This series of articles is devoted to Myers-Briggs personality types and recommended jobs for each type. First up: ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception).
But first, about the Myers-Briggs personality test
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool used to determine 16 different personality types through a series of questions. Each type is given a four-letter acronym based on four different psychological scales:
- Attitude: Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
- Awareness: Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
- Decision-making: Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
- World-view: Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)
The results of the MBTI can be helpful in academic and professional settings; many colleges offer the assessment to help students discover their best-fit majors, careers, and more. Be sure to ask your school’s career services office if they offer the test, or you can find similar options online for free, like this one.
MBTI personalities are very popular, but the assessment has also warranted criticism. So, as a warning, any suggestions I give should not keep you from enjoying a career that doesn’t “match” your personality type. This should just be considered a fun assessment that hopefully gives you some insights about yourself and potential careers you may enjoy.
About ENTP personalities
Known as “inventors,” “lawyers,” and “debaters,” ENTPs love intellectual sparring. It’s not good enough for them to understand something; they have to prove it.
As far as extraverts go, they can be pretty introverted. This contradiction (one of many for the type) stems from the fact that, unlike most extraverts, they need alone time. But instead of using alone time to recharge, ENTPs use it to prep. They are often obsessed about self-improvement. Speaking to one can be an experience: they find conversation as a means to express ideas rather than pretending they like people, so they can be blunt.
They lean toward intuition, and they are mean machines at brainstorming and debating. They are also often fascinated with theories and ideas. This mix makes them rogue scholar types who like to work alone.
Their perceiving trait is a blessing and a curse. Their lack of organization often gets the best of them. They’re great at focusing, but they change their focus so rapidly that they are often unable to stick to certain projects or even careers. For them to be satisfied, they must always be facing new problems or else risk getting bored.
ENTP wish list
When it comes to careers, every personality type wants to sync their career with themselves. An ENTP’s wish list would probably look like this:
- Ability to have ideas heard
- No mundane, repetitive tasks
- Exciting work
- Intellectually challenging
- Encourages creativity
- Possibility of debate
Top ENTP careers
Any careers come to mind after reading the wish list? Time to use some ENTP brainstorming power.
Though not for the faint of heart, a career as a writer is surprisingly fitting for ENTPs. I like to call this “original research” because very little information about ENTPs suggests such a career for them. But the wish list is satisfied completely. Of course, it depends on the topic. But their insights and arguments can make them successful in a range of genres, from self-help books to dystopian novels. They can make arguments and respond to the arguments of others, just on paper instead of a debate team. And they could work for any kind of employer, like a newspaper, but would most likely be self-employed.
Whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, or one of those parties that never win, ENTPs are drawn to politics. Is it the debate, the excitement, or the soapbox that turn ENTPs to the dark side? A mix of the three makes it hard to resist. It’s hard to break into a political career, but if you have the connections—go for it. It will most likely be fulfilling, as it fits with the skills and wish list of an ENTP nicely.
When most people think of careers involving debating, attorneys are often first on the list. ENTPs would most likely find a courtroom thrilling. They’re there to make arguments, and people are forced to debate and listen to them! But why the low score? While law shows on TV are filled with drama and excitement, there’s much behind-the-scenes work cut out. Lawyers of every type must sweat over boring legal documents most of the day and follow strict guidelines and rules that stifle creativity—plus the flexibility is minimal.
I’m sure you're probably sick of four-letter acronyms in all caps, but here’s one more. While STEM is a terrifyingly broad subject, I’ll make some grotesque generalizations to keep things snappy. STEM is all about the word ENTPs fear most: specialization. Modern STEM is definitely engaging to an ENTP, but it could get dry and boring to them. Social science can be less brittle with subject matter and often draws many ENTP personality types. But you may find a niche in STEM that can satisfy you, so this career should definitely not be discounted. (As an Engineering major, I can vouch for that.)
Business is all about influence, so ENTPs can excel in many areas. It can be repetitive at times with administrative duties, but the high stakes of some business careers can be enticing for ENTPs. Most important is that their ideas can often be heard. They can benefit from brainstorming sessions, and with the flexibility in business, they can always shift careers.
Other notable careers
Professor (5/8), medical doctor (4/8)
While accountants have really cool jobs, for an ENTP, it’s like waking up from a nightmare and realizing that, yes, it’s a nightmare in the real world too.
Imagine being an ENTP. Now imagine sitting at a computer, staring at a spreadsheet of numbers. Your boss comes in and says, “Do these numbers instead.” You have no choice but to mutilate another database of dollar signs. As you struggle to focus, you see something that brings joy to your heart. You notice that if you set things up another way, it’ll be more efficient. You begin to reorganize your spreadsheet the new way, but then you pause. You should probably run it by your boss first. So you skip down the hall to tell your boss the good news. You burst open the door. She’s doing boss accountant work but manages to peel her eyes from the numbers to look at you. You tell her your great idea. She pauses, then says, “How about you just keep the database the same? It is easier to read that way.” You drag your feet back to your cubicle, then calculate with your accounting superpowers that you have 34 more years until you’re eligible for retirement. With your eyes reverting to lifeless voids, you return to the minesweeper of money.
Did we miss any prime ENTP careers? Let us know in the comments! And look out for Dawson’s next installment: top careers for INTP personality types.