Best Career and College Advice for INFPs by 3 Successful INFPs

INFP

INFP stands for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Perception in the Meyers-Briggs test. About four percent of the population are INFPs. The INFP is guided by their inner values, morals and ideals and are not particularly driven by money or status, preferring work that aligns with their personal values, which allows them to help others.
Some strengths: Idealism, open minded and flexible, creative, passionate and energetic. And weaknesses: sometimes too idealistic, too altruistic, impractical, and can be difficult to get to know.
The careers best suited to INFPs include the arts, writing, counselling, design, the ministry, academia, technical specialist, and psychology.
Some famous INFPs: William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Björk, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Lisa Kudrow, and Tom Hiddleston.

Looking for the best schools for this personality type? We’ve surveyed thousands of programs and ranked them in our personality-type college rankings. Check out the ranking of the 25 best schools for INFPs here.

Interviewee 1:head
Age: 43
Gender: Female
Location: Illinois
Job Title: Magazine Group Editor in Chief
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
A: I graduated summa cum laude from a public university in the Midwest with a degree in Anthropology. My minor was in Religious Studies. I always intended to go back for my doctorate, but got sidelined into a career and family. Any further education has all been self-directed. Like most introverts, I’m not much of a joiner and prefer to explore new ideas and areas on my own. Of late, I’ve been most interested in understanding the ecology of my immediate surroundings.
Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I am the chief editor for a small business that publishes two trade magazines, one reaching recreation, sports and fitness facility managers, and the other intended for an audience of incentive & reward program planners.
Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
A: Yes. In bigger classes and on the large campus, I enjoyed my anonymity, but the Anthropology department at my school was very small, so all of the classes that held more interest for me were small and discussion-based. My field of study tended to feed and satisfy my curiosity about the world, and helped drive a very open and compassionate worldview.
In addition, I took 4 years off between high school and college and spent that time working and traveling. So when I started college, I was a bit older than most of the students in class with me, and that gave me a feeling of experience and authority that I think boosted my confidence.
Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
A: Yes. Yes definitely. The fact that the business is very small (less than 10 employees) means everyone has to do their job, and we’re mostly left to go out and function without much oversight and with no micromanagement. I work both in the office and at home, and adapt well to both of those situations. Mostly I work all alone and make most of the decisions about the content of our magazines on my own, and that suits me. I like being able to direct and control from my perch above the noise of the world.
Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
A: I have a tendency to see all sides of a situation. In trade publishing, there’s a tension between the need of the reader and the need of the advertiser, and I think my ability to mediate those different worlds and bring them together makes me very effective. I also have the superpower of curiosity, which is a huge benefit when your job requires you to get out ahead of the trends of the day and see what’s coming down the road.
Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
A: Conferences and trade shows can be a huge challenge for me. I’m initially energized by getting so much new information about the fields we cover, but so much interaction with other people quickly depletes me, and I have a hard time recovering from that. I also prefer to gather and assimilate information before acting, and so sometimes I worry that it can seem like I’m not moving forward on projects. In addition, that sometimes makes it seem like I’m resistant to new ideas, when I really just need time to consider the angles and make those ideas fit into my own scheme. Luckily, the people I work with seem to understand this.

Interviewee #2:head_two
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Location: California
Job Title: Psychotherapist
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
A: I went to a small university in California that specialized in humanistic psychology. I had always been interested in group therapy and the dynamics between group members. I was a good student, kept to myself (lived in a trailer off campus), had a few friends, didn’t join student clubs. What drew me to the profession, frankly, was my cousin, who was a psychologist. I liked the idea of helping people, and of essentially operating my own practice my way, on my own schedule. I never once thought about continuing my education post master’s. It took some serious research to find the right school for me, but I did. I earned my degree. And then went out on my own.
Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I am a practicing psychotherapist with a fairly robust practice. I guess I’m a little unusual these days as I practice Gestalt Therapy, which is a very intuitive, intense, but effective form of therapy. I am my own boss, which is probably the only work situation I could have handled. So far, so good.
Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
A: No doubt. My undergraduate school, in Nevada, was less interesting. I think I was searching for the right major, I grew up in Vegas so I just decided to go to school in Nevada. In retrospect I should have done more researching, but it is what it is. I found that I got lost in larger classes, which was the basic situation in my undergraduate school. Since I am not very outgoing, I’m not sure I made a great impression on my professors. I always wanted to be a psychologist, read books avidly on the subject outside of class, and finally decided that what they taught, the introductory classes totally bored me.
I didn’t really enjoy my undergrad years, but I learned a lot about myself and what kind of graduate school was right for me. It was in California that I found my pulse. Small school, small classes. Teachers believed in the Socratic method of teaching, with lots of interplay between profs and student. My graduate school days were a wonder. I did my own thing. Had great professors who got me thinking about a lot of things, jobs, career, interpersonal relationships (always hard for me).
Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
A: Well, I couldn’t do anything else, I often think. I am not a natural “people” person; strange thing to say for a therapist. What I mean is would not work well in a large practice with partners. I chose this path to steer my own way and work one on one with people. I have great insight and empathy with other people’s plight. I work in an office. But also have a home office and I like that independence, freedom to do my own thing (to use a cliché).
Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
A: My teachers taught me everything. I was shy, maybe even withdrawn at times and my professors, most of whom had been practicing therapists themselves at one time or another (which is why I chose this particular institution), during the process of educating me in theory, helped me to understand who I am. When you learn to be a therapist, you also go through therapy (at least I did). As for work, every day, every patient is different. I have to continue to read the latest literature. Practice my craft. I love what I do, although it can be emotionally draining.
Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
A: I am not keen on going to professional conferences, but they are important in terms of learning about trends and meeting trend-setters. What are the latest therapeutic techniques: for example, I enjoy receiving new information. At school I was also required to mingle, as I worked towards my master’s degree. I enjoyed the learning aspect of all of this, but I certainly was not comfortable. Some people have thought me aloof and unfriendly, but I think it’s more due to my being uncomfortable in large crowds. Still, I recognized this in myself and compensated.

Interviewee #3:head
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Location: Pennsylvania Job Title: In Medical field (supervisor)

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
A: I attended a public college in New York State. I changed majors twice. I started out in science, figuring I’d maybe go to medical school, because I had no idea what I wanted to do and becoming a doctor seemed a good way to help people. I almost left the major not because I didn’t like science, but because the classes were so big. I was isolated and lonely, and none of my professors knew who I was (I didn’t realize how important that was to me). Luckily some professors took an interest in me and at that point I began to flower. I enjoyed the challenge of new work, I studied (on my own) like crazy and wound up with very good grades.
Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I work in a public clinic basically as an office manager.
Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
A: As I said before, I had to switch majors because working in the hard sciences just wasn’t right for me. It took a while for me to find my path: and that was anatomy and biology. I had some tough times at school. Although I enjoy some aspects of study, I learned that meeting deadlines, such as class projects really was stressful and I ended up procrastinating and getting even more stressed! Unlike my friend who is an ISTJ, who apparently enjoys deadlines!! Once I began to learn more about myself (by my senior year) I was able to understand, even at a fairly young age, a bit more about why I act as I do. I learned this by reading a lot of books. And having good professors. The medical field, I knew intuitively. I had to be in that, so I went with my feelings.
Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
A: I believe so. But it took me years to find the right job for me and the right employers. Because I am an introvert, working in a clinic with doctors and nurses and techs, I’ve had to interact more than was comfortable with me. But where I am now, they understand that I am good as a supervisor, even though I don’t do well at office parties (ha). In my free moments I’m always reading the latest medical journals that doctors leave around the office and I like that I am learning more all the time.
Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
A: When I am in a “teaching” setting in the clinic, I have had to learn to adjust, for example, training a new employee. They want you to tell them your topic first, then explain. They need a process broken down in a linear fashion, just what to do first, then next, because they won’t figure it out intuitively. They generally don’t have a burning need to know why something is done a particular way, and the lack of that knowledge does not stop them in their tracks before they can go further in learning. Why explanations are actually irritating to them many times.
Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
A: In my past, I job hopped whenever the work started to conflict too much with one of my core values. I feel like I would rather collect garbage and in that way be a help to society than to be forced to make decisions designed to make a profit at the expense of clients or patients. But don’t get me wrong, I never intentionally left a new job every year. In fact, I now am content and happy as a supervisor in the medical field for more than five years. I’m in a position where my employers trust me and allow me to intuitively work with newly hired staff.