By Dr. A.J. Drenth
ENTJs are bold, intelligent, and hard-driving leaders. They are your quintessential CEOs, fieldmarshalls, and “Type-A” personalities. Given sufficient intellect and ambition, ENTJs will rise to upper-tier leadership positions in any number of jobs and careers.
ENTJs take their lives and their work quite seriously, typically preferring work over play. Their dominant function is Extraverted Thinking (Te), the primary aim of which involves making the external world more rational, efficient, and organized. As for INTJ career-seekers, Te confers a great advantage for ENTJs when it comes to job and career choices, since the modern working world is in many ways a Te sort of system. Namely, to swim in the sea of modern work, one must understand and be willing to navigate an intricate web of rules, procedures and bureaucracy. In general, Ti types (i.e., TPs) are less equipped for and less tolerant of Te systems. For ENTJs, however, navigating Te systems is their bread and butter, their primary playground. And since Te systems can be found anywhere, from business, to science, to academia, ENTJs have virtually infinite career options at their disposal.
ENTJs’ auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition (Ni), lends a visionary element. While typically not as developed as that of INTJs, Ni helps see the bigger picture and to synthesize ample amounts of data. Ni also confers a sense of confidence and conviction, contributing to ENTJs’ aura of strength, confidence, and decisiveness.
ENTJs’ tertiary function, Extraverted Sensing (Se), is important to the extent that it drives ENTJs to seek and value material wealth. Money and prestige can be a motivating factor for many ENTJs, fueling their desire to rise to the top of whatever ladder they are climbing. INTJs can display similar inclinations in this regard.
ENTJs’ inferior function, Introverted Feeling (Fi), may impel them to work toward causes they feel are important and valuable. If they allow their Fi too much say, however, they may take up careers or majors that are ill-suited for the signature strengths, namely, those of their Te. For instance, while working with disadvantaged children is certainly a noble pursuit, this sort of work would place far too much emphasis on ENTJs’ Fi. They would likely be better off running an organization whose aim was to help needy children rather than directly involving themselves in the actual helping.
ENTJ Holland Career Interests / Code
The Holland Career Interest Inventory is one of the better career tools available. It includes six interest domains—Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), Conventional (C)—collectively known as “RIASEC.” Once an individual has identified his top two or three interest domains, the letters can be combined to form a two or three letter Holland code (e.g., ISA, ASI) which can then be matched with the codes of various careers or college majors. For an overview of the Holland as it relates to the Myers-Briggs types, see my post, Holland Code (RIASEC) Career Interests & Myers-Briggs Types.
Realistic (typically avoided by ENTJs)
The Realistic interest domain is associated with Myers-Briggs Thinking, Sensing, and Perceiving. Hence, STPs are the types most apt to display strong Realistic interests. As Thinking types, some ENTJs may exhibit mild Realistic interests, but this is rarely their strongest interest domain.
The Investigative domain can also be associated with Myers-Briggs Thinking, as well as Intuition to a certain extent. Therefore, it tends to be among the top domains for ENTJs.
Since ENTJs use Te rather than Ti, they often display strong interests in formal scientific research and development. However, as Extraverts, they are generally ill-suited for perching in a laboratory all day. Most would prefer functioning as chief investigator on scientific projects or heading up their own R & D company.
Medical and pharmaceutical research would also fall under the Investigative domain, as would work as a physician. All of these are solid careers for ENTJs, since modern medicine has been built around Te models with respect to research, diagnosis, and treatment.
• Astronomy / astronomer
• Biochemistry, biology, chemistry, neuroscience
• Economics / economist
• Financial planning / analyst
• Health / medical sciences, public health
• Computer science, systems analyst, informatics, programmer
• Engineering (all types)
• Urban planning
• Social science research (psychology, sociology, political science)
• Physician, medical doctor: most specialties
• Physics / physicist
While ENTJs may appreciate the arts, few are pure artists. Thinking, especially Extraverted Thinking, is far too pragmatic a function to find satisfaction in the divergent and impractical arts. Here are a couple artistic careers they may enjoy:
• Writing, non-fiction
The Social interest domain is populated by teachers, caretakers, healthcare workers, clergy, and trainers, most of whom are Myers-Briggs Feeling types. Because of their inferior Fi, some ENTJs may be drawn to certain Social careers. However, as suggested earlier, such careers can end up being a poor fit if ENTJs are regularly forced to rely on their Fi rather than Te. Although there are relatively few good Social career options for ENTJs, becoming a lecturer/college professor is probably a good option.
The Enterprising domain involves the promotion of products, ideas, or services. Typical Enterprising careers include sales and marketing, business and management, law, politics, journalism, insurance, and stock trading. Enterprising individuals often prefer Extraversion.
ENTJs are naturally Enterprising. They are self-starters, good salespersons, and excel with business and management. They can also make excellent attorneys and entrepreneurs.
• Corporate manager, executive
• Law, lawyer, attorney
Persons with Conventional interests typically enjoy administrative work. They do well with manipulating data and are organized and detail-oriented. Those in this domain often prefer Sensing, Thinking, and/or Judging.
As TJ types, ENTJs are generally quite competent in attending to the details associated with Conventional work. They often enjoy working with numbers and data. But despite their competence this domain, this is rarely their preferred interest domain.
On the whole, ENTJs display strongest interest in the Investigative and Enterprising domains, preferring careers with IE or EI Holland codes.