Career Tips for ESFJ Personality Types (Extraverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging).
Choosing a career is a momentous decision, whether making a change after years of experience or just finishing school and taking the first foray into the professional world. By simply making the decision to make a change, the hardest step has already been appropriated. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and the number of opportunities available. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) can help guide the exploration process. This assessment can trace its origins to Carl Jung’s theory of psychological personality types classifying individuals into one of 16 dichotomies based on various personal and identity-related characteristics. For example, the MBTI® considers whether an individual is more introverted or extraverted, if they tend to make decisions based on emotion and intuition versus logic and reasoning, and other dimensions that illuminate how the world is viewed. In a professional context, the Myers-Briggs® Test assists with the analysis of discovering values that may hold importance during a career search, including enjoyment with the current position, motivators, and more. The analysis can then be used to reference a career inventory that recommends occupations based on MBTI® results. For example, ESFJ personality types tend to enjoy careers that involve nurturing or mentoring, such as teaching, medicine, and even gardening. The value of this assessment is in its ability to simplify large trends into smaller patterns. When applying the MBTI® to a job search, seekers should also consider their skill sets, including abilities possessed, as well as those needing development. These considerations can help discover the kind of career, coworkers, and workplace environment that will assist with fulfillment and satisfaction longevity.
ESFJ Personality Types (Extraverted -Sensing-Feeling-Judging) and Career Choice.
Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs used Carl Jung’s psychological theories to develop the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) to assist with meaningful personal and professional growth. This tool provides useful information regarding strengths and weaknesses to help identify best-fit careers, taking into consideration a person’s unique personality type. ESFJ personality types are warm, cooperative individuals. They thrive in harmonious environments driven by strong interpersonal relationships and are highly dedicated to forming and maintaining those relationships. They are keenly sensitive to how others feel and often go out of their way to provide small pick-me-ups that make daily life extraordinary, from simple compliments, like acknowledging another person’s contribution to a project or even just their appearance, to small gestures like giving a friend or coworker a birthday card. These and other small acts of kindness make ESFJs memorable and significant contributors to the workplace. They also tend to take the lead in-office social events, such as annual holiday celebrations and other traditions like retirement parties or baby showers.
These characteristics also emerge when ESFJs have the opportunity to work with other people to achieve goals. They enjoy organizational positions, such as project managing, where they get to guide initiatives to launch. During this process, they tend to prefer following procedures and timelines. From their perspective, these procedures are like professional “traditions” that have established their place in the office for a reason, whether it is because they are efficient or simply because they leave little chance for error, even if they seem monotonous and tedious at the time. Their interpersonal skills and compassion also come into play we they organize groups, as they are often able to sense when others are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and they can take steps to alleviate those feelings before they escalate. ESFJs value security and stability and do their best to create such environments for others to enjoy. To them, there are few things more important than setting and meeting expectations. This may be one manifestation of the importance they place on having integrity and a strong character. Along the same lines, ESFJs also take loyalty and honesty very seriously, even when it comes to small tasks such as returning a call or meeting a coworker for lunch. This characteristic makes them valuable to employers since employers know they can count on ESFJs to follow through on requests and meet deadlines once they are committed.
ESFJs sensitivity can, at times, be a detriment. Others may perceive them as having “thin skin,” that is, being overly affected by negative feedback, perceived lack of approval, or even indifference from a friend, co-worker, or supervisor. A lack of explicit approval and positive reinforcement can leave ESFJs feeling under-appreciated, unnoticed, and neglected. Additionally, negative attention can be just as, or more so, damaging. Situations that are filled with conflict or tension often make ESFJs feel uncomfortable and stressed, which may be why they take so much time and effort to prevent them in the first place. ESFJs should also be aware of where their shortcomings may be and how they can improve them. For example, when they are stressed, they may make decisions hastily before fully understanding a situation. They may even press on to implementation and use their influence to impose their decisions on others around them without asking for input or others’ opinions. The opposite is also a problem—that is, being too quick to accept the opinions of others without thinking them through. Being aware of these possible challenges is the first step to successfully navigating a professional environment.
The most indisputable gravitation in ESFJ career preferences is their proclivity for careers that allow them to help, support and nurture others. From nursing to childcare and from teaching to cosmetology, every career in some way involves helping others realize their potential and become the best version of themselves. Each of these careers also involves high levels of organization, purpose, and accuracy. The most popular occupational choices for ESFJ personality types who have reported happiness in their career are Pharmacy/Nurses/Dental Aide or Assistant, Human Resources, Medical Record Technician, Medical Secretary, Landscaper/Gardener, Vocational Education Teacher, Cosmetology, Childcare, Hotel, Motel, or Resort Clerk, Kindergarten Teacher, Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner, Personal or Home Care Aide, Radiologic Technologist, Receptionist or Information Clerk, Registered Nurse, Secretary, Teacher Assistant, and Teller. All of these careers share another common thread—they all involve nurturing and helping others (or plants) grow in different ways.
ESFJ Personality Types Goal Setting and Gathering Information.
There are four components of the career exploration process, with the first being goal setting, followed by gathering information, then networking, and finally, decision making. In accordance with the MBTI® type, each will approach these steps differently based on their natural personality function. ESFJ personality types tend to be highly organized and detail-oriented and often begin their career search by setting direct goals which produce quantifiable results. Their goals will generally be of a traditional nature, based on salary, benefits, and personal values, and they will have a plan to achieve their aspirations. They may set a deadline for the completion of the MBTI® assessment or when to start reviewing possible careers of interest. This personality type should develop a long-term plan in order to put previous short-term career goals in a larger context. When creating a goal timeline, an ESFJ may want to start with an end date and work backward so that they may be able to take advantage of unpredicted circumstances. This will also allow for a sense of what milestones need to be presented visually. This personality type should also allow time for research of occupations they hadn’t previously considered, allowing an ESFJ to find additional careers within their already prospective industries.
Once goals have been established, the next step is to begin research. An ESFJ will innately reach out to people who are occupying careers in their sought field. For example, if interested in nursing, this personality type commonly will reach out to nursing schools or current hospitals and speak to nurses to inquire more about the job itself and what it takes to be successful in that position. Some also enter shadowing programs, where an insider’s perspective of a nurse’s day-to-day life can be viewed firsthand. These information-gathering techniques are a great opportunity for an ESFJ to ask candid questions that may not be appropriate in an interview. For example, what is the worst part of the job, the employer, or the environment? What would current employees change if they could? Typically, an ESFJ will gather minimal information, just enough to make a decision, and in doing so, can neglect facts regarding the long-term eventuality. This personality type should create a list of questions required to make an informed decision in order to stay on task during this phase of the process.
ESFJ Personality Types and Networking.
ESFJs often have a jump start on the networking phase by utilizing a portion of their campaign during the gathering information stage. Once the information has been gathered, an ESFJ will start reaching out to potential employers to set up interviews but should prepare for the meetings in advance. An ESFJ should practice clearly communicating their experience, their desires for a new position, and how they can collaborate with a new organization with close friends and family. This personality type will have little trouble coming across as a team player. They should discuss professional contributions but also mention how interpersonal relations can significantly contribute to the organization as well. The key for them is “to answer if asked” – ESFJs have a tendency to change the subject instead of focusing on the question at hand. Taking the time to pause and give an interviewer time to explain the position thoroughly will allow for more information to be gathered and increase the probability of an informed decision. This personality type should practice and prepare for both task-oriented and theoretical questions so that they may answer efficiently and conversationally. Remembering that the interviewer may be of a dissimilar personality dichotomy, then ESFJ can also be useful. For example, ESFJ personality types should highlight their ability to carry out specific tasks and produce tangible results when speaking to a Thinking personality type interviewer and not confound an Intuitive personality type interviewer with too many specifics. Finding information related to how different personalities react is a helpful tool when interviewing and during pre-interview network endeavors and can lead to a multitude of offers. Emphasis on people skills when discussing strengths during this interview process can be the tipping point for a prospective employer when a choice must be made between two candidates.
ESFJ Personality Types and Decision-Making.
As it comes time to make a final decision, an ESFJ innately will think carefully about what will make them happy and fulfilled. They often will consider the future benefits of the decision and how it will change their life, but more importantly, their relationships with others. Their process is defined by their personal values. In doing so, this personality type has a tendency to overemphasize the wants of others. They often will make hasty decisions without taking possible repercussions into consideration. For example, An ESFJ may accept a position that pays less than another offer simply because it fills their main objective to spend more time at home. In doing so, the ESFJ may need to find a second job to fill financial obligations, which in turn keeps them from their original objective to be at home. In order to avoid this innate behavior, this personality type should methodically consider each option with the creation of a “pros and cons” chart. This visual representation should include personal values as well as logical “uncomfortable” facts. ESFJs should also take a period of rest and reflection before making an important career decision. This entire process can benefit from an individual taking the MBTI® and using results as a starting point for focusing a search and finding a career with like-minded individuals in an occupation that creates personal happiness and even permanence.
Learn More About the MBTI ESFJ Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ESFJ Personality Type by examining various personality and career-based subjects:
- How the MBTI ESFJ Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI ESFJ Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI ESFJ Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI ESFJ Type relates to Leadership
- How the MBTI ESFJ Type relates to Decision Making
Click on the link below to read more about different MBTI Personality Types
Introduction to Type (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Careers (Allen L. Hammer, 2007, CPP Inc.)