By A.J. Drenth
Like the INFJ, the ENFJ is skilled with people and enjoys helping others reach their potential. They often work as teachers, ministers, counselors, etc.—careers that allow them to improve and enhance the lives of others. ENFJs are also among the more creative personality types and may pursue any number creative career choices.
ENFJs are generally less inclined toward job hopping and ongoing experimentation than ENFP career-seekers are. They also tend to suffer less indecisiveness than the ENFP does. They don’t feel it necessary to try everything first in order to know whether or not they will enjoy it.
Because their dominant function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), ENFJs often enjoy extensive interactions with people in their work. However, since Fe is a Judging function, they are intentional, purposeful, and determined in what they want to accomplish. ENFJs are generally highly proactive and goal-oriented individuals.
Whatever their level of ambition, some ENFJs struggle to identify a suitable college major or career path. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the modern working world is structured more around the practical, technical, and administrative (TJ) than it is the social or interpersonal (FJ). Its approach to social disputes has become increasingly legalized, to health and illness increasingly medicalized, and to education increasingly standardized, all of which suggest a shift from less formal NFP approaches to more formal and codified STJ ones. This shift from right brain (NFP) to left brain (STJ) if you will, has made it increasingly difficult for many personality types, including ENFJs, to feel at home in the modern working world.
ENFJ Holland Career Code/Interests
To further our discussion of ENFJ careers, we will now turn to six interest themes described by John Holland and the Strong Interest Inventory. The Holland themes include the Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C) domains, collectively known as “RIASEC.” After identifying one’s preferred interest domains, these letters can be combined in a way similar to the personality types to form a multi-letter Holland Code (e.g., IAS, RAI). This can help individuals identify their best career match. Those unfamiliar with the Holland inventory may wish to explore my post, Holland Code, Career Interests, and the Myers-Briggs types. Of these six domains, most ENFJs will have a code comprised of S, A, and E, and possibly I.
Realistic (R) Careers
Individuals with Realistic interests prefer physical, hands-on work, often involving machines (e.g., repairing vehicles). They may enjoy computers and electronics, engineering, architecture, or construction. Research suggests that Myers-Briggs S, T, and P types are more drawn to Realistic work than are N, F, and J types. So unless ENFJs are being driven by their weaker functions (Se, Ti), most avoid Realistic careers.
Investigative (I) Careers
The Investigative domain incorporates analytic, scientific, and academic interests. Investigatives enjoy working with ideas, theories, facts, or data. As with the Realistic domain, Myers-Briggs Thinkers outnumber Feelers when it comes to Investigative interests.
While a substantial number of ENFJs may display Investigative interests, this can often be attributed to the pull of their inferior Ti function. Hence, ENFJs with Investigative interests need to tread carefully and ask themselves whether their dominant Fe would be sufficiently employed in their Investigative pursuits.
ENFJs with Investigative interests often find the hard sciences (i.e., physics, chemistry) too disconnected from the world of people. Hence, they are more apt to major in the social sciences (psychology, sociology, geography, political science, etc.). ENFJs with Investigative-Artistic (IA) interests may also be drawn to philosophy, religion, or investigative journalism. While some ENFJs may be drawn to certain types of law, law is generally a better fit for TJ types.
ENFJs may be drawn to human medicine for a few reasons. Their Fe might like the idea of helping people, their Se the prospective financial rewards, and their Ti/Ni the scientific and analytic elements of medicine. Nevertheless, the nature of modern medicine, like many other careers, seems better suited to TJ types. The structured way in which diagnoses are made and diseases are classified seems more amenable to TJs than to FJs. For ENFJs who do opt to become physicians, many will end working as psychiatrists. From what I know about medicine and about ENFJs, psychiatry may be the best match for frustrated ENFJ med students.
While by not an exclusive career list, ENFJs may find the following Investigative careers, jobs, or majors worth exploring:
- Social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science)
- Investigative journalist, reporter, editor
- Peace studies
ENFJ Artistic (A) Careers
Like ENFPs and INFJs, ENFJs often possess strong Artistic interests. The Artistic domain captures those with unconventional and creative interests, including actors, painters, dancers, poets, sculptors, writers, designers, and the like. This domain strongly correlates with Intuition, as well as, to a lesser extent, Feeling and Perceiving. Artistic types are highly represented among students studying the arts and humanities.
Even if not great artists themselves, ENFJs often possess refined tastes and a love for the arts and culture. Many enjoy classical music, opera, Broadway productions, and other forms of high culture. Those with Artistic-Social (AS) interests may enjoy teaching subjects related to the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Those with AI interests often gravitate toward careers and majors in the humanities such as religion, art, art history, literature, English/ languages, etc.
ENFJs may enjoy and excel in a variety of Artistic occupations:
- Acting, actor, actress
- Painter/visual arts
- Graphic/website design
- Creative media professional
- Photography, photographer
- Humanities/liberal arts
- Writer, blogger
- Editor, creative writer
Social (S) Careers
Individuals in the Social interest domain enjoy working with people. Social interests are common among teachers, healthcare workers, and clergy, to name a few. The Social domain relates to Myers-Briggs preferences for Extraversion and Feeling.
Considering their dominant function (Fe), Social careers are highly recommended for ENFJs and ESFJs alike. ENFJs often enjoy Social careers such as teaching, ministry, counseling, and psychology. Many ENFJs are teachers at heart. They are typically well-spoken, knowledgeable about their subject area, and display great care and concern for their students. As Intuitives, they often prefer working with adults or higher-level students, those who are more capable of or interested in abstract learning. While some ENFJs may be drawn to healthcare, in my view, they are generally better suited to function as ministers, teachers, or therapists.
ENFJs may find the following Social careers or majors worth exploring:
- Priest, pastor, minister
- Teacher, high school, college professor
- Counseling, counselor, therapist
- Psychologist, counseling
- Human resources professional
- Teacher/college professor: art, religion, English, literature
- Life coach
- Mediator, diplomat, peace work
Enterprising (E) Careers
The Enterprising domain involves the promotion of products, ideas, or services, including careers like sales and marketing, business and management, law, politics, journalism, insurance, and public speaking. Enterprising individuals often prefer Extroversion.
In general, sales and business careers are probably better suited for Sensing types than for Intuitives. While ENFJs can certainly do well with sales and marketing, they may ultimately conclude these rather vain enterprises. ENFJs tend to be strong orators and public speakers, often performing well in politics or public relations.
There are several good career options for Enterprising ENFJs:
- Motivational speaker
- Public relations
- Insurance agent
- Consultant, educational
- Organizational psychologist
Conventional (C) Careers
Individuals with Conventional interests enjoy administrative work (Yes, some people do enjoy administrative tasks!). They are organized, detail-oriented, and skilled with managing and manipulating data. Those in this domain often prefer Sensing, Thinking, and Judging. While as J-types, ENFJs may display competence in Conventional careers, they are generally not, nor should they be, ENFJs’ first choice.