ENTJ Personality Traits, Career Matches, and Jobs to Avoid

Katie McBeth  | 

Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, and Patrick Stewart — what do all these people have in common?

These famous figures are all believed to be ENTJ personality types. ENTJ stands for: extroversion (E), intuition (N), thinking (T), and judgment (J).

ENTJ personalities are natural-born leaders, with a penchant for exhibiting confidence and charisma in everything that they do. Instead of focusing on being nice, they prioritize being efficient; they’re self-starters and competitive. It’s estimated that about 1-3 percent of the population falls under this label.

If you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) test and received the results of an ENTJ, then you may be wondering what this says about you. How can you interpret your results to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, and how can this information be applied to your career?

Let’s find out!

ENTJ Personality Traits

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” – Whoopi Goldberg

The MBTI test has 16 possible personality results, which determines your results based on the following:

  • How you focus your attention or re-energize (extraversion (E) / introversion (I))
  • How you perceive or take in information (sensing (S) / intuition (N))
  • How you make decisions (thinking (T) / feeling (F))
  • How you orient yourself to the outside world (judgment (J) / perception (P))

As an ENTJ, your results are as follows:

  • You re-energize around other people and prefer to be surrounded by friends or groups of people — you feel comfortable in social situations (extraversion)
  • You tend to think in abstract concepts, or think more “big picture” and don’t worry about the small details — often concentrating on a final product instead of individual tasks that lead to its completion (intuition)
  • You prefer concrete facts over personal experiences or feelings, often giving more weight to logic than to social considerations (thinking)
  • You rely on controlling what you can by making decisions early, predicting outcomes, and sticking to plans — predictability is your preference over spontaneity (judgment)

Leader

ENTJs are often referred to as the “Commander” personality. Many of the characteristics of an ENTJ might exemplify the stereotypical army commander: strong, loud, gives orders, focused on the big picture, and strategically solves problems.

Because of this, ENTJs often excel in business and leadership positions. You may thrive taking control of situations that have no direction, and you are most likely confident in your personal abilities — which might make you assertive and oftentimes candid in how you talk about yourself.

Unselfish

However, ENTJs are also less familiar with emotions, and you may struggle with understanding how emotions can impact decision making. It could be that you have a friend who is more in tune with their feelings that you rely on to help you understand your own. When working towards an end goal, ENTJs might put personal needs aside to finish the project at hand — which can seem self-sacrificing or even cold hearted to people with a different personality. Additionally, people with a different personality type might see ENTJs as controlling or intimidating.

Your personality may change over the years as you become more confident in your abilities or if you face personal struggles that change your perspective. It’s important to remember that your personality is a product of your experiences, and it’s very possible for some of your more malleable traits to change over time.

ENTJ Strengths and Weaknesses

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” – Margaret Thatcher

Of course, just as with any other MBTI personality type, your personality comes with its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are the pros and cons to having an ENTJ personality:

ENTJ Pros

Driven

ENTJs excel in leadership positions, and for good reason! You are driven to succeed in whatever it is that you do, and you’re eager to see projects out until their conclusion. Additionally, you can be very taken with big and challenging projects, which makes you an excellent person to run a team and delegate assignments to conquer that mighty task.

Data-driven

You are also very data and results driven. You’ll easily believe someone — as long as it doesn’t derail your current project — if they can show you through numbers or other hard data that they’re right. This also means that you’re very focused on results, and can be a very productive and efficient worker.

Problem-Solver

You also enjoy solving difficult puzzles — ones that might seem impossible to solve. When confronted with these puzzles, as long as you can understand the mechanics and reasons behind the problem, then you should be able to find a solution that you can act on. You might even have a natural inclination to see solutions that others were incapable of noticing, and you’re always striving for improvement.

Innovative

You embrace innovation and change, and often scoff at rules or traditions. However, you also prefer structure over chaos — mostly because your data-driven mind needs a bit of guidance to see how your results can influence the business or benefit your career. You prefer to be recognized for your hard work, and even rewarded with money, promotions, or other prestigious prizes.

Gregarious

You are also energized by being around others — which can be a helpful trait in many offices. You are eager to chime in on brainstorming sessions, discussions, and meetings — whether giving your perspective, presenting information, or guiding the conversation.

You are motivated, ambitious, charismatic, and enthralled by challenges.

ENTJ Cons

Too Focused on the Big Picture

Although ENTJs are very driven, you may also miss small and important details because you’re too focused on the big picture. Within business, it can be helpful to have people that help you notice those details, but it’s important to remember to listen to them and not abuse their skillset.

Emotionally Cold

ENTJs also struggle with identifying emotions and understanding how emotions can play into decision making. Because of this, you might come off as cold-hearted to others, but it can also be difficult for you to make decisions based on emotions. You’re much more likely to base your decisions off of facts and statistics, but there will be times when emotional decisions need to be made. The best way to confront these situations is to seek out the help of others — such as a very emotionally supportive and knowledgeable friend that is willing to help, or even professional help from a counselor or therapist — so that you can better understand how logic and emotions interact with each other or influence your decisions.

Hot-Tempered

Additionally, you may often get hot-tempered when in an emotional argument with others. It’s important to be careful not to trample others’ feelings when in an emotionally charged situation, but it’s difficult for ENTJs to know how to navigate those scenarios.

Sensitive to Criticism

Outside of your emotions, ENTJs can also struggle with conflicting information or standards. Because you’re so data driven and confident, it can be difficult to take constructive criticism from others, and if people propose an idea to you without much data to back it up, you may be more prone to showing them the door.

Stubborn

In a lot of ways, ENTJs are natural leaders, but also staunch and stubborn leaders. You may even have the attitude of “my way or the highway” when people try to derail your thought processes, or suggest a new idea that counteracts your own big project. You’re more than capable of digging in your heels when faced with opposition.

Impatient

Additionally, ENTJs are quick thinkers. You may come up with a solution rapidly, but you’re impatient to wait on others to catch up with you. Unfortunately, you might even misinterpret others’ thought process as ignorance, when really they just need more time to process information.

Emotionally Cold

Unfortunately, an ENTJs lack of ability to connect with their emotions can also be a detriment to leadership. If you’re a leader but are unable to make an emotional connection with your employees, then it can cause strife amongst the team. Emotional intelligence is not your strong suite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on improving it!

Best Careers for ENTJ Personality

“As the captain [of the Enterprise on Star Trek], I was going to be having the dominant role in most of the episodes, and that was appealing. I wasn’t interested in coming to Hollywood to sit around.” – Patrick Stewart

ENTJs might be regularly referred to as “Commanders,” but that doesn’t mean your calling is strictly in leadership positions. ENTJs can have many different callings — and even the jobs that are listed here might not be right for your individual career path. You can be successful in almost any calling — regardless of your MBTI results.

Playing off your natural talents and interests can be advantageous, but in no way should you limit yourself to the results of a personality quiz. Keep in mind that no matter what you decide to do with your career, your personality may play a part in amplifying your success or adding to your struggles.

Best Career Matches for ENTJ Types

ENTJs do best in careers that challenge you with complex problems, and that define clear and achievable goals. Oftentimes ENTJs work best in management or supervisory roles, as it allows you the opportunity to find areas that require improvement, as well as giving you the ability to help implement organizational change.

Other things that ENTJs look for in a career include:

  • Structure
  • Challenging problems or puzzles
  • Welcomed innovation
  • Clear guidelines for evaluation
  • Generous rewards
  • Objective performance reviews

Some of the best jobs for ENTJs include the following:

  • Building Design and Construction: Similar to the appeals of engineering, ENTJs can find fulfillment in architecture and other construction-oriented occupations. These jobs play well off your desire to solve problems, and you can even use your inherent leadership skills to manage construction projects and design beautiful buildings that can stand the test of time.
    • Architect
    • Architectural Engineer
    • Building Inspector or Manager
    • Construction Manager
    • Drafter
    • Landscape Architect
    • Surveyor
  • Business, Finance, and Marketing: ENTJs work well in business environments, mostly because your penchant for leadership and entrepreneurship pairs well within business management. Additionally, business, finance, and marketing are all very data driven, relying heavily on meeting goals, finding solutions, promoting innovation, and solving problems. Since ENTJs are self-starters, these fields all provide an excellent pairing with ENTJ characteristics. You can also use your business education to your advantage and start your own small business or startup.
    • Business
      • Executive (CEO, COO, etc)
      • Logistician
      • Management Analyst
      • Meeting, Event, or Convention Planner
      • Operations Researcher or Manager
    • Finance
      • Accountant or Auditor
      • Budget or Financial Analyst
      • Financial Manager
      • Loan Officer
      • Personal Financial Advisor
    • Marketing
      • Advertising Manager
      • Market Research Analyst
  • Engineering, Computer Science, and General Sciences: If solving complex problems is appealing to you, then engineering, computer science, and general sciences would certainly be a perfect calling. ENTJs do well in these fields simply because you enjoy being knowledgeable on the subject, are passionate about your calling, and are eager to find solutions and test your theories. Engineers are also in high demand in our current working world, and many can make a high starting salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The same goes for computer and information scientists.
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineer
      • Biomedical Engineer
      • Chemical Engineer
      • Civil Engineer
      • Electrical or Electronics Engineer
      • Mechanical Engineer
      • Etc …
    • Computer Sciences or Programming
      • Computer Network Architect
      • Computer Scientist
      • Database Administrator
      • Information Security Analyst
      • Network Administrator
      • Software Developer
    • General Sciences
      • Biochemist or Biophysicist
      • Chemist or Material Scientist
      • Geographer
      • Geoscientist
      • Microbiologist
      • Etc …
  • Healthcare: Healthcare can be a tricky field for ENTJ types, but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of finding your calling in this career path. Because ENTJs commonly struggle with emotional intelligence, it can be difficult to transition into more patient-oriented roles. However, ENTJs are also so data driven, knowledgeable, and such excellent leaders that they can excel in healthcare leadership.
    • Dentist or Orthodontist
    • Doctor
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Pharmacist
    • Physician
    • Surgeon
  • Legal and Law Enforcement: The natural leadership qualities of ENTJs play well in the legal and law enforcement fields. You will not only have the opportunity to take charge and solve problems, but you’ll also be able to affect actual change in your community. Additionally, many positions within this field require a self-starter attitude; something that comes naturally to you.
    • Correctional Officer
    • Fire Inspector or Investigator
    • Hearing Officer
    • Judge
    • Lawyer or Trustee
    • Police Officer or Detective
    • Private Detective or Investigator
  • Sales: ENTJs can use their charisma to their advantage in sales-oriented jobs. Additionally, many sales jobs work solely off commission, which means you’ll need to be motivated, goal-oriented, and extroverted to make a living: all of which are ENTJ characteristics.
    • Advertising Sales Agent
    • Car or Retail Salesperson
    • Insurance Sales Agent
    • Real Estate Sales
    • Sales Manager
  • Social Science, Liberal Arts, and Journalism: All the occupations in this section share common ENTJ interests: managing resources and data, allowing creative innovation, a structured schedule or environment, and an opportunity for showcasing your innate leadership abilities. Additionally, jobs in public speaking or journalism allow you the opportunity to play off your extroversion and charisma — making you an excellent speaker and a knowledgeable television, radio, or print personality.
    • Journalism
      • Communications Manager
      • Media Manager
      • Reporter
    • Liberal Arts
      • Chef
      • Music Director or Composer
      • Producer or Director of Film
      • Professor
      • Public Speaker or Influencer
    • Social Science
      • Economist
      • Historian
      • Political Scientist
      • Statistician
      • Urban and Regional Planner

Highest Paying ENTJ Careers

ENTJs aim high, and of all the personalities on the MBTI test, ENTJs also tend to earn the highest salaries. Much of this could be due to the natural leadership qualities that you have, since most organizational leaders are top earners in their company. It also helps that ENTJs make up a small portion of the working world: about 1 to 3 percent of the population.

Since you make up such a small percent and are a natural leader, you can expect to earn the most in the C-Suite (CEO, COO, etc) or any other top level leadership positions. The pay range naturally varies depending on the size of the company and industry, but ENTJs can rest assured that their natural tendencies trend toward rising to the top.

Make sure you know your worth, and then use that information to find the job that is the perfect fit for you. Eventually you’ll be able to prove your talents, enjoy your calling, and rise to a top earning position.

Industries that best reward their leaders always include business and finance, but STEM fields are also in need of ENTJ leadership; especially in engineering and computer programming.

ENTJ Jobs to Avoid

“I’d rather have a small part in a movie I love than a bigger part in one I don’t care about.” – Sigourney Weaver

It should be noted that ENTJs — or any other personality, for that matter — can succeed in any career. However, there are some careers that might better match your personal talents, mode of thinking, or natural behavior. If your career is not playing off your natural inclinations, then you could find that job draining, unappealing, or might even suffer from burnout. It could be that you need to quit your job and switch career paths.

When looking at these careers, many of them lack the leadership opportunities that ENTJs crave, and others might not have the intellectual stimulation that you require. It could be that they’re too subordinate, repetitive, require a high level of emotional intelligence, or lack the “big picture” impact and perspective that you prefer.

In general, ENTJs may want to avoid or might be uninterested in these jobs:

  • Artist or Crafter
  • Bill Collector or Repossessor
  • Child Care Provider or Preschool Teacher
  • Data Entry Clerk
  • Food Preparation or Restaurant Worker
  • Home Health Aid
  • Medical or Dental Assistant
  • Receptionist

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Katie McBeth is a researcher and writer out of Boise, ID, with experience in marketing for small businesses and management. Her favorite subject of study is millennials, and she has been featured on Fortune Magazine and the Quiet Revolution. She researches SEO strategies during the day, and freelances at night. You can follow her writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth

This post was updated June 19, 2018. It was originally published May 15, 2018.