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Career Planning: Personality & Careers: INFP


Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving - INFPs represent approximately 1% of the population. INFPs are highly intuitive about people. They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive themselves hard in their quest for achieving the goals they have identified for themselves. They rely heavily on their intuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. They are on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP's value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help the INFP define or refine their own path in life. The goal at the end of the path is always the same - the INFP is driven to help people and make the world a better place (1,2,8).


Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people he or she knows well. INFPs are adaptable, committed, compassionate, creative, loyal, and empathetic individuals (1,2,8).


An INFPs Career Choice Should Probably Include...

  1. A position involved in working towards the public good, and in which they don't need to use hard logic.
  2. An opportunity to believe completely in the value of their work and be rewarded for their unique contribution.
  3. The freedom to work on projects that inspire them, with plenty of time for quiet reflection.
  4. Working with others who are committed to people-related values.
  5. Working with people they trust and respect in a supportive and friendly environment.
  6. The opportunity to grow personally and professionally, where their originality is appreciated and encouraged.
  7. The chance to consider and try creative approaches to problem solving that help other people improve their lives.
  8. A cooperative environment with a minimum of bureaucracy.

An INFPs Strengths are...

INFPs are sensitive and idealistic people, who strive for inner harmony. Devoted to the people and things they care deeply about, they can be loyal and empathetic friends. While they appear cool and even detached, INFPs have private feelings which are strong and passionate. They trust their personal reactions and perceptions and use their own set of values to rule their lives (1,2,7,8).

Curious about possibilities, INFPs enjoy all sorts of creative endeavors. Often insightful, they can be original thinkers who enjoy using their imagination to consider new ways of doing things. They can be very persuasive about their dreams and ideas, but only with people they trust, because they make such a personal investment in everything they do. Thoughtful and complex, INFPs are not especially interested in imposing their views on others but are very protective of their privacy and are highly selective about their friends (1,2,7,8).


INFPs are good at...

  • accepting and valuing people as individuals, and being strongly egalitarian
  • being energetic in projects they believe in and causes they care about
  • being able to work alone, without a lot of supervision
  • solving challenges as they arise in original and creative ways
  • grasping difficult concepts with relative ease
  • listening to, and engendering trust in, other people
  • empathizing with the concerns and problems of others
  • getting past the superficial and right to the meaning of issues
  • being flexible, tolerant, and open-minded -- until one of their values is violated!

An INFPs Weaknesses are...

INFPs can lose themselves in a project and ignore the realities of life around them when working on a cause they believe in. They are sensitive to interpersonal tension and tend to avoid conflict whenever possible. They have trouble letting go of things and often hold grudges. Because they only see the good in the people they care about, they run the risk of being disillusioned and easily disappointed (1,2,7,8).


INFPs need to find creative ways of expressing themselves. They sometimes get off track with their projects because INFPs are not very realistic or logical. They often set impossibly high standards for themselves and are usually not willing to share their ideas until they believe everything is flawless. They can be oversensitive to criticism and tend to take things personally. Without outside reactions, they have difficulty making the necessary alterations and end up with unworkable or unfinished projects, and if they view these as failures, they may see everything as negative. INFPs need to ask for constructive advice and then be willing to listen to it with objectivity (1,2,7,8).


Things to watch out for...

INFPs feel internal turmoil when they find themselves in situations in which there is conflict between their inner code of ethics and their relationships with others. They feel caught between pleasing others and maintaining their own integrity. Their natural tendency to identify with others, compounded with their self-sacrificial dispositions, tends to leave them confused as to who they really are. Their quiet personalities further feeds their feelings of depersonalization. The INFP's quest for self-identity then seems even more alluring — but increasingly impossible to attain (1,2,7,8).


As with all NFs, the INFP will feel lost and perplexed at stressful times. As stress builds, INFPs become disconnected from their own personality and perceived place in life. They will lose sight of who they are in relation to time and place. They may not make basic observations, while instead they will focus on the more abstract and symbolic meanings of a particular interaction. This can sometimes baffle those who expect more direct communication and a fairly concrete relationship (1,2,7,8). Other concerns to watch for:

  • becoming too perfectionistic, almost to a fault
  • getting discouraged if contributions are perceived as being unappreciated
  • being unrealistic in planning work schedules and making mistakes in fact
  • developing a "control" problem when working in a group
  • losing interest if control of projects is lost
  • failing to see or understand anyone else's point of view and being unaware of how their behavior affects others
  • becoming exhausted from competition
  • not making the effort to organize projects that aren't original
  • in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inaccurate) fact in an emotional outburst

Developmental Needs: It is important for INFPs to develop skills for the realistic and detailed planning of projects. When needed, it would be beneficial for them to have a tough-minded posture and the ability to say "no." They may sometimes have to lower their sights to avoid a self-defeating attitude of perfectionism.


Careers INFPs Might Consider

BulletEmployee Development Specialist


BulletCollege Professor: Humanities/Arts

BulletHolistic Health Practitioner


BulletEducational Consultant


BulletDiversity Manager


BulletAeronautical Engineer



BulletChurch Worker

BulletHR Development Specialist

BulletSocial Scientist

BulletReligious Educator



BulletYouth Counselor




BulletSocial Worker

BulletHealth Technician

BulletBiological Scientist


BulletPublic Health Nurse

BulletCareer Counselor

BulletSpeech Pathologist

BulletEducation Administrator


BulletEditor/Art Director





BulletPhysical Therapist

BulletLaboratory Technologist


BulletCrisis Counselor



BulletLegal Mediator

BulletPsychodrama Therapist


  1. Looking at Type and Careers, by Charles R. Martin, Ph.D., Copyright 1995 by Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT)
  2. Looking at Type: The Fundamentals, by Charles R. Martin, Ph.D., Copyright 1997 by Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT)
  3. Jedi Girl: Careers and Jobs - The Jedi Girl Internet Community - Concept and Design by Robert Jon Religa
  4. Career Manager (US Department of the Interior)
  5. The Virtual Office - may no longer be at this URL
  6. Hardcopies from an Internet resource based on the Kiersey Bates material - URL unknown/no longer available
  7. Personality Types Under Stress
  8. The Personality Page

Bullet"What Can I Do With A Major In...?" Bullet Personality & Careers Bullet


Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor



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