ESTJ Personality Traits, Career Matches, and Jobs to Avoid

Katie McBeth  | 

ESTJs are leaders and upholders of traditional values. Some famous ESTJs include: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Mickey Rourke, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Alec Baldwin, Daisy Ridley, Lucy Liu, Roger Ebert, Celine Dion, and Tom Clancy. A slew of United States Presidents are also believed to have an ESTJ personality.

ESTJ stands for: extroversion (E), sensing (S), thinking (T), and judgment (J).

ESTJs are focused on bringing families and communities together through tradition and order. They are driven by personal beliefs of “right and wrong” and embrace honesty, dedication, dignity, and pride. About 11 percent of the population is believed to be an ESTJ. They enjoy being leaders of their community — whether as local politicians or non-profit managers — and they work hard to defend and cherish traditional values by leading by example.

If you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and received the results of an ESTJ, then you may be wondering what this personality type 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 see what being an ESTJ means for you!

ESTJ Personality Traits

“I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses, and government.” – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

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 ESTJ, 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 be more concrete than abstract — you often focus your attention on the small details rather than the big picture, as well as focusing more on the immediate needs rather than future possibilities (sensing)
  • 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)

Rule of Law

ESTJs are often referred to as “executives” and “supervisors,” and you believe that law and order are essential to create a stable society. You work hard in your own life to lead by example. You also believe that authority should be earned, and those that rise to the top through charisma, money, lies, and cheating are the scourge of humanity. Traditions are important to you, and it’s through traditional ideas of morality that you define what is right and wrong. You also place high value on hard, manual labor, as you believe it’s an essential way to build character.

Fact over Social Opinion

Because you value thinking over feeling, you often place more weight on hard statistics. You rely heavily on your own understanding of the world, and will face any opposition with your unwavering belief in your personal principles. However, the formation of those principles aren’t simply a matter of opinion: you’re willing to put in the work to prove yourself to others. No matter what obstacle is in your way, you will make an action plan, sort out the details, and make any project seem approachable and effortless. As for social considerations, you will only agree with those that are based in facts and tradition, and more progressive movements might seem threatening to your worldview.

Society Runs on Good Work Ethic

Although you’re a driven individual, you’re not someone that works alone. You believe in the power of community and work ethic, and you expect all those you work with — from office colleagues to romantic partners — to share the same drive and determination as you. You’re a reliable working individual who expects the same from others, and if you’re met with dishonesty or incompetence, then you aren’t afraid to voice your displeasure. There’s a reason you hold your values so high, as you believe that morality, law, and work ethic are the essential cogs to the machine that keeps society moving forward. Others may see you as stubborn or inflexible, but you stick to your laurels anyways.

A Fair Leader

Change and new ideas might be challenging for you to accept, but that doesn’t mean you’re unable to work with other people. You can easily recognize the strength within other individuals and within groups, and you understand that a group is only as strong as its weakest link. You strive to give everyone a chance to be heard, and will help even the quietest person feel welcome in a meeting. Plus, you want everyone to lay out their ideas, as this provides you with a better picture of the problem at hand, which can help you find a solution for everyone now that you have all the facts.

ESTJ Financial Habits

Planning for Your Future

As a true traditionalist, ESTJs are no strangers to routine and long-term planning. You probably already have a tight and detailed personal budget in place, and most likely have other plans made to help you save for future life events. Retirement is certainly something you should plan for, if you haven’t already, and you should research 401 (k) and other forms of income that can help you after you’ve left work.

Organized and Optimized

However, the chances of you having any sort of disorder in your finances are low. You’re an organized and detail-oriented individual, and you love to test your options. You can very easily set goals for yourself and meet them, and these skills should not be put to waste when it comes to your checkbook. You don’t have to aim for an average financial situation either: you have the ability to set lofty goals that can help you succeed. Whether that’s investing in the stock market, purchasing property, or simply earning a high paycheck — you can succeed at almost anything you put your mind to, as long as you stick to your plan.

Don’t Fear Change

Unfortunately, your traditional nature can also make it extremely difficult for you to adapt well to changes. Life (and your finances) are never going to progress in a straight line: you have to be ready to adjust your plans as needed. Be sure to make flexible plans in case something does go awry — such as losing your job, a stock market crash, or even identity theft and a ruined credit score — and do your best to not fear change, but embrace new opportunities. Additionally, you may find that your concern over your social standing can get in the way of you prioritizing your financial needs. Whether it’s ego or humility that you struggle with, you should be sure to focus on your goals and not on your outward appearance or social status.

ESTJ Strengths and Weaknesses

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” – Roger Ebert

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 ESTJ personality:

ESTJ Pros

Organized and Lawful

You are a person that is committed to truth and order. As an ESTJ, you value tradition as well as the laws that govern and run society. You’re not someone to cut corners in order to finish a project or get ahead, and you’re certainly not someone to be sloppy about anything that you do. You understand that chaos creates unpredictability and hazard, but order creates security and structure. You also understand how to utilize your skills in order to form a cohesive team of people, distributing responsibilities with an eye on fairness and objective skill — one of the many reason why you’re often called a “supervisor” and why ESTJs make exceptional leaders.

Integrity and Directness

You’re a very logical person, often prioritizing facts over feelings. Because of this, you are devoted to honesty and truth. You’ll always deliver statements in an informative and straightforward fashion, and you expect everyone around you to do the same.

Dedicated and Relentless

Because of your devotion to truth, you’re also extremely adamant about your beliefs. You don’t take opposition lightly, and you aren’t one to be open to new ideas unless the person presenting them can completely convince you with facts that it’s right. Otherwise, you will relentlessly defend your principles. You’re also extremely dedicated: not just to your ideas, but to any task that is placed before you. Difficult or boring tasks won’t even deter you from finishing the project at hand, and the only thing that will is if the project itself goes against your belief system.

Patient, Loyal, and Reliable

All of these positive traits make ESTJs well rounded and honest people. You take everything you say seriously, and you feel as if every statement you make is a promise. Because of this, you’re an extremely loyal and reliable person to have: whether in a family, office, or a friend group. You’re also willing to put in the time needed to ensure things pan out as planned or that those you care about get what they need. You’re patient and know that all good things come with time and dedication.

ESTJ Cons

Adverse to Change and Unconventional Ideas

As an ESTJ, tradition is extremely important to you. Much of this is due to the fact that you regard customs as being based in facts: it wouldn’t be tradition if it didn’t work. Unfortunately, this means you might be uncomfortable with change, progressive social movements, and unconventional ideas or situations. If you’re unexpectedly faced with change, you can become stressed, and feel as if your traditional approach or methods are being put into question. In some ways, you may feel as if change puts your personal image of reliability at risk: new ideas suggest that yours were wrong or not good enough, and following change can also increase the chances of failure.

Concerned About Image and Tense

Your personal image of reliability is something you take a lot of pride in, and for good reason. However, you’re also commonly caught up in worrying about what other people may think of you: whether you’re being humble enough or being taken seriously. A lot of people in your social circle respect and admire you, but you can so easily get caught up in their expectations. In turn, you can fail to take care of your own needs, and end up hurting or exhausting yourself in the process.Your concern about your social image can also cause you to be extremely stressed and tense. You’re too afraid to cut loose or relax, because you may risk hurting your image or looking foolish to others.

Low Emotional IQ

Just as with many other logical types, you value thinking over feeling or facts over opinions. However, this results in an underdeveloped emotional intelligence: both the ability to read and understand the emotions of others, and the ability to understand and express your personal emotions in a constructive way. People with a more logical mindset, such as yourself, simply don’t understand how to respond empathetically to situations that call for it, and in turn you may wear yourself out emotionally to the point of frustration; possibly even exploding unexpectedly into a rage. You’re much more focused on effective methods and facts, and when others approach you with an emotional appeal, you may reject or hurt them entirely with a callous response.

Stubborn and Judgemental

ESTJs are focused on ideas or methods that work well, and you often are dismissive of other ideas simply because there aren’t enough facts to back up whether or not it will work. Both your ego and worldview could be put into question if you fail, so you’d much rather just do what you know works. Unfortunately, this can make you into a very stubborn and inflexible person, as you’re reluctant to trust the opinions or ideas of others, even though there can always be multiple “right” ways of doing things. However, this can also manifest in you being too judgemental of others: instantly discrediting them because of their ideas and your need for control. Additionally, when people do act out of order or against the grain, you do not hesitate to let them know what you’re thinking. You cannot empathize with chaotic individuals, even though empathy could be something they need in that moment.

Best ESTJ Personality Careers

“I knew that if I worked hard, I could have both — I could have a family, because that was important to me, and I could have a career.” – Judge Judy Sheindlin

ESTJs are known as “supervisors” and “executives,” but that doesn’t mean your career should be focused only on leadership roles. ESTJs can be successful as a charismatic salesperson, a stockbroker, or even as a farmer — 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 ESTJ Types

Your personality loves to plan for the long-term, and planning can be an advantageous approach when choosing your career. If you find there is a specific industry that you’re interested in, you can plan out your course of action: who you will work for, what you will do, and how you will progress up the chain of hierarchy (if you want to work your way up into leadership). In general, you may be drawn to leadership positions because they allow you the opportunity to really showcase your strengths: creating order and organization, upholding structures, and remaining a reliable, responsible, and logical team leader.

Of course, you also want to find a job that doesn’t just allow you to flex your logical muscles, but that also reflects your values: primarily your love of tradition and order. You also want to make sure you work alongside people that are as reliable, organized, and honest as you are. If you can’t rely on your team to get things done, you may feel as if you’ve personally failed, and can become stressed and frustrated. You thrive in environments that reward your work with recognition and added responsibility, as it shows that the company and your boss trust you with your work.

As a reliable person that’s often concerned with your image, you can sometimes get yourself into trouble by taking on too much responsibility. When that happens, you can easily become overworked and suffer from burn out, so be sure to not overencumber yourself.

Other things that ESTJs look for in a career include:

  • Jobs that reward or recognize hard work and self-motivation to complete tasks
  • Minimal or gradual organization change over an extended period of time
  • Personal control over your own projects, office space, and ideas
  • Playing a role where you can make decision and enforce policies or procedures
  • Well-structured work environments that have strict but appropriate rules or guidelines

In general, the best jobs for ESTJ types include the following:

  • Business, Finance, and Sales: Your love for order, tradition, structure, and logic all make you a natural fit for business, finances, and sales. Within business environments, you can easily climb your way up the managerial ladder, eventually becoming a project lead or a manager of a team of people. If you do decide to pursue a business career, make sure you avoid startups, as they can suffer from a volatile beginning and change happens rapidly and often in order to perfect their business. Instead, more well established businesses would be best for you. Finances tend to play well off your love for tradition, attention to detail, and thorough organization. You also are diligent about finishing projects on time and on budget, which makes you a valuable worker for any office. Within sales, you can keep yourself motivated to succeed due to your love of hard work, dedication to honesty, and your principles.
    • Business
      • Chief Information Officer
      • Database Administrator
      • Insurance Agent
      • Management Consultant
      • Non-Profit Manager
      • Office Manager
      • Project Manager
      • Public Administrator
      • Finance and Sales
      • Auditor
      • Budget Analyst
      • Chief Financial Officer
      • Cost Estimator
      • Credit Analyst
      • Financial Counselor
      • Purchasing Agent
      • Sales Engineer
      • Sales Manager
      • Stockbroker
  • Construction and Real Estate: Construction can be an ideal calling for ESTJs, as you not only have the opportunity to control and oversee projects, but you can also use your logical mind to plan out and complete construction builds. Whether you’re doing a long-term project, such as building a highway as a civil engineer, or doing smaller builds, you can work your way up to a managerial position easily and showcase your strengths. As for real estate, the strengths are very similar to sales: practicing self-motivation, relying on honesty and logic to win over clients, and sticking to your principles and plans to see sales through to the end. Another unique skill that ESTJs have is your ability to make even the most mountainous pile of paperwork look organized, easy, and manageable to others: something that can certainly come in handy with sales or real estate positions.
    • Building Inspector
    • Civil Engineer
    • General Contractor
    • Industrial Engineer
    • Property Manager
    • Real Estate Agent
    • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Healthcare, Physical Fitness, and Education: Your love for tradition and structure fits well within well-established industries such as healthcare, sports, and education. Within healthcare and education, you may want to avoid more emotionally-demanding positions, as you may not have the capacity to provide empathy when it’s needed. However, in leadership roles, such as a school principle or hospital administrator, you can flourish with the ability to uphold rules and guidelines, and the chance to have increased responsibility in your office. As an athletic trainer, you can work on creating long-term plans for others, as well as creating strict guidelines for athletes under your care.
    • Healthcare and Physical Fitness
      • Athletic Trainer
      • Dentist
      • Hospital Administrator
      • Pharmacist
      • Physician
      • Education
      • School Principal
      • Vocational Teacher
  • Legal and Protective Services: A natural fit for ESTJs, the legal and protective service industry doesn’t just provide you with responsibilities, but the direct power to uphold structures within your community. As someone that is so drawn to tradition and order, combined with your love of facts and logic, you could be a studious judge or military officer. Plus, many of the cultures within legal and protective services match your personal values and principles, meaning you’ll most likely be working alongside equally competent and respectable individuals.
    • Attorney
    • Judge
    • Military Officer or Private
    • Paralegal
    • Police Officer
  • Transportation and Other Trades: Finally, your skills can also be utilized within the transportation sector, as well as a handful of other traditional callings. Within transportation, you can utilize your attraction to facts to be a knowledgeable and proficient engineer or pilot. As for many of the other callings, many of them are based on traditional roles, upholding structure, and utilizing your logic and long-term planning skills.
    • Transportation
      • Airline Pilot
      • Flight Engineer
      • Mechanical Engineer
    • Other Trades
      • Chef
      • Factory Supervisor
      • Farmer or Rancher
      • Funeral Director
      • Hotel Manager
      • Restaurant Owner

Highest Paying ESTJ Careers

Your personality is a natural fit for leadership positions, and lucky that means you can very easily earn a comfortable paycheck. All it takes is time and dedication to your career: two very natural strengths that you already have. Plus, with your ability to not only plan for the long-term, but actually stick to your plan as well, you can set lofty goals for yourself and have the patience to see them through till the end.

As an ESTJ, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find a career that pays handsomely, as many of the industries that best fit your personality are competitive careers. From engineering to pharmaceuticals, financial planning to hotel management, or project management to attorney: all of these industries have the potential to grow into something very financially stable.

As a dedicated and hard working individual, almost any industry will be grateful and appreciative of your labor. 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.

ESTJ Careers to Avoid

“I’m the kind of person who does not want to be anywhere that I’m not wanted.” – Alec Baldwin

It should be noted that ESTJs — 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.

Traditionally, ESTJs do not enjoy working in rapidly changing environments, as following new ideas that might lead to failure can be risky for your personal image of being a reliable worker. You’re also not someone that has the emotional capacity needed for jobs within social work, child care, teaching, or nursing. You may come off as too callous or cold, and those you work with might not trust you to respond appropriately. Finally, you’re not a very crafty person, as your creativity is often used on making plans and organizing your life. Because of this, you may struggle as an actor, artist, writer, or designer.

In general, ESTJs would not enjoy working within these industries or positions:

  • Actor
  • Art Director
  • Artist
  • Child Care Provider
  • Cosmetologist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Librarian
  • Musician
  • Nurse’s Aide
  • Physical Therapist
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • Recreation Worker
  • Restaurant Host
  • Social Scientist
  • Social Worker
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Writer

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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 July 5, 2018. It was originally published July 3, 2018.