ISFJ Career Matches and Mismatches

Katie McBeth
ISFJ
Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you’re an ISFJ, then you’re in good company. These famous people are all believed to share your personality type: Vin Diesel, Halle Berry, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Beyoncé, Rosa Parks, Michael Caine, and Agatha Christie.

ISFJ stands for introversion (I), sensing (S), feeling (F), and judgment (J).

  • Introversion: You tend to be quieter and reserved, you prefer small groups of friends over large circles of friends, and you expend energy in social situations, but recharge when by yourself (introversion).
  • Sensing: 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).
  • Feeling: You often give more weight to social implications than logic, especially in cases where personal considerations or feelings are concerned (feeling).
  • Judging: You rely on controlling what you can by making decisions early, predicting outcomes, and sticking to plans — predictability is your preference over spontaneity.

What is an ISFJ?

ISFJs are called defenders and protectors. As an INFJ, you’re altruistic, kind, engaged, and generous. Your introverted personality may make you appear reserved or sensitive, but you’re great at holding strong friendships. You’re open to new ideas, receptive to change, generous, have excellent people skills, and are an extremely hard worker.

If you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, then you may be wondering what this personality type says about you. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how can they be applied to your career or financial habits? 

ISFJ Financial Habits

Your personality is both organized and strict: you like to stick to a schedule and take care of stressors before they become too insurmountable. As an ISFJ, you want to spend as much time with your loved ones as possible. Oftentimes, the more practical aspects of being alive can take up too much of your time.

Detail Oriented

Luckily, your attention to detail and organization can come in handy when it comes to your finances. You may not want to spend too much time organizing your checkbook or paying bills, but you know how important it is to stay on top of these tasks. This is why it can be so beneficial for you to create a strict and detailed budget for yourself

Additionally, if you take the extra step of creating automatic payments on accounts and signing up for or creating an online budget planner, you can spend even less time worrying about your money, and more time being with your family.

Traditionalist

However, your personality can also get in the way of financial success due to your very traditionalist leanings. You may open a credit card or savings account with an old bank, and never decide to look for better options elsewhere. 

In the long run, you’ll be losing out on golden opportunities, and you may find it daunting to find better deals. 

The best thing you can do in this situation is to be diligent and research all your options, such as where can you get a better deal on a credit card, or how can you negotiate a lower annual percentage rate (APR)

Financially Selfless

Another problem you may face as an ISFJ has to do with your love of family — but your supportive nature doesn’t have to mean squandering your own money to help them succeed. 

Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure or ruining your credit score by enthusiastically helping your family during financial hardships. Do your best to separate your personal relationships from your finances.

Best Career Matches for ISFJ Types

Your inherent talents as an ISFJ make you a well-rounded and dedicated worker. Your personality type is the cornerstone of the modern workforce. Eager to serve and help others, ISFJs flourish when people are able to appreciate and thank you for your assistance.

You find practical solutions to everyday problems, and you enjoy chances to calm frustrations or let others vent to you. You also have an excellent memory for faces, people, events, and even the most minor of details. No matter what workforce you join, you’ll be well-liked for your skills and dedication.

However, you’re not someone to seek out positions of authority. Although you might excel at helping others reach their greatest potential, you don’t enjoy being in the spotlight and have little patience for bureaucracy or corporate politics. 

Luckily, you’re respectful of traditions, and climbing the corporate ladder isn’t something you’re completely unwilling to do. Eventually, you may work your way up to a high-paying managerial position (without actively seeking it out), and you’ll do well thanks to your empathy and practicality.

Some of the best careers for ISFJ types include:

Administrative, Business, Finance, and Management

Many of the jobs within the administrative, business, finance, and management realm of work require skills that ISFJs naturally have. These include but are not limited to: organization, problem solving, practicality, empathy and listening skills, memory retention, and desire. 

Whether you find happiness in a job like accounting or looking for a job in real estate management, you’ll have the disposition to perform each of them well.

Careers in Administrative and Office Support:

  • Customer service representative;
  • Information assistant or clerk;
  • Office clerk;
  • Postal service worker;
  • Receptionist;
  • Secretary or administrative assistant.

Careers in Business:

  • Actuary;
  • Event, convention, or meeting planner;
  • Human resources specialist;
  • Job analysis specialist;
  • Real estate appraiser or assessor;
  • Sales agent;
  • Tax assessor, collector, or agent.

Careers in Finance:

  • Bank teller;
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerk;
  • Certified public accountant (CPA);
  • Financial assistant or advisor (business or personal);
  • Financial clerk;
  • Loan officer;
  • Purchasing manager, buyer, or agent.

Careers in Management:

  • Community association manager;
  • Non-profit business manager;
  • Property or real estate manager.

Community Services and Education

Education and community services is another area of work that requires inherent ISFJ skills. Your kindness and desire to work one on one with people can help students excel in education or within their community. 

Within community service, you can not only help others find practical solutions to problems, but you can also be recognized and appreciated for the work you put into changing and enhancing your community. Many of the callings in this list are perfect for the ISFJ type.

Careers in Community Services:

  • Correctional treatment specialist;
  • Non-profit associate;
  • Probation officer;
  • Social or human services assistant;
  • Social worker.

Careers in Education:

  • College administrator;
  • K-12 educator or administrator;
  • Librarian;
  • Library technician or assistant;
  • Preschool or childcare center director;
  • Teacher assistant.

Careers in Training:

  • Athletic trainer;
  • Career or technical school educator or administrator;
  • Instructional coordinator.

The Trades: Construction, Architecture, and Engineering

Although trades work is more oriented towards technical minds, your inherent ISFJ traits can help you succeed in several of the trades

You’ll be able to work one on one with people who need assistance — whether that’s installing new hardwood floors or fixing up cars — and your attention to detail and memory will help you become a skilled and knowledgeable mechanic or technician. 

Additionally, your clients will be able to appreciate and reward you for your work without thrusting you into the spotlight, unlike a corporate-style environment might do. Plus, there are several high-paying trade and engineering jobs you may enjoy.

Careers in Construction and Architecture:

  • Carpenter;
  • Construction or building inspector;
  • Electrician;
  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning installer or mechanic;
  • Painter;
  • Plumber;
  • Woodworker.

Careers in Engineering:

  • Automotive technician, mechanic, or engineer;
  • Biomedical engineer;
  • Electrical engineer or technician;
  • Environmental engineer;
  • Health and safety engineer.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is the perfect — and the preferred — calling of many ISFJs. Although you may have no intention of becoming a doctor or specialist, you can excel as a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, or even an orderly. 

You’ll work independently with individuals, helping them meet their goal of becoming healthy again, and can also work alongside like-minded individuals. 

Not only does this industry have a plethora of history (which is always attractive to ISFJs), but it also has very organized and slow organizational change. Where others might be frustrated with the slow transitions that the medical industry can make, you can remain comfortable and confident with your abilities and the flow of the industry. 

What’s more, there are several high-paying careers in healthcare that are perfect for the ISFJ personality type. 

  • Cardiovascular specialist or technician;
  • Dental assistant or hygienist, or dentist;
  • Licensed practical nurse;
  • Medical assistant;
  • Medical or clinical laboratory technician;
  • Nursing assistant or orderly;
  • Nurse practitioner or administrator;
  • Optometrist;
  • Pharmacist;
  • Phlebotomist;
  • Physicians assistant;
  • Surgeon;
  • Veterinary assistant or animal caretaker.

Legal and Protection Services

Another industry that provides you with one on one opportunities with others is the legal or protective services industry. You can use your organizational skills and empathy to become an exceptional legal advisor or mediator. 

Alternatively, you can work in a more physical role, such as surveillance or correctional officer. Of course, you also want to do good for others, so it can be tough to work in more demanding or military-like environments (such as federal prisons), but quieter versions of these jobs can be a perfect fit for ISFJs.

  • Correctional officer;
  • Court reporter;
  • Firefighter;
  • Paralegal or legal assistant;
  • Police officer or detective;
  • Security guard or surveillance officer.

Social and Physical Sciences

Lastly, social and physical sciences can also provide a few good opportunities for ISFJs. Many of these jobs require a detail-oriented individual that is willing to work independently and quietly on meeting manageable goals or expectations. 

You can also feel fulfilled knowing that you’re doing something good for your local community or even the entire world.

  • Agricultural or food scientist or science technician;
  • Biological technician;
  • Environmental scientist or specialist;
  • Forensic science technician;
  • Forest and conservation scientist, worker, or technician.

Highest-Paying ISFJ Careers

As such an essential part of the modern workforce, ISFJs have a lot of potential to make a decent living through your work. Like any other personality type, though, the best option is usually to find a calling and stick with it for the long hall. 

It’s through dedication, time, and perseverance that you can really make a comfortable living and become an expert in your field.

Luckily for ISFJs, sticking with a single career for most of life isn’t a difficult thing to ask. You’re comfortable with familiar environments, and are overwhelmed by dramatic changes such as career shifts. 

Once you find a calling that really speaks to you and lets you use your talents, you’ll most likely remain in that industry for the rest of your career.

This can provide you with ample opportunities for growth within the hierarchy of that industry, and you may eventually work your way up to more prominent and well-paid managerial roles. Although you might not actively seek out those opportunities, it could be within your best interest to pursue promotions or new positions when they open up or when one is recommended to you.

Careers to Avoid as an ISFJ

“When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.” — Beyoncé Knowles

It should be noted that ISFJs — 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 you might even suffer from burnout. It could be that you need to quit your job and switch career paths.

ISFJs do not like to be in the spotlight, prefer to work with people over numbers, and aren’t very comfortable with abstract concepts or sudden change. Because of this, you certainly wouldn’t enjoy working as an actor or mechanical engineer, and you would be confused or overwhelmed working in a rapidly evolving field such as marketing. 

You also prefer to work with people directly, so being a journalist or copywriter would be a little too impersonal for your taste. Lastly, you flourish in positive environments, but more strict and rigid environments such as military work might be too negative for your tastes.

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

  • Actor;
  • Art director;
  • Attorney;
  • Chemist;
  • Copywriter;
  • Economist;
  • C-suite;
  • Insurance agent;
  • Journalist;
  • Management consultant;
  • Marketing manager;
  • Market researcher;
  • Mechanical engineer;
  • Military officer or private;
  • Photographer;
  • Sales manager;
  • Social scientist.

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