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Career Planning: Personality & Careers: ISFP


Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving - ISFPs represent approximately 6% of the population. ISFPs live in the world of sensation and possibilities and are in tune with the way things look, taste, sound, feel, and smell. They have a strong aesthetic appreciation for art, and are likely to be artists in some form, because they are unusually gifted at creating and composing things which will strongly affect the senses. They have a strong set of values, which they strive to consistently meet in their lives. They need to feel as if they're living their lives in accordance with what they feel is right, and will rebel against anything which conflicts with that goal. They're likely to choose jobs and careers which allow them the freedom of working towards the realization of their value-oriented personal goals (1,2,8).


ISFPs tend to be quiet and reserved, and difficult to get to know well. They hold back their ideas and opinions except from those who they are closest to. They are likely to be kind, gentle and sensitive in their dealings with others. They are interested in contributing to people's sense of well-being and happiness, and will put a great deal of effort and energy into tasks which they believe in. ISFPs are caring, flexible, empathetic, harmonious, spontaneous, and trusting individuals (1,2,8).

An ISFPs Career Choice Should Probably Include...

  1. A career which is more than just a job to them and is consistent with their strong core of inner values.
  2. An affirming, supportive, and noncompetitive atmosphere without a lot of hidden political agendas.
  3. Work that has a real and practical purpose where they can see and experience how they are able to help other people.
  4. A balance between working alone and working one-on-one, where the pace of their work is within their control.
  5. An environment that is relaxed, without a lot of rules, rigid structure, or restrictions on their personal time.
  6. An opportunity to exhibit their original and unconventional abilities.
  7. Opportunities for direct practical care of people or hands-on detail work.
  8. The opportunity to work on a variety of projects that they believe in and where each day is different from the one before.

An ISFPs Strengths are...

ISFPs are gentle, soft spoken, and modest people. On the surface, they often appear cool and impassive but really have deep and passionate feelings that they share only with people they know well and trust. They are loyal, devoted, and patient friends, not particularly interested in trying to control or impose their values on others. They are trusting and sensitive, and need their personal and professional relationships to be harmonious and tension free (1,2,7,8).


Realistic, sensible, and down to earth, ISFPs are concerned with enjoying life and experiencing all things to the fullest. ISFPs have a spontaneous and playful disposition and tend to respond to events rather than plan ahead. Often artistic, ISFPs notice the beauty in everything around them and enjoy spending their free time on their hobbies or crafts. They tend to have a small, tight knit group of friends and strive to maintain a balance in their lives, not placing work above the other things that matter most to them (1,2,7,8).


ISFPs are good at...

  • being perceptive and aware of others, gathering specific information about people, and seeking to discover
    what this information means They are usually penetratingly accurate in their perceptions of others
  • working well as part of a team and paying close attention to details and facts
  • identifying the opportunities of a situation and quickly acting to take advantage of them
  • being warm and sympathetic, helping others in direct and tangible ways, and genuinely caring about people
  • adapting well to change and approaching new situations with interest
  • being supportive and helpful to coworkers; respecting supervisors
  • being quick-witted and spatial in their thinking

An ISFPs Weaknesses are...

Because ISFPs are so trusting, they can sometimes be taken advantage of by others. They tend to take people at their word and don't look for or see the less scrupulous motives others may have. They can become mired in unpleasant situations, not easily able to see alternatives and unwilling to risk hurting the feelings of other by confronting conflict. ISFPs use their personal values to judge everything and often don't consider more objective criteria in making decisions. They may need to be more assertive about expressing their feelings so they don't neglect their own needs (1,2,7,8).


They often do not see the larger picture or see how their choices impact future events because ISFPs tend to live completely in the present. They need help prioritizing and organizing their time and may become easily distracted from completing tasks. They can become overwhelmed by choices and obligations and need plenty of time alone to regain their balance and perspective (1,2,7,8).


Things to watch out for...

ISFPs can be over-accepting of others and need to be more skeptical at times. Their need to please everyone makes them reluctant to critique any one but themselves. This excessive desire to trust others makes them targets for hurt feelings and disadvantaged relationships. Long-range planning and adherence to policies can be their downfall. When the freedom to act on their instincts is limited, ISFPs become bored, restless, and passively defiant. They are skilled at seeming to comply with regulations while annoying those who cause them distress (1,2,7,8).


If stress continues to build, ISFPs will penalize others through self-degrading behavior. This behavior has the tendency to divert accountability away from themselves and onto others who they blame for their plight. This restores the excitement back into ISFP's lives while at the same time getting even with their accused oppressors. Rationalizing their responsibilities, stressed-out ISFPs attempt to find their way out of unstimulating circumstances through seeking inappropriate thrills (1,2,7,8). Other concerns to watch for:

  • not paying attention to theories, concepts, and ideas where they see no practical application
  • overlooking, or ignoring, the "hidden agenda" of others (but be careful not to perceive criticism where none was intended)
  • feeling overwhelmed and confused with complicated or theoretical tasks
  • valuing their own opinions and feelings far above others and being unable to see or understand anyone else's point of view
  • being unable to acknowledge or hear anything that goes against their personal ideas and opinions
  • missing out on opportunities due to not volunteering
  • being disorganized and having trouble managing time
  • being perfectionist and judging themselves with unnecessary harshness

Developmental Needs: The ISFP must consciously tell himself/herself that an opinion that does not coincide with their own is not an indictment of their entire character and they need not to take offense. They need to focus on opening their perspective to include a more accurate picture of what is really going on in the world around them.


Careers ISFPs Might Consider

BulletFashion Designer


BulletTapestry Worker



BulletPhysical Therapist

BulletLandscape Designer

BulletMassage Therapist

BulletRadiology Technologist

BulletDental Hygienist

BulletMedical Assistant

BulletComputer Operator



BulletAnimal Groomer/Trainer


BulletCleaning Service Operator

BulletPolice Officer

BulletCrisis Hotline Operator


BulletElementary Teacher


BulletClerical Supervisor



BulletScience Teacher

BulletYouth Counselor

BulletAutomotive Technician

BulletChild Care Worker

BulletHealth Technologist






BulletLegal Secretary


BulletMarine Biologist


BulletMuseum Curator


BulletMedia Specialist


BulletInterior Designer




  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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