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Wayne State College
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Career Planning: Personality & Careers: ISFJ


Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging - ISFJs represent approximately 6% of the population. ISFJs are warm, kindhearted individuals who want to believe the best of people and they bring an aura of quiet warmth, caring, and dependability to all that they do. They live in a concrete world and value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings. People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best (1,2,8).


ISFJs have a rich inner world not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occurred, if the situation made an impression on them. ISFJs are conscientious, conservative, patient, practical, meticulous, service-minded and loyal individuals (1,2,8).

An ISFJs Career Choice Should Probably Include...

  1. The opportunity to work steadily on one project at a time, without a lot of interruptions or changes in plan.
  2. Work that requires accuracy and attention to detail, organization, and adherence to standard operating procedures.
  3. Work that lets them use a personal approach to helping others, preferably on a one-on-one basis.
  4. An environment that is structured and stable, where they know what is expected of them and they are rewarded for their hard work and contribution.
  5. Work that is of a practical nature and is service-oriented, so they can see that they are helping others in real and tangible ways.


An ISFJs Strengths are...

ISFJs are hard working and conscientious individuals prone to be quiet and serious. They tend to be realistic and down to earth and exhibit great patience for detail. They have good memories for facts and details and are painstakingly accurate. They have good common sense and tend to make conservative, thoughtful, and sensible decisions, but they want, and need, clear directions and explicit expectations (1,2,7,8).


ISFJs are caring people interested in the concerns and feelings of others. They are quiet and modest people who prefer to share their feelings and deep convictions only with those they know well. They are protective, loyal, and devoted friends and take great pride and satisfaction from the accomplishments of their friends and family. ISFJs have a strong work ethic and take all their commitments seriously (1,2,7,8).


ISFJs are good at...

  • creating structure and order
  • working hard, doing whatever is needed until the job is finished
  • using their innate people-observation skills to determine what people want or need
  • respecting the chain of command and following necessary rules and procedures
  • being good listeners and helping others by explaining tasks with patience and clarity
  • taking care of practical matters and the daily needs of themselves and others
  • working with routine or mundane tasks
  • taking their commitments seriously and carefully and thoroughly dealing with details and documenting activities
  • having a well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal

An ISFJs Weaknesses are...

Because ISFJs live so completely in the here and now, they sometimes don't "see the forest for the trees." They may not see options and possibilities that either don't exist at the present time, or are untested. They may feel overwhelmed when learning new and technical skills because they want to complete everything they do with meticulous care. They may avoid asking for help, not wanting to trouble anyone else (1,2,7,8).


Not especially objective, they can make illogical decisions based exclusively on their personal feelings. Because ISFJs are so concerned about others, they tend to put the needs of others above their own. This can result in their becoming overworked or over extended. They need to practice developing their assertiveness so they are not taken advantage of by less considerate people (1,2,7,8).


Things to watch out for...

ISFJs respect established authority and they tend to accept others’ opinions and desires as their own. In work situations, they provide a stable and standardized service. Disorderly situations and constantly changing rules can cause them undue stress. At these times ISFJs need to be more assertive and direct because, owing to their kindheartedness and sensitivity, ISFJs can be taken for granted and even taken advantage of. This can cause them to feel resentment and anger — feelings that the ISFJ has a tendency to deny. If the situation worsens and uncomfortable feelings build up, the ISFJ will begin to feel insecure about their status. Worrying that they are not secure or protected enough, they may become overprotective and excessively nervous about foreboding events. This can cause others to feel resistant or defiant which then contributes to the disorder of the situation (1,2,7,8).


If stress continues, the ISFJ will experience increasing anxiety. Their fear that things will continue to spin out of control will result in a general feeling of dread and apprehensiveness. They become both wary of change and unrelentingly pessimistic about the future. ISFJs will eventually become immobilized by physical symptoms associated with their anxieties. Providing care for others will become secondary as their own bodily symptoms — resulting from their fears of abandonment — disable to such a degree that they cannot assume their responsibilities. Yet, abandoning service-orientated obligations prevents ISFJs from accessing opportunities that allow them to fulfill their basic needs (1,2,7,8). Other concerns to watch for:

  • avoiding dealing with conflict and not asserting themselves to ensure their own needs are met
  • when under stress, imagining all of the things that might go critically wrong in their lives
  • not expressing their needs, which may lead to frustration
  • not branching out into new territories and resisting new or unconventional methods because they have not been experienced before
  • getting mired in the details of work and not seeing the big picture
  • becoming overwhelmed when several projects need attention at once
  • becoming discouraged if they don't feel appreciated or needed
  • becoming overburdened because saying "no" when asked to do something is difficult to do

Developmental Needs: Development of their thinking and intuitive qualities can help ISFJs to see more of the long-range consequences of their actions and assist in their acceptance of new ways of doing things. They need to develop a more direct and assertive approach to the world as well as becoming more positive and optimistic. Learn to delegate!


Careers ISFJs Might Consider

BulletInterior Decorator


BulletMedical Technologist

BulletPhysical Therapist

BulletMedical Equipment Sales

BulletSpeech Pathologist

BulletHealth Care Administrator

BulletGuidance Counselor

BulletPreschool/Elementary Teacher

BulletPersonal Counselor


BulletReligious Educator

BulletEducational Administrator

BulletProbation Officer

BulletRetail Sales

BulletFashion Merchandiser

BulletPersonnel Administrator

BulletClerical Supervisor

BulletHome Economist

BulletComputer Operator

BulletK-12 Teacher

BulletDental Hygienist

BulletAlcohol/Drug Counselor

BulletNurse: All Fields

BulletCorrections Officer


BulletCommunity Health Worker

BulletPolice Detective

BulletRadiological Technologist

BulletAeronautical Engineer


BulletSocial Worker


BulletCustomer Service Representative


BulletFamily Physician




BulletHealth Technician


BulletSpeech Pathologist

BulletHotel/Motel Management

BulletTransportation Operator




  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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