Leah Thomas
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ISTP, known by some as "The Craftsman," is one of the personality types identified and outlined by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers of the Myers-Briggs fame. ISTP stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving. 

Those who are categorized as ISTP get their energy from being alone, rather than being around others. This type enjoys working with the cold, hard facts, rather than studying more abstract ideas. ISTPs make decisions based on logic and reasoning. However, they often enjoy being spontaneous instead of planning every detail of their lives.

It can be helpful to analyze your personality type when choosing a career path in order to identify what will make you happy in a job. For example, if you discover you are more introverted, a cold calling sales position is probably not for you, and if you enjoy working with cold-hard facts, you may enjoy a career involving mathematics or science, rather than art or philosophy.

ISTPs in the Workplace

ISTPs are typically independent in the workplace — they don’t require a lot of supervision. They hold themselves accountable for remembering meetings and assignments, and they do not need someone on top of them constantly hounding them to stay busy and be productive.

They are also very adaptable — ISTPs will respond well to change in the workplace. They are able to process a change and adjust themselves accordingly without fuss. They are also very attentive. They pay attention to what is happening around them and with their responsibilities, meaning they are normally prepared for whatever may come their way and respond well to emergencies.

As Managers

ISTPs can make great managers, as they are incredibly independent and driven. They may not be suitable for everyone though. ISTPs don’t enact strict boundaries when it comes to their employees, and they are not very talkative either, unless necessary, providing little feedback if any at all. But they are great with conflict resolution. ISTPs are talented at coming up with reasonable third-party solutions in these situations. And ISTPs are known for their great senses of humor that they utilize in uncomfortable situations like potential conflicts to defuse the tension.

As Subordinates

ISTPs as employees prefer to be given space to work and make their own decisions and mistakes. They are loyal to managers and are very hard working. They are dedicated to their careers, but they enjoy having an independent office environment. They tend to get in a funk when forced to perform under strict watch and guidelines, and they do not respond the best to criticism initially. ISTPs also have a unique, more direct way of communicating. They do not like to beat around the bush, and they don’t want their managers to do so either. 

Best ISTP Career Choices

ISTPs are versatile in their career choices. They need and crave change and unexpected challenges in their careers. They enjoy solving problems by coming up with their own solutions. ISTPs prefer unique problems with practical solutions. And they love working with their hands to discover how things are put together, how tools work and more. A lot of ISTPs end up in careers involving engineering, mechanics, architecture and more.

We’ve outlined a few common careers that work well with the ISTP personality.

  • Engineer

It doesn’t really matter what type of engineering — mechanical, civil, electric, etc. — as all engineering involves working with one’s logic and for many, their hands, to solve problems. 

  • Carpenter

Carpenters use tools to solve unique problems every day. ISTPs are able to use their problem-solving abilities in a field that is constantly innovating.

  • Firefighter

As mentioned before, ISTPs enjoy unpredictability. Which is why a lot of first responder fields work well with ISTPs — each day is different and requires discovering solutions in the face of emergencies.

  • Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists also offer a sense of unpredictability in the workplace. They use problem-solving skills to solve a crime, each crime unique from the last. This position would keep ISTPs interested in their field.

Software developers use their skills in fact-based subjects like mathematics and computer science on a daily basis. And ISTPs are able to see the finished product that they worked to complete, which can be used as motivation for this personality type.

The Worst Careers for the ISTP Personality Type

ISTPs, while very versatile when it comes to career choice and success, should choose a field that allows them the work environment they thrive in. They should avoid predictable, strict schedule positions that prevent them from working with their hands and at their own pace.

While all personality types are capable of being successful and happy in essentially all jobs, these career paths have been found to be the least desirable to ISTPs.

  • Social Worker

ISTPs have a very straightforward and blunt way of communicating with others. They do not apply a lot of empathy to their conversations either, making social work a difficult field for them to work in.

  • Receptionist

Because ISTPs enjoy working on their own schedule and not under the strict eye of a superior, receptionist may not be the best career path for this personality type.

  • Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists work in a field without black-and-white answers. ISTPs enjoy the hard rights and wrongs of maths and sciences, and may become frustrated with a more trial and error field.

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

ISTPs should highlight their strengths in the job search and interview process. ISTPs are optimistic and cheerful, bringing great energy to the interview. They are creative and should come with their own ideas on how they would take on the potential position and improve on the work that has been done in the past.

ISTPs do have a tendency to focus on the “now,” which makes them great in crisis mode, but they struggle to prepare for the future. This personality type should prepare future goals they want to accomplish within a position in order to combat this weakness. They also not the best with emotional sensitivity and should prepare to come off more sensitive in an interview setting, ensuring your thoughts are not taken the wrong way. 

ISTPs should also refrain from mentioning their dislike for long-term commitment, as well as their tendency to get bored easily, as these might not bode well with a potential employer. But ISTPs should consider these aspects of their personalities when looking for jobs: search for a position that offers new and exciting tasks each day to keep you entertained. 

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