTJs, who are best suited to technical writing, the INFJ personality lends itself more to fiction, or any form of writing designed to evoke feelings in the reader. As writing is a solitary activity, it also appeals to their introverted nature.
Helping people identify and achieve their life goals is another of the INFJ career matches that plays to their emotional strengths.
Working as a life coach enables INFJ personality types to encourage others to reach their full potential and fulfils their need to work towards a future goal.
Coaching one-on-one also allows INFJs to partake in the meaningful conversations from which they take great satisfaction.
INFJs are strongly motivated by turning their inner thoughts into an end product. Working as an artist allows an INFJ to produce physical interpretations of their ideas.
Again, this profession offers the solitary working conditions most INFJs crave, whilst utilising their creative intelligence. In addition, art generally involves a display of emotion and, since they struggle to verbally express their feelings, this is one of the few INFJ career matches that makes use of an inferred weakness.
Since INFJs are passionate about improving the lives of others, there’s possibly no better career path than the charity sector.
As charitable organisations operate across a multitude of areas, INFJs can pursue a career supporting a cause of their choice, an appealing option for a personality type that works best when focused on something they are truly invested in.
An INFJ is most suited to working within a business that shares their values and beliefs, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by founding a company of their own.
By opting for the life of an entrepreneur, an INFJ can focus their full attention on achieving their ideals. They can also make good use of their emotional intelligence by motivating their employees to achieve their full potential.
The downside here is that many INFJs are sensitive to criticism and may struggle if and when their business model is challenged. That said, this is one of the INFJ career matches most suited to those that have improved on this aspect of their personality.
Since INFJ personality types find the most fulfilment in meaningful careers that affect change, any industry solely focused on financial gain should be avoided. INFJs should also steer clear of any role that requires them to compromise on their moral values.
With that in mind, here are three INFJ jobs to avoid:
Unless it relates to a cause they are invested in, INFJs are generally uninspired by financial issues. The nature of the industry, which sees employees spending substantial time dealing with figures and data, goes against their desire to actively work towards a greater purpose.
In addition, the best INTJ careers are those that involve creativity and innovation. This personality type would find the routine structure of a career in finance mundane and unrewarding.
INFJ personality types are not suited for careers that involve constant interaction with individuals from all walks of life.
Customer service also involves providing solutions to what INFJs would view as relatively insignificant problems. They would find little satisfaction in this line of work and would quickly become jaded by their career.
Certain aspects of this personality type would seem fitting for a political career. INFJs are passionate, articulate and often dedicate themselves to a cause.
However, a good politician needs to be resilient to criticism, comfortable with media attention and confident in speaking to large audiences, all of which are unnatural to INFJ personalities.
Politics can also involve the manipulation of human emotions and the ability to compromise on ideals. Again, this goes against the grain of the INFJ's moral compass.
INFJs are complex individuals. They have a high level of emotional intelligence, yet struggle to deal with their own feelings. They have an intrinsic desire to help others, but often neglect their own needs in the process.
Also, they are open-minded and inclusive, yet tend to stick rigidly by their own beliefs.
That said, they are creative, caring and passionate. As one of the rarer Myers-Briggs personality types, they bring many valuable skills to the workplace and, when committed to a cause, will give their all to achieve their goals.
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