Have you ever wondered, “What would be the perfect career for my personality type? What job will make me feel not as if I am working, but as if I am practicing a fun and enjoyable hobby?” In the following article we will take a look at the ENFP (A.K.A The Optimist or The Campaigner) personality type at work — you might not be that type yourself, but maybe you know a colleague who is.
Out of all 16 personalities, The ENFP is the one most driven by passion, idealism and enthusiasm. ENFPs are people who thrive in social settings and are always eager to bounce new ideas around with anyone who is willing to listen. Their idealism and rich imagination means that they always have something interesting to say. Freely expressing their creativity is as vital for The Optimist as breathing, which is why finding such environments is essential for their overall wellbeing.
What are the ideal careers for them, based on their unique bouquet of characteristics? Which occupations should they avoid because of poor compatibility with their personality? And which college majors strike their interest and have a strong potential to bring out the best in them?
You will find the answers to all these questions — and more! — below.
ENFPs at Work
ENFPs are friendly and energetic workers. They prefer laid-back and flexible work environments, rather than ones that follow strict rules and order. They are creatively expressive in their work and prefer to be given a chance to generate ideas and help others with their innovative suggestions. Speaking of others, ENFPs feel wonderful when they get to cooperate with their colleagues. They find much joy in human contact and are very eager team members, and always have something to contribute.
ENFPs are interested in many different things. Many of these are focused towards their own self-development and growth. This is why they are likely to be happier in jobs they can find meaning in and feel like they are challenged. Highly idealistic, The Optimist likes to know that their work makes a difference in the world or in the lives of its people. However, this Myers-Briggs type has a particular dislike for routine work, or work that involves too many mundane activities. For them, it’s very important to constantly be able to see their job from a different angle and to be able to use their brains on a daily basis.
The corporate working environment isn’t the first thing that comes to an ENFP’s mind when asked to pick their dream job. For them, the place where they would thrive is one that lets them express themselves, values their input and doesn’t restrict their creative skill. Preferably they want to work with people and help others improve their own abilities. ENFPs have formidable communication skills and are able to quickly find common ground with anyone through their wit and signature ENFP humor.
ENFP Career Matches
The perfect ENFP job is a versatile one, where no two days are the same. It should present them with new challenges and opportunities, and be interesting enough so they don’t get bored. This colorful personality type is happiest when they get to express their people-centered nature. This enables them both to improve their own qualities and to help others flourish, as well. Their versatility and strong interest in many fields gives The Optimist plenty of career options. They don’t like limiting themselves, and are likely to want to try many different jobs. However, there are a few work areas where they thrive the most. These resonate the most with ENFP strengths and allow them to freely practice their best qualities.
Such careers involve close interactions with others and a certain level of flexibility. They can also include a great deal of idea generation or a focus on creativity. Here are some jobs in which it’s easy for ENFPs to feel comfortable at.
ENFPs make for natural entrepreneurs. Their broad imagination and vision allow them to conceive many ideas with ease, and allows their dreams to be big and bold. As natural visionaries, they are able to see many possible outcomes of their decisions, and are very aware of the potential opportunities a situation may create for them. This deep intuition also lets them perceive patterns and connections, insights that can lead to very original ideas and a sense of idealism. This combination easily draws people to them and makes them believe in their cause.
As ENFPs are deeply emotional types, they have a deep understanding of people’s feelings, including their own. This is how ENFPs can connect to nearly any other personality type with effortless ease. Naturally, this can give them an advantage in a business setting. Their great communication skills further draw people in, making it easy for them to let others in on their ideas. Given the ENFP charisma, people skills and tendency to dream big and bold, entrepreneurship often comes naturally to them.
2. Human Resources
ENFPs love positive human interaction and making a change in the world. A lot of HR positions combine all these factors. As HR managers or consultants, they will never find themselves devoid of human connection. ENFPs like helping others achieve their full potential. A job in HR touches on this noble passion of theirs and is also able to keep their attention. Something that might put them off is all the paperwork involved, however the human factor is so important that it can overrule this dislike.
The Optimist’s unmatched intuition (except by INFJs maybe) helps them read the most stone-faced people and discover what makes teams tick. They are very empathetic, and find it easy to put themselves in the shoes of the other person. They can find a lot of satisfaction if their job allows them to use this strength of theirs and luckily HR does just that. Organizations are likely to recognize and appreciate ENFPs superior communication skills and high level of sincere personal involvement with others.
3. Brand Manager
Brand management involves a lot of communication between different people, a fast-paced environment and plenty of creative brainstorming. This makes it perfect for the eager and enthusiastic ENFP. To them, being able to freely strategize without boundaries is key to ensuring maximum productivity. Their natural empathy and focus towards people would do them plenty of good if they were to choose this career. As idealists, it’s easy for them to promote ideas and products they deeply believe in and this in turn can lead to people catching their contagious passion.
ENFPs make for good, creative and empathetic managers but a requirement of this job that they might struggle with is the need for organization. Running a campaign may sound fun and it generally is, but it requires a larger overview and to keep track of progress, noting what works and what doesn’t. In this sense, it might be useful for the ENFP brand manager to build a team that compliments their weaknesses.
Given the effortless expression of their passion, it’s easy to see why ENFPs would make great salespeople. They are approachable and engaging, with great networking and people skills — all of which are essential when it comes to a career in sales. They are very charming people, who can appeal to others with ease, and can craft a bestselling product pitch with almost no effort. Others are drawn to their authenticity and sincerity, which are other characteristics that can help them in this job.
The role of a travelling salesman can be particularly appealing to an ENFP. It is a job with no fixed schedule, that allows for great flexibility and versatility in the work environment. This is likely to keep it interesting and dynamic. For ENFPs these are crucial factors when it comes to work, so seeing that this job satisfies both, it’s clear that they are likely to stick around for it.
ENFPs are also well suited for jobs that involve humanities or social sciences. One such job could be that of a social worker. ENFPs have plenty of natural empathy and a deep understanding of other people. This makes it easy for them to relate to others and communicate with them in an understandable way. Some of the essential ENFP personality traits, such as warmth, supportiveness and approachability, are crucial to have in a difficult job such as social work. They have the ability to make people feel safe and comfortable, and have a knack for breaking down walls that others might have put up.
The strong moral compass of ENFPs gives them a reliable sense of what is wrong and what is right. ENFPs are also the types of people who are ready to give it their all for causes they believe in — which makes them good advocates for people in need. This personality type likes to help their community and this is a wonderful way to tangibly contribute to it. Social workers often have to work with multiple people at once. This gives ENFPs the workplace diversity they are looking for.
There are plenty of other jobs that ENFPs can excel in. The key ingredients that make a job appealing to them are: presenting a challenge, a worthy cause and an opportunity to do their work in their own way. It’s no surprise that the ENFP psychologist or ENFP journalist are some of the best in their fields. Their passion and belief in people are likely to change society for the best.
Here are some more suggestions for a suitable ENFP career path:
- Art Director
- Athletic trainer
- Career Counselor
- Church Worker
- Conference Planner
- Graphic Designer
- Housing Director
- Merchandise Planner
- Occupational Therapist
- Project Manager
- Public Relations
- Social Scientist
- Speech Pathologist
ENFP Careers to Avoid
Any type has the potential to succeed in any given occupation. However, the said occupation should be relevant to the person’s interests, talents and personality preferences. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult to stay happy in this position for long. ENFPs don’t have much in common with careers in which they have to work alone. The same goes for jobs where they have to follow strict rules, or have to use a different way of thinking than their usual one, for example practicing logic. They need to be able to practice their people skills and freely express their unique character — otherwise it’s easy for them to become miserable.
Here are the top jobs that aren’t compatible with The Optimist philosophy on life:
Engineering of any kind (mechanical, chemical, computer, civil) requires a certain extent of precision and attention to detail. People in these positions should have an analytical mind and possess a certain level of logical comprehension. Logical thinking isn’t an ENFPs forte, which is why they prefer to use their emotions as a guide. This is why they are much better suited for more creative positions. If an ENFP tries to pursue a career in engineering, they are unlikely to fully grasp the concepts upon which engineering is built.
A job in engineering also requires structured and methodical work. This is another thing that ENFPs are simply not good at — they like to be allowed a certain amount of freedom in their work process. When they are forced to work within precise specifics, they may rebel or feel miserable at their job. An ENFP engineer is likely to find a job in such a rigid work environment very limiting. They will also dislike the required attention to detail involved in it.
2. Finance and Banking
The ENFP personality isn’t very fond of strictly laid out rules and bureaucracy. It’s hard for these people to stay focused in an uninspiring and repetitive environment. This is why they are likely to struggle when having to deal with finances. They are also known as one of the least financially aware personality types, which makes them struggle with finances as a whole. This job is likely to drain them and throw them into a rut, which is the worst kind of situation an ENFP can find themselves in.
ENFPs are better suited for creatively expressive jobs which allow for flexibility and their own method of thinking. They aren’t good at explicit focus on detail. If they get involved in a financial position they are likely to find their tasks boring after a short while. This being said, it’s hard for ENFPs to find corporate work engaging and challenging, so it’s best for them to stay away from it.
The military is built on strict hierarchy and rules, which demand to be followed. The ENFP individualism is frowned upon and there is little to no room for flexibility. Soldiers are expected to follow orders without question and be completely subordinate to their superiors. The military environment is regimented, harshly critical, and restricting. It encompasses everything that an ENFP is definitely not.
To sum up, any job that requires a certain mode of thinking and a very specific behavior, doesn’t appeal much to free-loving ENFPs. It’s important for them to express their own personality and do things their way. This explains why they don’t take kindly to strict direction and supervision. Any occupation that demands them to work outside their natural preferences can quickly drain them, stress them out and make them less happy and satisfied.
Here are a few more examples of jobs that ENFPs wouldn’t be naturally compatible with:
- System Analyst
- Factory Supervisor
- Police Officer
ENFP College Majors
The naturally curious ENFP students may struggle to find a college major that is a good fit to their specific interests — simply because they have way too many. This is why it can be a beneficial idea to focus on things that are a match with their strengths, as well as with their interests. ENFPs like taking care of others, so any Social major (one that has to do with people) may appeal to them. They also enjoy pondering on life’s many mysteries, so an Investigative major might also be good — one in Social sciences, for example. Given their extrovert personality trait, ENFPs can also make for excellent marketeers or enterprise strategists — majors that are connected to such jobs are also suitable for them.
We have listed several majors below that ENFPs may find themselves particularly drawn to, and have the potential to truly excel at them.
- Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Political Sciences)
- Physician/Doctor of Medicine
- Creative Media
- Human Resources Management