ESTP Careers: Find the Job That Fits Your Personality

ESTP and coworker laughing

Adobe Stock

Profile Picture

One of the rarer Meyers Briggs personality types, Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving (ESTP) individuals are the risk takers among us. They tend to be passionate, dynamic, social, and adaptable to many different types of situations and settings. Famous ESTPs include Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Winston Churchill, Mae West, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis, Madonna, Evel Knievel, Lucille Ball, and Jack Nicholson.

ESTPs bring the fun to social situations, but how do they act in the workplace—and what workplaces are most suitable for them? Here is what you should know about the best and worst ESTP careers.

ESTPs in the Workplace

With their fun-loving spirit and extraverted natures, ESTPs thrive best in flexible environments where they can solve problems on their feet and lead the pack. While they are adaptable to different types of situations, structured workplaces with little wiggle room will present a problem for ESTPs. Many ESTPs have an entrepreneurial spirit.

As Managers

Following the rules and structures outlined by others can be somewhat challenging for ESTPs, so managerial roles are where they find their forte, particularly when they can experiment with new approaches and ideas.

While these personalities tend to be high-energy and, at times, chaotic, ultimately, ESTP managers are good at solving problems and taking the lead in crises. Long-term planning is less of a strength, and subordinates may find that they have to work without much structure or methodology under an ESTP boss. Still, these personality types do believe in setting measurable goals; it’s just the path on the way there that may be tricky to navigate.

As Subordinates

ESTPs do not appreciate having to follow the rules others set for them. They prefer instead to set their own rules—or make them up as they go along. They will not do well under a micromanaging leader. This can make it difficult for the ESTP to be a subordinate.

If you are managing an ESTP, you can expect her to find more exciting tasks and challenges to replace the mundane ones. This, of course, can be both rewarding and challenging in the workplace, since the ESTP employee may develop innovative and creative ideas while neglecting more rote but still necessary assignments. On teams, they will prefer to work with openminded colleagues, rather than those who believe in following rules, particularly ones that don’t have concrete reasons behind them (i.e. they are in place because that’s the way the organization has always done things). They will not get along well with those who don’t agree with or won’t go along with their ideas.

Best ESTP Career Choices

ESTPs do best in careers that allow them to make bold decisions and think quickly on their feet. Some great careers for this personality type include:

• Emergency response

Occupations like a police officer, EMT, paramedic, and military personnel are ideal for ESTPs because they require quick action and thinking on one’s feet.

• Athletics

Making quick, bold choices is the hallmark of a great athlete, and ESTPs are very skilled at this.

• Sales and marketing

ESTPs tend to be charming an persuasive, as well as innovative—key traits for sales and marketing professionals.

• Acting

ESTPs enjoy being the center of attention, so it’s no surprise that they are often drawn to the stage. (It’s also no surprise that many famous ESTPs are actors.) They are also known for their competitive spirit.

• Investigation

ESTPs are quick on their feet and adaptable, which comes in handy if they are working as detectives.

• Management

As natural leaders, ESTPs prefer environments where they can develop their own ideas and make things happen.

• Entertainment production

The entertainment world is ideal for ESTPs, who love making their creative ideas come to fruition.

• Entrepreneurship

Not only does entrepreneurship enable ESTPs to think boldly and creatively, but it also allows them to bring people who will listen to their ideas together.

How to Find the Right Career for Your Type’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Networking can be the ESTP’s best friend when it comes to finding a new job or career path. These fun-loving, personable individuals will easily charm and persuade potential connections. Given their extraverted nature, they will also have no trouble putting themselves out there at networking events, parties, and other situations to build their networks.

Given their bold personalities, ESTPs may also find career prospects by sending cold letters and letters of inquiry to prospective employers. This type of communication—informing organizations of your interest in working with them without responding to a specific job posting or opening—can be very effective, because you are not competing with other applicants. Since ESTPs thrive on developing bold ideas and trying out new strategies, they may find success by taking risks and convincing others of their value this way.

Of course, no job searcher should neglect job boards and job search sites. Some job applicants find success applying to openings through these more traditional venues, and while networking and exploring other ideas, ESTPs should continue to search and apply for jobs online.

The Worst Careers for the ESTP Personality Type

ESTPs prefer environments where they can exercise their creative thinking and develop strategies quickly and on their feet. Environments that are highly structured—or worse, come with micromanaging bosses—will present a problem for this personality type. Furthermore, work that requires extensive alone time or depends on responding to the emotional needs of others can be difficult for ESTPs as well. Some careers they should avoid include:

• Psychology

Sensitivity and listening to others are not strengths of ESTPs, which makes psychology a difficult career path for them.

• Writing

Writing requires concentration and, at times, solitude. ESTPs prefer having an audience off of which to bounce their sometimes sporadic ideas.

• Librarianship and museum curation

ESTPs prefer new, exciting ideas and environments as opposed to collecting and preserving things like books and artifacts. They would find environments like libraries and museums quite dull.

• Theology

Clergy must have a level of seriousness and sensitivity ESTPs just don’t tend to have. Plus, ESTPs would not adapt well to the structured environment of places of worship.

• Academics

ESTPs prefer exciting environments where they can generate new ideas, rather than research and teach established concepts. They would find academic settings overly rigid for their personalities.

• Accounting

Repetition is not appealing to ESTPs. They also tend to eschew rule-based, structured work. 

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!