This series of articles is devoted to Myers-Briggs personality types and recommended jobs for each type. Up next: ISTJ (introversion, sensing, thinking, judging).
To learn more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, click here. And remember: this is just a fun, non-scientific assessment that hopefully gives you some insights about yourself and potential careers you may enjoy. Also, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
About ISTJ personalities
ISTJs don’t really need career advice. They know what career they’re going to pursue by middle school.
ISTJs spend their introverted time figuring stuff out and executing actions once they’ve figured it out. They like things better than people because things tend to stay still, or at least move in ways that can be modeled by mathematical formulas. People are too unpredictable.
Being sensors and thinkers, ISTJs are realistic but cerebral. They love to figure out complex problems with their hands. When presented a problem with many parts, they see each part working in order. As straightforward problem solvers, they’re ultra efficient.
ISTJs are all about knowing what to do next and not changing their minds. As judgers, they like order. They make plans and stick to them. Once they make their decisions, they don’t dwell on them; they just journey down the road until the next fork.
ISTJ wish list
When it comes to careers, every personality type wants to sync their career with themselves. An ISTJ's wish list would probably look like this:
3. In line with personal beliefs
4. Obvious hierarchy/ladder climbing
5. More inanimate objects than animate
7. Sequential work
Top ISTJ careers
Do you ever wonder how the Dewey Decimal system works? Do you ponder the most efficient ways to get people information? Me neither. But if you pursue a career as a librarian, those strategies need to be configured. Of course, when the question is strategic organization, the answer is ISTJs. Their skills are applicable to this career dating back thousands of years.
Spreadsheets and numbers are music to ISTJs’ ears. Everything is rational and easily manipulated. There are many who would find the work of an accountant dry, but to an ISTJ, accounting is their idealized world. They may not find it fulfilling finding tax breaks for the 1%, so many ISTJ accountants can be found working with lower-income communities to maximize their returns.
Related: Math Majors and Potential Jobs
Police officer (5/7—tied for third)
ISTJs like rules. So why not enforce rules? Police officers have to make tough decisions led by their protocol every day. They can be drawn by the chance to make a difference in the world. Responsibility draws them to the career instead of deterring them. The only real issue is that police have to deal with people more than most ISTJs would like. Not to mention, many of those interactions include people breaking the law in some form. But for anyone who can pass that threshold, a fulfilling career awaits them.
Lawyer (5/7—tied for third)
Law has many intricacies to be managed by cerebral, rule-following people. There may be a lot of person-to-person interaction in the field, especially in litigation, but there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes work that doesn’t get much attention in television shows. This work, like drafting motions and studying cases, is the biggest draw for ISTJs.
Few would think ISTJs would want a career managing people, but they love to take things that are unmanageable (people) and manage them. Along with any business career is the possibility for entrepreneurship, but ISTJs would most likely stay away from such instability. Instead, many ISTJs opt for climbing the tall corporate ladder.
Other notable careers
Farmer (4/7), engineer (3/7)
College career counselor
You knew what you wanted to do for a living since you were three, like any good ISTJ. However, you probably should have given it a little more thought. Turns out helping 15 different MBTI personality types find fulfilling careers is like watching birds fly when you’re a jet plane.
Another Engineering student enters your office. “Hi, I want to change majors. Mathematics just isn’t for me. I was thinking either Biomedical Engineering or English. What do you think?”
You take a deep breath and give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, you’ve begun to doubt your own career decisions.
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