Updated 27 May 2020
The INFP personality is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs personality test, a multiple-choice assessment that is used by employers to evaluate character strengths and weaknesses.
From a recruitment point of view, the Myers-Briggs test can provide insight into how you work, learn and develop, and what skills and personality traits you possess that would make you a good fit for the organisation.
However, as an individual, the Myers-Briggs test can be invaluable in helping you gain an understanding of your personality type, what drives and motivates you, and what career paths you are most suited to.
This article is aimed specifically at those who have an INFP personality and discusses various character traits as they relate to employment, as well as listing the 10 best career matches for INFP personalities.
The INFP personality accounts for roughly 4% of the population. The acronym used to name the personality is based around four key traits; these describe how an individual behaves, responds and learns.
For the INFP personality these are:
INFPs are imaginative idealists who are energised by time alone. They prefer working with ideas and concepts rather than facts and details.
They focus on possibilities and potential, seeking truth and meaning in themselves and the world around them.
INFPs are spontaneous and flexible, excited by interesting ideas and do not thrive within planned and organised, practical or fact-driven situations.
If you have been identified as an INFP personality, you will likely be creative, sensitive and compassionate. As an introverted personality, you will enjoy time alone; however, you work well when collaborating with others who share your values.
All Myers-Briggs personality types exhibit strengths and weaknesses that influence their personal and professional lives. Understanding what these are can help an individual to develop – as well as identify situations that will bring stress.
Because an INFP is not driven by money or status, they are great team players who thrive when given the opportunity for creative problem-solving.
Although they enjoy working autonomously, the INFP personality can enjoy collaborating with others who share their ideals.
The INFP brings unity to a team situation by being supportive and listening openly. They are great communicators and can find creative solutions that maintain harmony and co-operation.
To work at their best in a team, the INFP personality needs to feel that their colleagues are similarly committed and share the same values. A team member that is action-oriented will alienate them, and they don’t enjoy working in an atmosphere that values competition.
INFPs are often offbeat and artistic, they work best in careers that allow them the freedom to be themselves and work towards an idealistic or innovative vision.
Because INFPs are deeply idealistic, they motivate their subordinates through encouragement, displaying a quiet determination that can empower and inspire their teams to achieve. They are supportive and creative leaders who listen to and nurture their employees.
However, they are sometimes reluctant to give criticism, delaying difficult decisions to avoid conflict, and can get emotional when under stress.
If they have a team under them that is cooperative and respectful of each other, the INFP leader can get great results.
INFPs love a career that has an inherent sense of moral purpose. They loathe bureaucratic tedium and work that requires what they consider to be unnecessary adherence to rules and procedures.
The INFP is creative and individual. Pursuing artistic endeavours will speak to their preference to work autonomously, as well as allowing them to achieve project-based meaningful work. This might include animation, illustration or graphic design.
The INFP personality is sometimes nicknamed ‘The Healer’. Medical roles where empathy and compassion is an inherent part of the work would be most suited to an INFP.
They are non-judgemental and great listeners, so helping those with mental health issues is a great way to play to these strengths.
Sharing knowledge to seek truth and meaning comes easily to an INFP. In addition, small class sizes of university-level students won't be too much for their introverted personalities to deal with.
As students are more likely to share the same core values, the INFP will be able to work well with them, encouraging and supporting them to get the desired results.
The INFP’s integrity and listening skills make them a great candidate for a career in psychology. In fact, a large proportion of psychologists have INFP personalities.
Psychology appeals to the INFP’s preference for creative problem-solving as well as their desire to help others, so it is an excellent career choice.
Although sometimes an INFP can be overly sensitive, the drive to help others and achieve idealistic goals make them very suited to becoming a social worker.
Natural compassion and empathy are skills needed to be good at the role and, as the INFP is driven by idealism as opposed to money or status, a role that is defined by moral purpose – such as this one – is perfect.
Working in a library can be very fulfilling for this personality, as not only will they get to help others one-to-one, solve problems and immerse themselves in the books, they will usually work autonomously, perfect for the introverted part of their personality.
Working with the youngest people in the community can be a challenge for most personalities, but the INFP is caring and empathetic, sensitive and considerate – so a role as a preschool teacher would be very suitable.
INFPs are always looking to help others achieve their goals and working with very young children can be very rewarding. Autonomy and creativity are strengths in the preschool profession, finding new ways to encourage learning and instil a wonder for education.
Compassion, listening and creative problem-solving are skills that are in demand for a career in special education. Work like this can be very rewarding and is a good option for INFPs that want to pursue a career with a deeper meaning.
Working in small groups or on a one-to-one basis with those who need extra help and support in their education means that the INFP will be helping others to achieve in a career that will support their personal values.
The dream of writing a novel is one that appeals to the INFP, but while being an author is a great career choice, other writing jobs can be just as fulfilling.
Creating written content for businesses, writing editorials and articles for newspapers and magazines, screenwriting and scriptwriting are all facets of a career that is both project-based and satisfying.
Creativity and imagination are needed for this type of work and, as it can be challenging, it often needs an unconventional approach, one that the INFP is perfectly suited for.
Immersion in meaningful projects that allow the INFP to use their compassion and imagination will always be a great match.
Fundraising for charities or other good causes will appeal to the INFP’s idealism and morality, while allowing them the freedom to build one-to-one relationships with donors and to work autonomously.
Any work that puts an INFP in competition with colleagues, encourages conflict or has a financial goal would not be suitable for this personality.
INFPs are not driven by money or status, so a career that could violate their core values will be uncomfortable for them.
Strict adherence to rules, bureaucracy and routine are all things that the INFP needs to avoid to be fulfilled in their career.
Military service can require compassion and sensitivity, but the INFP is often described as offbeat and unconventional, and their desire to use their imagination to solve problems and ‘think outside the box’ is not a quality that the military usually look for.
Whilst the INFP’s morality and tendency to fight for a cause might point them towards a career in law, their inherent integrity would cause problems when they are asked to fight for causes that they don’t personally agree with.
Lawyers are also expected to interact with many different types of people and this wouldn’t come naturally to an INFP.
As a personality, the INFP is imaginative, creative and artistic. INFPs thrive in an environment where there is an opportunity for creative problem-solving, collaboration with like-minded individuals and meaningful, value-driven work to be completed.
They are encouraging, self-reflective and spiritual individuals who have strong morals and values. They respect authenticity and react strongly if this is violated, or if they are expected to compete with their peers.
In the workplace, the INFP is encouraging and a great communicator, listening openly and valuing the opinions of others. They avoid conflict and will often delay making difficult decisions or giving criticism.
INFPs are supportive of their colleagues and work to maintain harmony and cooperation in a team environment by finding creative solutions and compromises.
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