If you're an ENFP, there are a host of career options and opportunities available that will utilize your unique personality. There’s only one catch – ENFP personality types may have difficulty choosing and sticking with a particular career path. Their propensity to leap before looking can lead to a circuitous or meandering travel from job to job; flitting from one to another without purpose or plan. While this is a great way to explore a myriad of positions and experiment with different fields of endeavor, it’s not necessarily the most strategic approach.

Since ENFPs can fit in a wide variety of industries, the trick is to mindfully narrow the field. Here are five tips ENFPs can use to make the most of their career search. All that’s required is a legal pad, something to write with and an open mind.

Step One: Narrow the field

The ENFP’s challenge is to winnow the vast array of choices down to a manageable number. The first way to accomplish this is by process of elimination. It’s often easier to identify what we don’t want to do than what we do. ENFPs can begin by making a list of jobs and positions they would patently not enjoy. Most ENFPs are ill-suited for routine, repetitive tasks. That might make it easy to rule out assembly-line or factory work, data entry, telephone customer service, and accounting. Most ENFPs also don’t like working in isolation. That might mean backroom operations and night-shifts would be less appealing.

Think of jobs you could never do or wouldn’t want to do if you could avoid it. List all the jobs that come to mind. That might be laying boiling asphalt on dusty country roads or working with terminally ill patients. Don’t be critical of your choices, just be as honest as you can. If you need help getting started, browse the offerings of any of the large online job posting websites. Make a note of any of the positions that make you cringe. Add those jobs to your “Avoid” list.

Surprisingly, job seekers often don’t spend enough time thinking about what they might like to do. It’s easy to target careers that pay well or to go after jobs that are popular, in high demand or geographically available. But think about this, whatever career path you start on will be carrying you somewhere. Make sure you’ll be devoting your time, talents and energy in a direction you want to go.

Step Two: Focus on your likes

Since you will most likely be spending the majority of your days working, doesn’t it make sense that it should be as enjoyable as possible? That may seem like a no-brainer statement, and yet, most of us pick careers for all kinds of other reasons. We choose an area we studied in school, chase a profession just because it pays well, or we follow in a parent’s footsteps.

There’s actually nothing wrong with pursuing a career because you enjoy the environment, working hours, conditions, geography and so on. Take a second piece of paper and list everything you enjoy doing. Think about jobs you may have held in the past that you particularly enjoyed. Ask yourself why you found those jobs or activities so enjoyable. Be as specific and detailed as possible.

You want to pursue a career that incorporates as many of the items from your “Like” list as possible. If you are in a job now that’s drudgery or a grind, ask yourself what would need to change in order to make it more enjoyable? Add those ingredients to your list.

Step Three: Consider your gifts and talents

Next, make a list of all of your talents. Write down as many as you can and as fast as you can, and don’t leave anything out. Are you naturally athletic? Have a way with words? Can you sing/act/paint/draw/teach? Are you gifted in music, languages, math or science? What subjects were easiest for you in school?

It might seem obvious, but it will be easier for you to excel in your career if you are doing things that align with your natural talents. If you have excellent communication skills, it only makes sense to seek a career that will allow you to showcase those. Whatever jobs you choose to accept, you will be working countless hours doing something. Whatever that something is, the more you do it, the better you will get at doing it. If you already start out gifted in a particular area and then you continue to work at it, you will go from good to great; from great to exceptional.

Step Four: Fast foward

We often don’t consider that a choice we make now will impact the choices we make a year from now, and a decade from now. A great way to make your next career move a good one is by visualizing where you want to be at some point in the future.

Here’s a great exercise to help you fast forward: close your eyes and visualize yourself where you would like to be in 10 years. Get as specific as you can. Do you see yourself inside or outdoors? How are you dressed? Are you management, self-employed, in a profession? Knowing where you want to end up is a great way to help you focus on the steps you should take today. If you want to wind up in the entertainment industry eventually, why not start out there today? If you’re considering a specific position, ask yourself if it is likely to lead you where you want to be five, ten, twenty years from now.

Step Five: Look for big ponds to swim in

ENFPs will be happiest working in jobs that utilize their skills, in careers that align with their personality, that involve a lot of people, freedom, variety and challenge. Fortunately, ENFPs can excel in a host of professions and they aren’t industry specific. One strategy is to look for large organizations, like those on the Fortune 500. Those companies are huge and can offer growth, diversity and exposure to line, staff, sales and technical areas. They can also provide greater opportunity for vertical and lateral career moves, allowing ENFPs a chance to move around without having to switch employers.

ENFPs aren’t noted for their ability to stick to a plan, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to create a broad and flexible one. The one outlined here can be adopted at any stage of life. The key is to find a career that lets ENFPs be themselves in all their extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving glory, and shine!

Ellen Lambert
Ellen Lambert studied at California State University Fullerton and the University of California Santa Barbara, earning an MA in interpersonal communication. A motivational speaker and writer focusing on health, well- being, and self-improvement, she is a card-carrying ENFP, and also serves as a BHQC, (bad habit quitting coach). She is committed to helping others free themselves from the habits that hold them back from living the lives they can enjoy. She lives with her ISTJ husband Charles and their INTP German Pincher, Rex Luther in Buffalo, Texas.