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Best (and Worst) ESFJ Careers

There’s a lot to consider when you’re trying to find the right career. Aside from the skills required, your personality type could also be a factor. What kind of work environment will you be happy in, and which career could you love enough to keep for years?

Although these questions might take a lifetime to answer, your personality type can give you plenty of hints. In the following article, we’ll be taking a look at the ESFJ personality type at work. If you’re an ESFJ, you’ll learn all about your work needs and which careers are common among your type. For other personality types, this guide can shed light on what makes ESFJ colleagues tick.

Not sure what your Myers-Briggs personality type is? You can easily find out if you take our comprehensive personality test.

Out of all the personality types, ESFJs are among the most dedicated when it comes to their duties. Loyal and decisive, they have a results-oriented mindset, and they’re go-getters who plan meticulously and then take action. Their easy warmth, attentiveness, and enthusiasm serve them well in professional settings. ESFJs are consistently mindful of others’ feelings, balancing pragmatism with compassion. It’s essential for them to have clear roles and guidelines in their work environment so they can perform at their best.

Given their unique set of qualities, which careers complement the ESFJ personality type the most? Which occupations have the greatest potential to be frustrating for them? And which college majors do they gravitate towards as they prepare for their careers?

Keep reading to find the answers to all of these questions (and more)!

ESFJs at Work

ESFJs are conscientious workers who thrive in a conflict-free and structured environment. Their friendly, enthusiastic attitude makes them excellent team players. They are at their best at jobs where they can use their considerable social skills, whether through collaborating with colleagues, mentoring junior employees, or empathizing with clients.

Kind-hearted and outgoing, ESFJs are motivated by inspiring others to live up to their potential. They see the best in people. In addition, they’re pleasant to work with because they recognize their colleagues’ contributions and do their best to make everyone feel included. As managers, ESFJs consider the goals and preferences of each team member in their decision-making. They can sense subtle emotional undertones, and they strive for harmony, often happy to plan events that bring people together.

While ESFJs enjoy leadership roles, they’re comfortable being in junior positions too. ESFJs respect hierarchy and existing systems as long as these don’t violate their values. As much as they love chatting and injecting their conversations with warmth and humor (check out our article on ESFJ humor), they’re also serious about their obligations. ESFJs do what needs to be done. They’re hardworking and responsible, accomplishing tasks as soon as they can. This personality type tends to be a pillar to their communities, constantly giving support to their family and friends. It’s no different in the workplace, where they’re valued for being reliable as well as caring.

ESFJs have a perfectionist streak that shows in their work, and they don’t like disappointing others. Although they can be good at a lot of things because of their perfectionism, certain career options are more well-suited for them. ESFJs have a natural urge to organize, whether it’s giving definite roles to people or setting a schedule for their day ahead. Too much improvisation can give them anxiety. If they have an occupation such as event coordination where the unexpected can happen, they will make backup plans in anticipation rather than responding to it in the moment. This is partly why they’re so efficient — ESFJs have a knack for planning and getting things done smoothly.

ESFJ Career Matches

ESFJs are likely to be attracted to people-oriented roles where they can make meaningful human connections. Solitary roles leave them feeling restless – they would rather work alongside a team that they can interact with throughout the day. Emotional feedback is crucial for them; they crave to feel affirmed and validated. When they visibly help others flourish, ESFJs become more driven than ever.

At the same time, structure and stability are key values for them. They prefer working in structured environments with clear rules and processes. Routines aren’t a challenge for them, which is why they handle administrative tasks well. They are also drawn to larger, established institutions whose success is already proven.

The best ESFJ careers would answer both their need for social interaction and their need for structure. ESFJs are goal-driven individuals, and they have much to contribute to the world, especially when they find a satisfying career. Here are some jobs that can be a great fit for ESFJs:

1. Teacher

Many ESFJs have found their calling in being a teacher. After all, being a teacher requires constant social interaction and public speaking, which suit the ESFJ personality type. They tend to be great with younger people, and they don’t mind breaking lessons down into simpler, more concrete terms. Routine comes easily to them, so they’re comfortable with attending classes on a regular schedule, organizing lesson plans, and keeping track of students’ grades and papers.

ESFJs are innately service-oriented, and they want to make positive changes in other people’s lives. Teaching is one job where they can explore this to the fullest. As teachers, they guide students through day-to-day classes, but they also take on the important role of shaping their students’ worldviews and helping them hone their values. ESFJs are the teachers who care deeply about their students. Empathetic and patient, they’re willing to go the extra mile, and they’re happy to be mentors and advisors. In fact, it’s very fulfilling for them to catch up with their students years later and see how much of an impact they made in their lives.

2. Nurse

The healthcare field is a good fit for ESFJs, who excels at pinpointing the needs of others. Aside from assisting patients clinically and administering treatments, nurses also provide emotional and social support. ESFJs thrive in careers where they can express their compassionate nature. They connect quickly with patients because of their strong interpersonal skills. For patients who are facing tough health conditions; ESFJs’ warm, upbeat presence can be very comforting.

On top of this, they’re willing to go the extra mile to fulfill their duties. From maintaining health records to giving injections, they handle their responsibilities smoothly. Even with busy schedules, they manage to stay on track with their tasks. Medical procedures require a lot of precision and respect for protocol, and ESFJs would be happy to follow them. Their attention to detail makes them alert to changes in patients, and they rarely make mistakes with their paperwork. Since Sensing-Judging types like ESFJs value traditional roles in society, they don’t mind the social expectations they have to uphold as nurses even outside of their job.

3. Event Coordinator

ESFJs are a natural at throwing parties for their friends and family, so it’s not surprising that being an event coordinator would be an ideal career for them. Event coordinators have to juggle multiple details all at once, such as reserving event venues, meeting with clients, and talking to various vendors. While some MBTI personality types might struggle with an event coordinator’s fast-paced workday, ESFJs take it in stride and even enjoy it. They love gathering people together and celebrating traditions such as birthdays and weddings, so event coordinating can be emotionally satisfying for them.

Aside from being socially savvy, ESFJs excel at organizing both people and objects in their environment. They’re comfortable when everything is in its proper place, and getting to talk to plenty of people energizes them. Compared to other personality types, ESFJs are attentive and meticulous. They will notice when color combinations are off for an event or when one of the many companies they’re contacting hasn’t updated them yet. ESFJs also take into account the unexpected, from changing weather to late deliveries, they prepare backup plans way ahead of time. When you trust an ESFJ to organize an event, they will give their all to pulling it off successfully.

4. HR Professional

Working in human resources could be one of the best roles for ESFJs in a corporate setting. Administrative skills and emotional intelligence are essential for an HR professional, and ESFJs possess these in abundance. They have a keen understanding of social dynamics and power structures in the workplace. As a result, they can identify how colleagues should be behaving in their respective roles, and they act as mediators when conflict happens. When it comes to recruitment, their ability to read people comes in handy.

All in all, ESFJs have a strong need to belong, and they’re likely to be very committed to the companies they work for. In an HR role, they will make serious efforts to come up with team-building activities to include everyone in the company. They often end up making friends with their colleagues, and they will take the time to hear people’s concerns one-on-one. Strengthening company culture and helping employees thrive can be very engaging missions for ESFJs. Likewise, garnering appreciation from different teams all over the company is validating for them.

5. PR Manager

Diplomatic and outgoing ESFJs may find their forte in public relations. Because of their Extroverted Feeling function, ESFJs are always aware of what’s appropriate and polite to say around others. They’re sensitive to what other people are thinking about them, and they can make almost anyone feel at ease. Public relations can be a fitting occupation for ESFJs, who care a great deal about their image. ESFJs are also in tune with the latest trends, so they’re likely to have an instinctive grasp of what the public likes and dislikes. This pays off greatly for brands they’re managing. When companies make publicity mistakes, ESFJs can take over smoothly and help restore the brand’s reputation.

Tapping into a large network of acquaintances and friends is expected of PR managers, and ESFJs have had a wide social circle since they were young. In fact, many ESFJs are active on social media, where they catch up with people they know and share what’s going on with their lives. Finally, PR managers also arrange and attend events, which can be exciting for ESFJs.

Honorable Mentions

There are plenty of other jobs that resonate with the ESFJ personality. Management and administrative roles can attract ESFJs because of their sharp organizational skills. ESFJs are also commonly found in medical and health professions, which give them concrete ways to contribute directly to others’ well-being. On the other hand, they could use their formidable social intelligence in sales positions. Whichever career path they choose, their passion and strong work ethic can get them far.

Here are some more suggestions for suitable ESFJ career matches:

  • Accountant
  • Advertising sales agent
  • Athletic coach
  • Buyer
  • Corporate worker
  • Cosmetologist
  • Court reporter
  • Customer service representative
  • Dentist
  • Dietitian
  • Family physician
  • Fitness trainer
  • Hotel manager
  • Insurance agent
  • Office manager
  • Optometrist
  • Paralegal
  • Pediatrician
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical therapist
  • Police officer
  • Real estate agent
  • Receptionist
  • Restaurant manager
  • School administrator
  • Social worker
  • Speech pathologist
  • Surgeon
  • Technical writer
  • Therapist
  • Veterinarian

ESFJ Careers to Avoid

ESFJs have the potential to succeed in any career. However, there are certain careers that complement their personality a little more than others. Excelling in these will take less effort for them than the average person because these highlight their strengths. On the other hand, certain careers can be tough for them. They’re still capable of reaching a high level of competence here, but they can become impatient and even dissatisfied.

These careers tend to focus on the ESFJs’ less-developed functions. Strengthening these can make ESFJs more balanced individuals, but they’ll have a much easier time using their leading functions, Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Sensing, for their day-to-day work.

Here are the top jobs that aren’t compatible with ESFJs’ approach to the world:

1. Developer

Working full-time as a developer of any kind (software, website, games, data science) wouldn’t be as appealing to ESFJs. The main skill required of a developer is coding, which involves spending long hours working alone in front of a computer. This would feel tedious and even lonely for the people-oriented ESFJ. They would rather be on the go throughout their day.

Their Sensing preference also comes into play here. ESFJs primarily trust concrete, sensory experiences, so dealing with the layers of abstraction in code will frustrate them quickly. While ESFJs can be logical thinkers when the situation calls for it, relying on it so much might be a draining experience. Jobs, where they collaborate face-to-face or express themselves emotionally, would suit them better. In contrast, too much emphasis on handling data or products alone will cause them to lose interest.

2. Freelancer

The ESFJ personality isn’t fond of sudden changes in their plans. Instead of liberating ESFJs, freelancing might actually cause them more stress, since they want to know what to expect in advance. After all, freelancers juggle multiple clients with different projects. Their income varies each month, and even fully booked freelancers have erratic schedules, possibly putting in more than 40 hours of work in a week and less than 20 in the next. This clashes with ESFJs’ desire for structure and consistency.

In addition, freelancing is a fairly new work setup. ESFJs would rather work with what’s already proven effective, so they’re more drawn to regular jobs with definite expectations and schedules. Freelancing can also be isolating. ESFJs might miss being physically present with a team and having conversations during breaks with colleagues.

3. Financial Trader

Professional traders look at monitors for most of the workday, analyzing graphs, numbers, and economic news. This is unappealing to ESFJs, who want to see the direct positive effects of their actions on people. To top this, Sensing-Judging personality types are known for prioritizing security and stability. Although ESFJs sometimes consider occupations in finance, being a trader might not be the best choice for them because of the intense highs and lows associated with the job.

Professional traders, whether in stocks, commodities, or futures, have to react quickly to real-time changes. A high appetite for risk is necessary because the market regularly defies expectations. ESFJs, who lean towards being low-risk, will dislike having to make split-second decisions with so much at stake. For the same reasons, they wouldn’t be fond of being an early investor for unproven tech startups.

Honorable Mentions

To sum up, jobs that focus on detached, analytical thinking without much need for empathy can be unappealing to ESFJs. They also feel constrained when they’re forced to be mostly on their own, and jobs with unpredictable schedules and demands will stress them out rather than motivating them to improve. Although ESFJs do their best to keep up with expectations, they will become more and more dissatisfied when they have to go against their natural preferences.

Here are a few more examples of jobs that might not match with the ESFJs’ personality:

  • Airline pilot
  • Computer scientist
  • Economist
  • Editor
  • Electrician
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Stunt performer
  • Tech support specialist
  • War correspondent

ESFJ College Majors

College is typically an enjoyable time for ESFJs. As with all other major decisions in their lives, they’re careful about their choice of college major, knowing how much it will affect their future career path. Once they’ve started a college major, they’re likely to stick to it, and they make sure to accomplish their requirements on time and follow rules set by the professors.

College majors that emphasize real-world experience rather than theory are ideal for them. With their Introverted Sensing, they don’t shy away from either memorizing details or huge amounts of information. Given ESFJs’ pragmatic orientation, they usually choose a college major that will equip them with practical skills and lead them to a definite career. They may end up majoring in fields such as social science, healthcare, law, business, or marketing.

We have listed several majors below that ESFJs might find interesting and engaging, as they prepare to enter the world of work:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Criminology
  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Exercise Science
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality Management
  • Marketing
  • Nursing
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Public Relations
  • Social Work