Career Tips for ESFP Personality Types (Extraverted-Sensing-Feeling- Perceiving)
An advantageous technique to begin the career exploration process is by applying the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). This powerful tool can trace its roots to Carl Jung’s theory of psychological personality types. The Myers-Briggs® Test classifies individuals into 16 categories by considering many different factors such as, socializing enjoyment, how decisions are made, what activities are pleasurable, and more. Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs used Carl Jung’s psychological theories to develop the MBTI® to assist others with meaningful personal and professional growth. The MBTI® can provide valuable insights to guide an individual through a search for a new career, focusing on personality preferences. There are five components of the career exploration process, the first being occupation selection, followed by goal setting, gathering information, networking, and finally decision making. Each personality dichotomy will have a different approach to these steps based on their specific functions: Extraversion versus Introversion, Sensing versus Intuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving.
ESFP Personality Types (Extraverted -Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving) and Career Choice.
ESFPs are outgoing, friendly people who love life and the people they share it with. They are known for being spontaneous and are often viewed as being free spirits, who dislike being constrained in any way. This personality type tends to avoid restrictive relationships and workplaces with strict rules, procedures, and dress codes. Instead, they enjoy the flexibility of being able to take advantage of new opportunities as they come along. They even prefer to keep their schedules flexible so they can adapt quickly and easily to changing circumstances. For example, if new information becomes available regarding a project an ESFP is working on, they appreciate the ability to explore implications quickly, without being obligated with administrative or bureaucratic regulations. They potentially have the strength to negotiate in order to find universal agreement.
ESFP personality types often take joy in the natural world and enjoy exploring new places with people they are close to. This love of exploration and socialization also extends to the workplace. They thrive in collaborative working environments, where their creativity is appreciated and where they have the ability to experiment with several possibilities and approaches with others who are as excited about and dedicated to their work as they are. Professional settings, group brainstorming sessions, team building activities, and hands-on workshops, are often excellent ways for ESFPs to engage with their coworkers and develop new skills. They are also very realistic, practical people, who build a foundation by finding solutions to implement. They tend to value immediate feedback and instant gratification and may lose their motivation if they do not feel that their contributions are appreciated, or if they feel that they are not making adequate visible progress towards their goals. ESFPs are also highly perceptive, keen observers of the behavior of other people around them and have a strong attention to detail. ESFPs use these skills to become confident leaders and are extraordinarily talented at motivating and empathizing with others. They are known for being persuasive, and yet still tactful, generous, and warm. They lead by inspiring others to follow, rather than forcing them to do so, and their direct reports and supervisees often express satisfaction with having them as leaders. One reason for this is that ESFPs make decisions driven by their personal value system, rather than facts such as the logistical path of least resistance.
In many cases, others see ESFPs as being fun-loving and enthusiastic. Their enthusiasm is contagious, as is their seemingly boundless energy and passion. They prefer to form relationships, both professional and personal, through activity rather than discussion and they tend to become bored or even impatient with lengthy theoretical discussions, instead preferring to focus on practical applications of their ideas. If not controlled, this tendency towards action may make ESFPs appear to be overly impulsive or even scattered.
ESFPs are often found in fields ranging from pharmaceuticals and nursing to childcare or cosmetology. Other careers which this personality type is found are Receptionist, Host/Hostess, Cashier, or Nursery/Farm Laborer, Barista, Billing, Cost, and Rate Clerks, Dental Hygienist, Mail Clerk and Mail Machine Operator, Medical Assistant, Municipal Clerk, Nanny, Radiation Therapist, Statement Clerk and Surgical Technologists. While these may seem like very different vocational pursuits, they all share a common thread—the involvement of helping others. Another trend for this personality type is to pursue occupations which allow them to work outdoors. In all of these cases, ESFPs have the joy and pleasure in watching, motivating, and supporting the people with whom they work as they become the best versions of themselves. In addition, these careers allow ESFPs to utilize their practical attention to detail and procedure.
ESFP Personality Types Goal Setting and Gathering Information.
Once career choice goals are established, identification of specific steps needed in order to achieve employment will follow. ESFP personality types tend to set traditional goals where they can easily gauge their progress and identify if they’ve been successful. For example, if a certain salary or benefit is of importance, an ESFP would take specific steps to ensure that they meet those goals, such as earning additional certifications, working additional hours, or seeking a contradistinctive employer. While this approach can be effective in achieving short-term goals, ESFPs may benefit from considering longer term goals, for instance by creating a five-year or ten-year plan. ESFPs often have no visualization of long-term direction and do not create a plan for achieving their long-term objectives, so using tools such as establishing a timeline for each goal in mind can assist with their organization. This timeline should embody specific action steps to progress toward a larger aspiration. After creating this goal-oriented timeline, information should be gathered in order to build secondary steps within each section of time. In doing so, ESFP personality types may become intimidated by these specifics, and should be sure to tap into their natural need for communication for relief. Speaking with individuals who possess essential information and experience will be an automatic response for an ESFP, but when gathering testimonial from these professionals, this personality type has the tendency to forget to enquire about the long-term expectations and potential for the position. This personality type should prepare a list of questions regarding this information prior to their networking campaign.
ESFP Personality Types and Networking.
Most ESFPs have an extended network of contacts and should reach out to those who have successfully made similar decisions or changes in the past. Staying on task will bear the most difficulty for this personality type. When ESFPs speak with professionals in their prospective field they often find that the conversations lean toward personal information and leave these meetings with their occupational questions unanswered. This personality type should remember to share professional experience with these contacts and try to be specific about goals. They should also have established identifiable aspirations for the conversation, and to stay focused, avoiding socialization, which could lead to ineffectual networking. Each conversation should have a set allotted time as well. Focus, patience and perseverance are keys to an ESFP’s success.
Some individuals with this personality type could be reluctant to network because they rely on facts and believe gathering information from professionals will present that individual’s opinion, but ESFPs should realize the potential intel they can gather while making these connections. After an ESFP has completed a networking campaign, the same contacts built may be able to assist with a job search. When interviewing, an ESFP may have difficulty answering theoretical questions or making long-term predictions because their concentration is typically aimed toward the immediate future. Preparing for and practicing answers to these types of questions in advance of an important interview will assist this personality type with the ability to provide this information. It will be easy for an ESFP to come across as an active collaborative participant to the prospective team but has a tendency to be too talkative during interviews. For this problem, they should make sure to pause during these meetings, in order for the prospective employer to ask questions. Throughout this process, an ESFP should stay aware of the personality types of the people with whom they are interacting with. For example, an Intuitive person might be overwhelmed by too many details, while a Thinking personality type might prefer to focus primarily on those details. Additionally, during these engagements, an ESFP should emphasize their people skills and how they can benefit the foundation of the prospective organization.
ESFP Personality Types and Decision-Making.
As ESFPs narrow down their career options, and dedicate themselves to a specific course of action, they also think carefully about how their choices will affect others who are close to them. For example, as ESFP personality types consider occupational changes, they may evaluate how changing work hours or income may impact their spouse, children, roommates, or other important people in their lives. In doing so, this personality type could neglect the justifiable repercussions of each offer, ignoring information which they may deem disagreeable. Having a system to review the results of their previous career exploration process steps will benefit ESFPs. A simple ‘pros and cons’ chart will allow this personality type to consider this information visually and give them an opportunity to make an education decision. Another way for an ESFP to assist in their decision-making process is to set a deadline to which a decision must be executed, and not stray from this date. This date should be one which was set during the goal setting phase of the process during the creation of their timeline and as such should allow for the manifestation of each step in the period proceeding. Many ESFPs have found that disclosing this “Decision Date” to family and friends can be a helpful way to see it through. Writing it down in an area which is seen daily can also be a helpful way to ensure a decision is made in a timely fashion. Most importantly, individuals who begin with the utilization of their MBTI® as a guide to assist this career exploration process, from learning about themselves, to setting goals and gathering information, meeting valuable connections, and making a decision, will have an opportunity to find a rewarding career and benefit their future.
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More About the MBTI ESFP Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ESFP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Leadership
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Communication
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Decision Making
Click on a 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.)