The Meyers-Briggs type of George Washington, Natalie Portman, Queen Elizabeth II, Harry Truman, Warren Buffett, Queen Victoria, George H.W. Bush, Sigmund Freud, and J.D. Rockefeller, and many others, the introverted, sensing, thinking, judging personality is one of the most common in the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. ISTJs are considered honest, reliable, pragmatic, and stable—skills that are often highly valuable and sought-after in a wide variety of roles and industries.
What are the top ISTJ careers, and how can people with this personality type best utilize their skill sets? Read on to find out!
ISTJs in the Workplace
As a dedicated, goal-oriented professional, the ISTJ is methodical and prefers structure. Often, these individuals seek leadership positions and those that can allow them to exercise their independence. While they are not averse to teamwork, they will do best on teams in which there is a strong hierarchical structure in place and everyone’s responsibilities and tasks are clearly delegated and defined. ISTJ types do not appreciate having to rely on others to complete tasks they can do themselves.
Given their responsible, goal-oriented natures, ISTJs thrive in management and leadership roles. Just as they exhibit dedication and diligence, they expect the same from their subordinates. This personality type also appreciates structure and hierarchy, so ISTJ managers are unlikely to respond well when their employees attempt a different way of doing established procedures or, worse, fail to do what is expected of them.
Because of their sometimes rigid work style, they may veer toward micromanagement or fail to delegate if they believe they can complete a task better than an employee can.
They expect facts and data to back up their work and demand this from their employees as well. They are also not afraid of making hard decisions and doling out criticism, should the need arise.
As subordinates, ISTJs are able to tackle a myriad of tasks and projects, provided there is an established structure in place for completing them. However, they may have a difficult time sharing responsibilities with others or working on teams to complete tasks.
Given their love of structure, ISTJs are willing and even eager to adhere to hierarchies and have no trouble following the command of leadership figures. They are also extremely diligent when completing their work.
Best ISTJ Career Choices
With their dependability and diligence, as well as their need for structure, ISTJs work best in stable environments with established structures. As long as there are a hierarchy and clear division between roles, ISTJs can work well on teams, although they may prefer to complete their work independently.
Roles that depend on accuracy, deadlines, and facts are the best career paths for ISTJs. Some of the best ISTJ careers include:
• Banking and finance
ISTJ’s attention to detail and honest natures make financial careers good roles. Some possible choices include accountant, auditor, bank teller, financial advisors, and other related roles.
• Real estate and property management
Given that these roles require directness and orderliness, they make ideal careers for ISTJs.
• Information technology
Computer engineers, IT support managers, web developers, software developers, and similar roles require the structure and diligence that are the hallmarks of the ISTJ personality type.
Positions in the healthcare fields, especially physicians, surgeons, and dentists, are ideal for ISTJ because they have prescribed structures and afford professionals a great deal of responsibility.
• Business and accounting
The order and organization of the business world make it a good fit for ISTJs. They will do particularly well in positions such as business analyst and CPA.
Law and order is the backbone of an ISTJ, so this personality type thrives in legal professions, including attorney and paralegal, as well as criminal justice roles.
• Civil engineering
ISTJs have strong attention to detail, which makes civil engineering a good career choice. Their decision-making abilities are also helpful in this role.
Bookkeeping, office management, and other administrative roles allow ISTJs to exhibit their practical, organizational skills, as well as attention to detail.
How to Find the Right Career for Your Type’s Strengths and Weaknesses
As with most careers, ISTJs generally find jobs through a combination of applying to job listings, job search websites, and networking. Because they appreciate structure, they may find it helpful to create a plan of action and use a methodical way of tackling their job hunt. For example, they might commit to applying to a certain number of positions every day.
ISTJs’ dependability and appreciation for hierarchy will also make them diligent interns, and they may find that their work ethic will open doors within their starting organizations or create connections that can help them land future roles.
The Worst Careers for the ISTJ Personality Type
While there are exceptions, of course, and you are likely to find a given personality type in a wide range of careers, ISTJs are less likely to thrive in environments that require a high degree of innovation or working with others in an unstructured environment. Some of the least suitable ISTJ careers include:
• Public relations
As introverts, ISTJs prefer to stay out of the public eye. PR requires a high degree of public interaction that this personality type doesn’t relish.
• Art and design
Not known for their innovation, ISTJs tend to stick to orderly jobs that have a structure in place, rather than more creative work.
Given the lack of structure and frequent interaction with others, journalism is unlikely to appeal to ISTJs.
Again, the type of interpersonal communication required of psychologists may be difficult for ISTJs.
ISTJs aren’t known for their patience, and given the lack of structure associated with working with children, they may find teaching a difficult career path.
Bartending, waiting tables, and other hospitality roles demand a good deal of schmoozing that simply isn’t a strength (or preferred task) of an ISTJ.
• Retail sales
As with positions in the hospitality industry, retail sales positions often involve small talk and interaction, skills with which ISTJ personality types tend to be comfortable.