Have you ever wondered why you prefer certain kinds of jobs over others? Have you considered that it could be your personality type that influences which jobs feel like work and which feel like a fun and enjoyable hobby?
Of course, there are many factors that determine happiness and success in the workplace, but understanding your MBTI personality type can greatly improve your career choices, job satisfaction, and workplace relationships.
In the following article, we will take a look at the INFP person at work — you might not be that type yourself, but maybe you know a colleague who is.
Out of all the 16 Myers-Briggs personalities, the INFP personality type is the one that is most likely to follow their own gut feeling and moral compass, rather than social convention. Members of this personality type are quite rare but this may be because of how reserved, shy and quiet they are – this makes them harder to spot. However, INFPs are a friend that everyone could appreciate in their lives, as they are very concerned with the happiness and wellbeing of others. They aren’t ones to just sit around idly and daydream – when the time comes, INFPs don’t shy away from taking actionable steps toward turning their idealistic vision into reality. This type is also quite creative and they enjoy expressing that creativity in their own unique way.
Which are the ideal careers for INFPs, 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 considerable potential to bring out the best in them?
You will find answers to these questions and more below, so keep reading!
INFPs at Work
INFPs are deeply empathetic and caring people. They are also known as behind-the-scenes workers — possibly due to their unique set of preferences. Given that they are Introverted, they are more oriented to careers that suit their energy levels. You can read more about this and other Preferences in our separate article. Even though this personality type can come across as quiet and reserved, they are very driven by jobs that align with their personal values and allow them to help others as well. They aren’t ones to stick with a job just because it gives them a lot of money or prestige. Instead, they are more attracted to projects that are inspiring, take the bigger picture into consideration, and resonate with their personal sense of morality. Their ideal career is in a calm, quiet and peaceful workplace, which allows them to unlock their full creative potential while working on something that can leave a positive mark on the world.
Given INFP’s idealistic way of thinking, they prefer to carry out meaningful tasks, which can help other people out. They are helpful and reliable team members, who sometimes take on more than they are realistically capable of. This might be because of their heightened sense of responsibility for their work and for those who work with them. INFPs like to leave their own personal mark on their work, which is why they would greatly appreciate the chance to do so. When working with others, it’s important for the INFP to get a sense of cooperation, support, and shared ideals with the rest of their team members.
All in all, INFPs want to feel a sense of purpose in their work. They put very serious emphasis on balance and harmony, which is why they would likely be willing to take the extra effort to establish strong emotional and moral connections with their work. You can always count on INFPs to be honest and considerate to the work ecosystem as a whole. In the best case scenario, INFPs really thrive when they are put together with similar-minded people, who share their working style and passion to make a meaningful difference in the world. Even so, their harmonious and gentle personalities make them likable to others and generally they are perceived positively by their coworkers.
INFP Career Matches
According to research, the perfect INFP job is one that is both creative, as well as tied to personal meaning. It’s important for people with this personality type to work in an environment that is highly consistent with their strong value systems and moral code. INFPs are extremely altruistic and want their actions to impact the world in a positive way. They are caring and thoughtful and achieve a great sense of satisfaction from helping others. This is why a career path in any humanitarian field is very well suited for them. Given the INFP’s sensitivity to people’s feelings and emotions, their supportive nature can be appreciated by any member of their team. This is also a reason why they can truly excel in jobs in healthcare, not-for-profits, education, or counseling. INFPs like to be intellectually stimulated through their work and to be presented with new challenges that need to be conquered. Often, it’s important for them to know that their job is meaningful and it contributes to something positive.
Being introverted, INFPs don’t mind spending time alone. In fact, it’s crucial for their mental wellbeing and happiness. This is why people from this personality type should avoid open office environments, found in big corporations, as they don’t allow for this much needed solitude. To INFPs any job that puts them on the spot or requires them to have a big audience simply won’t do.
Here are the top careers INFPs are likely to feel most comfortable in.
Psychology is a field that INFPs are naturally good at. It combines all of the best qualities of this personality type, potentially making them very adept in this profession. It’s no wonder that this personality type is sometimes nicknamed “The Healer”. One good thing about a job in psychology is that it can be very versatile. From clinical research in a lab to private therapy practices, INFPs have great freedom in choosing where to develop themselves. No matter what path they choose, it is very likely that they would be greatly satisfied. Working as a psychologist also often means working individually and relying on their own knowledge and skill sets. This intimate privacy appeals greatly to the reserved INFPs, as they get to practice their deep intuition and understanding of individual human emotions more freely.
A job in psychology has a lot to do with helping others out — another important value that people of the INFP personality have. As psychologists, they can help others understand the inner workings of their minds and guide them through their issues. The ability to meaningfully help others is one of the things that make INFPs most happy. Furthermore, their integrity, listening skills, and thoughtfulness can help their patients open up, making the whole process easier. Psychology also allows for creative problem-solving, which also appeals to INFPs.
A career as a librarian would perfectly align with the INFP’s personality traits and characteristics. It combines a quiet environment with service to others with an effortless ease. Librarians are tasked with helping others find information, conducting research and even handling old manuscripts and papers of importance. It is a versatile position as well, as there are many different kinds of librarians – school, university, public library, research institute, etc. Most INFPs can definitely see a purpose in their librarian jobs, even if it eludes most people. To them, it’s easy to feel like they are making a difference by helping people reach a higher knowledge.
Something that comes naturally to INFPs is sharing knowledge to seek truth and meaning. The smaller class size and maturity of the students that go to university makes the professor job very pleasurable for people of the INFP personality type. Their Introverted personalities are likely to handle them better than, say, preschool students, even if they are suited for this position as well. University students are likely to be very passionate about the subject they are studying, especially in graduate programs. Given that the INFP professor almost certainly identifies with the topic to a great extent (otherwise they wouldn’t be teaching it), they are likely to find kindred spirits with their students. This in turn can result in a great sense of encouragement, support, and cooperation between teacher and students, leading to great satisfaction in both parties.
The INFP professor often has a personal approach toward every student. In part, this is thanks to the small group size but not only. The keen INFP perception tells them which student is struggling with what, and they are likely to take extra time to individually resolve these struggles. Their gentle, caring approach doesn’t go unnoticed and can easily inspire their students to learn and grow intellectually. The passion that an INFP is likely to have for their subject can be contagious, as they have the unique ability to break down complex concepts into easily understandable chunks. INFPs are very diligent and responsible people, which builds trust in both students and university administration.
INFPs are also well suited for jobs that involve humanities or social sciences. One such job could be that of a social worker. As previously stated, INFPs 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 INFP 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 the ability to peek behind the hedges that people often build around themselves, no matter how high they might be.
Even though INFPs can sometimes be oversensitive, their strong moral compass and drive to help others makes them very suited for the job of a social worker. Precisely their intuitive gut feeling gives them a reliable sense of what is wrong and what is right. INFPs 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 cases at the same time, often in a quiet environment with one-to-one conversations. This gives INFPs the workplace diversity they are looking for and it also manages to appeal to their introverted side.
Writing is another field of work that an INFP can excel at. It is a job that comes in many shapes and forms – from writing conventional novels and poetry to writing for businesses, creating editorials and articles for newspapers and magazines – the choice is limitless. In fact, many influential authors of past and present have belonged to this personality type – it is the field that cultivated the most famous INFPs.
The best thing about writing jobs is that they are likely to be project-based. This means that the writer can choose what to work on and can distribute his working time himself. This allows for great freedom, which INFPs can appreciate. They can also turn down projects that they don’t feel particularly passionate about, which, as we established, is important to keep them happy. The writing line of work requires a great deal of creativity and imagination, as sometimes an unconventional approach is required to deliver a most impactful piece. Given how experimental this field can be, it’s easy for INFPs to feel like they are swimming in familiar waters – and do so quite skillfully.
There are plenty of other jobs that INFPs can excel at. The key ingredients that make a job appealing to them are: having an inherent sense of purpose, helping other people out, being able to practice their creativity, being able to work individually, and overall impacting society in a positive way. It’s no wonder that the INFP librarian, activist, or educational consultant are some of the best in their fields. Their idealism, passion, and willingness to connect to others on an emotional level are very likely to truly leave a positive mark on the world.
Here are some more suggestions for a suitable INFP career choice:
- Child Care
- Child Development
- Church Worker
- Educational Consultant
- Employee Development Specialist
- Fashion Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Holistic Health Practitioner
- Human Resources
- Medical Doctor
- Mental Health Counselor
- Physical Therapist
- Preschool Teacher
- Social Scientist
- Special Education Teacher
- Speech Pathologist
- Video Editor
- Web Designer
INFP Careers to Avoid
Every type has the potential to succeed in any given occupation. However, it is better if a person’s everyday job is relevant to their interests, talents, and strengths. If it’s not, the risk of this person becoming unhappy and unsatisfied with their work is higher. In this line of thought, INFPs should stay away from competitive fields, which are solely results-driven. They often appear very consumeristic, with little thought given to the impact they have on a global scale. It’s very important for this sensitive personality type to feel like they are making a meaningful change in the world, which is why careers connected to sales, IT, banking, and customer service might not be the best choice for them.
Here are the top jobs that aren’t compatible with the INFP idealistic approach to life:
The world of finance and accounting might be thrilling to some, but it’s very likely that INFPs aren’t among those people. To them, working with money means having an impeccable eye for detail, and making a mistake can often be disastrous. It’s not that they aren’t responsible enough to take on this job — they just aren’t the best at dealing with numbers and data. What’s more important, to them working with money isn’t perceived as exceptionally noble or inspiring. Being the idealists they are, they are likely to view a job in this field as boring and meaningless, when they look at the bigger picture.
INFPs could be good with financial management if it’s about a cause they deeply care about, for example, if it comes to fundraising. Even so, the dull, routine tasks which often need to be carried out by financial professionals are likely to quickly burn INFPs out. This personality type needs more creative freedom in their workplace and this occupation hardly ever offers anything like that.
Another job that INFPs are likely to be notoriously bad at is politics. Even though they are idealistic individuals with big dreams, a job in politics often involves a lot of interaction and socializing with others. This aspect of the job could be very difficult for the introverted INFP, who likes to keep out of the spotlight. Even if their way of thinking can be deeply inspiring to the masses, it can hardly make an impact if they keep it to themselves, or to the groups of people they know.
Political behavior also involves plenty of manipulation of information, which definitely won’t sit well with INFPs. People with this personality type are known to be very honest and true to their moral compass, meaning that they likely won’t be able to bend their principles in order to comply with this job requirement. INFPs are guided by their Introverted Feeling cognitive function, which gives them a strong belief in their inner feelings, hunches, and beliefs. Making compromises with their moral compass is simply not an option.
3. Sales Representative
INFPs aren’t well suited for the competitive and fast-paced world of sales. In order to succeed in this field, people often need to surround themselves with a lot of people and establish a good network. They need to be persuasive and say what needs to be said, in order to sell a product or service. The honesty and integrity of INFPs likely won’t allow them to say things that are untrue or exaggerate product qualities. They also need to feel like they are contributing to solving global issues, instead of just making a daily profit and moving on.
The corporate environment typically poses problems for INFPs. They are likely to view it as a cold, sterile environment, where they can’t express the personal qualities that make them who they are — namely, compassion and creativity. Their high sensitivity makes it difficult for them to be truly competitive and have a “the end justifies the means” mentality. The notorious INFP selflessness could be easily taken advantage of and prevent them from getting past a certain point of their careers.
In conclusion, INFPs aren’t good with jobs that they perceive as being too materialistic and out-of-touch with the problems of the larger world. Their idealism doesn’t make it easy for them to be manipulative, lie or behave ruthlessly, even when others might say the situation calls for it. This behavior goes against some of the deepest values of this personality type, which is why jobs with such characteristics are better avoided. Some other things that can turn them off from a job are: interaction with too many people, following rules and routine, as well as being put in a box (literally and metaphorically).
Here are a few more examples of INFP jobs that they wouldn’t be naturally compatible with:
- Customer Service
- Public Speaker
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Military Officer
- Restaurant Manager
INFP College Majors
INFPs are quiet, creative, and enjoy learning about different ways to help society. This is why they are more likely to study a major that is closely related to supporting other people or the environment. Any Social Sciences major (Psychology, Sociology) is likely to do them a lot of good. The INFP personality type is also very creative, so majors that urge the expression of that creativity are very beneficial for them. Think in terms of Painting, Photography, Creative Writing, etc. These people often have a knack and passion for contributing to meaningful research, so pursuing a later career in academia isn’t out of the question for them.
We have listed several majors below that INFPs may find themselves particularly drawn to, and have the potential to truly excel at.
- Apparel Design
- Family Studies
- Fashion Merchandising
- Graphic Arts Management
- Human Resource Management
- Interior Design
- Modern Languages
- Religious Studies
- Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology)
- Speech-Language Pathology