Your ISTP Personality Type When Choosing a Career

Your Myers Briggs Personality Type

Extroverted and Introverted penguins on icebergs
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If you went to a career counselor who administered the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), you may have learned that your personality type is ISTP. You are probably wondering what these four letters can tell you about your career and what you should do with it.

ISTP as a Personality Type

ISTP is one of 16 personality types Carl Jung, a psychiatrist identified many years ago. The MBTI is based on his theory. Jung believed that personality types are made up of four pairs of opposite preferences for how we do certain things.

  • We energize through introversion (I) or extroversion (E)
  • Perceive information by sensing (S) or intuition (N)
  • Make decisions by thinking (T) or feeling (F)
  • Live our lives by judging (J) or perceiving (P)

Each of us favors one member of each pair of preferences over the other one. Your code is ISTP because the results of the MBTI indicated that your preferences are Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging.

Career development professionals believe the code can be used to help people make career-related decisions such as choosing a career and accepting a job offer. That's the Jungian theory in a nutshell and how it applies to your career choice. Now let's examine your code more closely. We'll look at what each preference means and then explore how you can use this information to make career-related decisions.

Understanding ISTP

It is important to keep in mind that these are only your preferences. That means that while you prefer to do things a certain way, you can adapt and use the opposite preference when you need to. Also, remember that each preference in your four-preference type affects the other three. Finally, your preferences are dynamic in that they can change throughout your life.

The Introvert

When you hear the word "introversion," like most people, you may think "shy" or "unable to be around others." There's actually so much more to it than that. As someone who prefers Introversion, you are energized by things within yourself. It doesn't mean you don't like being around other people, just that you prefer to spend time alone. Therefore, you don't need friends or coworkers to motivate you.

The Sensing Personality

As an individual who favors sensing, you use your five senses to help you decode information that comes your way. You see details rather than the patterns that might emerge from them. You don't tend to forecast what the future may hold but live fully in the present.

Your Thinking Type

Your preference for thinking means you take a lot of time to make decisions. It is not because you are indecisive, but instead that you carefully consider all your options. You use logic, not emotion. You don't mind critiquing people.


As someone who is perceiving, you are flexible and spontaneous. It means you can easily adapt to change. On the downside, however, you don't do very well with deadlines.

Use Your Code for Career-Related Decisions

You can consider your personality type when you are choosing a career or deciding whether to accept a job offer based on the environment in which you will have to work. When making a career choice, you should look at the two middle letters in your code, S, and T.

Because you prefer sensing and thinking, you should look for occupations in which you can solve concrete problems. You also want to work in a career that values the importance of careful and deliberate decision making. Take into account, as well, your interests, aptitudes, and work-related values when choosing a career. These are some options for you to think about:

Airline Pilot Dental Hygienist
Athletic Coach EMT and Paramedic
Biomedical Engineer Engineering Technician
Brick Mason Geoscientist
Camera Operator Intelligence Agent
Carpenter Paralegal
Civil Engineer Photographer
Computer Programmer Radiologic Technologist
Computer Systems Analyst Software Developer

Your preferences of introversion and perceiving can guide you when deciding whether a work environment will be right for you. As someone who prefers introversion, you would enjoy making your own decisions about how to complete projects. Since deadlines aren't your thing, consider a job that allows you to work at your own pace.


  • The Myers-Briggs Foundation Web Site.
  • Baron, Renee. (1998) What Type Am I?. NY: Penguin Books.
  • Page, Earle C. Looking at Type: A Description of the Preferences Reported by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
  • Tieger, Paul D., Barron, Barbara, and Tieger, Kelly. (2014) Do What You Are. NY: Hatchette Book Group.