The Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving, or INFP personality type, is one of the 16 different categories within the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Learning about and considering the personality traits that are unique to INFPs can be very helpful when making certain life decisions, including career and university major choices.
Characteristics of the INFP
The Quiet Perfectionist.
One of the most recognizable traits of the INFP is their observational skills. They tend to notice things that are overlooked by others. To the INFP, the world is a detailed place full of endless things to enjoy. It's not uncommon for these individuals to feel overwhelmed by the beauty around them. These keen observing skills also allow INFPs to recognize problems around them almost immediately.
An INFP is often considered a value driven idealist and is always in tune with how "good" or "bad" they perceive situations to be. When they feel that a situation is bad, they immediately begin to internally deal with how to make it better.
Finally, INFPs have a strong desire for a few very close relationships. Their introverted demeanor can make them come off as quiet and distant at first, but their ability to listen to others make them great friends.
4 Careers for the INFP
When it comes to the job search, INFPs should look for occupations that allow for creativity while also focusing on making social impact. Most INFPs will feel more comfortable in an artistic career rather than one that focuses on facts and numbers. Overall, it is very important for this personality group to find a career that they fits within their passions.
With that in mind, here are the top four career options that an INFP would enjoy and excel in.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats mental disorders of patients. Many psychiatrists will have a specialized patient area such as children or the elderly and may also have a focus on treating specific disorders, such as schizophrenia or dementia.
Pros: Psychiatry is a great field for the INFP because it touches on their major characteristics. It requires excellent observational skills, speaking with others on a personal basis and a need to solve problems. INFPs will enjoy this career because it satisfies their need to fix situations around them and uphold their ideals.
Cons: Psychiatry could be a little too formal for some INFPs. Since many like to deal with more creative pursuits, worrying about diagnostics and patient formalities can become tiresome. Pairing this with the chance at coming in contact with confrontational patients (something an INFP wants to avoid at all costs) and the field ranks lower on the list than others, though it is still a wise option for the personality type.
3. School Counselor
Similar to the psychiatrist, a school counselor interacts with students on a one-to-one basis to deal with issues that might be occurring in the student's life. A counselor can assist in solving home problems, school behavior as well as identifying and working with learning disorders in the classroom.
Pros: What ranks the school counselor position a little higher than psychiatry for the INFP is the chance for impact and change. While a psychiatrist often deals with adult patients and focuses primarily on preexisting disorders, a school counselor helps young children in a learning setting as well as assisting in home environment situations. This can make the scope of change broader. The ability to help and teach children without the need to lecture large classrooms as a traditional teacher makes school counseling a worthy INFP occupation.
Cons: INFPs may see the environment of some school districts to be too restrictive. As public schools continue to focus on standardized testing and scores, some may feel that dealing with school administration on counseling techniques does not allow for the freedom they may desire. For those who choose the field, the payoff of helping children in personal ways outweighs these cons.
2. Graphic Designer
A graphic designer creates branding and visual material for businesses. The majority of graphic designers focus on making logos, web design, business cards and other print materials for businesses of all sizes using design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
Pros: Graphic design is, at its core, solving the problem of visual marketing for a business. Allowing the INFP to express their detail oriented creativity, graphic design is a great choice for a career. Graphic Designers can choose to work for a corporate business as their in-house graphic designer, agencies or could even choose to go freelance. Freelancing can give an INFP freedom with their time, something they greatly desire.
Cons: It is not uncommon for graphic designers to deal with fickle clients. Although most clients do not get confrontational, if they expect the graphic designer to be done by a certain time this could prove stressful for the perfectionist INFP. However, the ability to make a living from their creativity is invaluable for many in this personality type.
Writing, while a seemingly broad profession, can include anything from article writing, content writing for businesses, fiction writing and news reporting. Writers, like graphic designers, can focus on solving the issues surrounding brand marketing for businesses and clients.
Pros: Due to the INFP's introverted nature, they often have trouble expressing themselves verbally to large crowds. However, their rich inner-world and ability to notice small details usually give the INFP a great skill in communicating through text. Writing not only comes easy to most INFPs but is also often considered an entertaining past-time. Also similar to graphic design, writers can opt to freelance their work online giving them great time flexibility.
Writing allows for communication, problem solving, observation and impact. All things, as we've seen, that the INFP holds near and dear.
Cons: With the many ways one can make a career out of writing, there are not many consistent cons within the field. Those who choose to freelance may struggle with being assertive in finding clients, but many well-established freelance writers have clients that come to them.
With the many paths one can take to make a living in this field, as well as the way it touches on all of the INFP's needs, writing may well be one of the best occupational options for the INFP personality type.
Remember that everyone is different and the Myers-Briggs should never be treated like a horoscope. If you are in the middle of choosing a career or major, using guides like this can help you learn more about yourself. Hopefully this list of four potential careers for the INFP has given you more insight into choosing an occupation that will be right for you.