Best Career and College Advice for INTJs by 3 Successful INTJs

INTJ

INTJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging) Briggs-Meyer personality type recipients comprise about 2% of the population as a whole, and are particularly rare amongst women (comprising about .8% of the female population). They are often known as “the Architect” personality type due to their ability to think strategically, come up with creative solutions and then enact them through coming up with a game plan. INTJ’s are often considerate and loyal to people and ideals (sometimes to a fault). We’ve rounded up a few of this rare breed below and asked them some questions about work and school. Note that first we gave interviewees a refresher on what INTJ personality types entail. We then asked each seven questions about their educational and work history, and how they think their choices worked or didn’t work in relation to their personality type. Check out the results below!

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 INTJs here.

Interviewee 1:head_two
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Location: Louisiana
Job title: Strategic communications manager

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
A: I attended an Episcopal high school in the New Orleans metro area, as well as a Catholic high school in rural Louisiana. For college I attended a well-regarded liberal arts college and obtained degrees in both English and Environmental Studies (with a focus on Ecology and Biodiversity). I was also active in extracurriculars including theater, leadership positions, and a sorority. I am currently attending a night program to obtain an MBA at a large state university.

Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I currently work for a large international engineering firm as a strategic communications manager. I am one of the few non-engineers in my work setting and focus on providing for internal stakeholders, client communication, helping to maintain an internal communication platform, and occasionally with field work.

Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
A: As an introvert I feel that I particularly excelled and benefited from liberal arts settings in which class sizes were small, or I could have one-on-one dealings with individual professors for projects. Perhaps an interesting facet of my personality is that though I’m introverted, I also feel like I learn through conversation. This makes surroundings in which civil discourse, or conversational environments in which I can feel comfortable enough to speak in very crucial to my ability to learn. While I value my high school education, I feel that these environments were closed to certain viewpoints. This didn’t always foster an environment in which I felt comfortable with joining into conversations, which at times hindered my ability to learn through conversation. This was something I enjoyed about my college years. The environment in which I chose to go to school was particularly open to at the very least having a civil discourse–no matter your viewpoint–and I feel as if this made me more comfortable with joining conversations (and thus learning).

Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
A: I feel fortunate to be able to use many parts of my personality and skill set at work. As one of the few non-engineering positions in my workplace, I often get to deal with situations that require soft skills and non-engineering related creativity. My technical (science) background comes in handy through being able to understand the technical jargon of engineering and science-related projects, while my English background is utilized through strategic messaging projects. This is to say that my company has worked with me to offer me the chance to work on projects that gel with my skill set, or challenge me to develop new skills. It’s all about communicating with your co-workers and leadership to get assigned to projects that are a good fit!

Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
A: I feel that one of my stronger personality traits is that I’m extremely dedicated and loyal when I commit to something. I also find that when I find a project valuable I’m both very loyal to the cause and a hard worker. As the firm I work for is involved with both coastal restoration efforts as well as public construction projects in the community, I find myself feeling a great deal of loyalty to my firm, as well as the ability to readily find motivation for projects we work on. I feel like the “NTJ” portions of my personality are particularly well suited for dealing with team members and stake holders both in public settings or in meetings. Intuition is important for sensing out situations in which I’m working with others, while thinking and judging come in handy with dissecting multi-party situations and coming up with a game plan. I feel like INTJ is a well-rounded personality type suitable for dealing with others and taking leadership roles within organizations.

Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
A: The flip side of the “TJ” part of INTJ is that once I’ve come to a conclusion, I’m often hard headed about the matter. This is probably also what enables my loyalty towards team members, projects, and my organization, but at times it leads to me wanting to work on my own on projects. That is, at times I’ve come to a conclusion about a situation and I would rather not have to deal with other conflicting views. A downside of the introverted nature of INTJ is that even though I’ll often have an opinion on how a situation should be handled–a game plan–particularly in situations where there are new team members, or people in the community I don’t know at times I’m too introverted to voice my opinion. This disconnect between having a plan and not being able to voice it often leads to frustration. If I had to give some advice on the matter, I would say that if you’re going into a meeting–particularly with people you don’t interface with regularly–that you should try to get into the room before anyone else, sit down and practice saying what you want to say out loud. Think about questions you might receive and respond to those out loud as well. Another piece of advice is that if you’re ever put on the spot in a public situation, know that it’s often okay to say “I can’t commit to that right now.”

Interviewee 2:head
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Location: Washington
Job Title: Product and Marketing Manager

Q: Can you tell us a little about your educational history?
A: I attended a public high school that–in my opinion–was really quite good academically, in Boulder, Colorado. I took mostly all AP classes my last two years of high school. Then I attended a liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon where I double majored in biology and philosophy. Early on I had thought I wanted to attend med school. My grades were good but not quite that good. However, I’m grateful for my major choices and still rely on what I learned in my undergrad years daily. I occasionally take skill-based training online, but currently undergrad is the extent of my formal education.

Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I’m a product and marketing manager for a software development firm. Basically I’m responsible for implementing the big picture marketing initiatives at a project level. I set objectives for product launch campaigns, set standards for how we communicate with buyers, and keep track of analytics as far as engagement online.

Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
A: As I previously mentioned, I initially chose biology as a major with the thought of constructing a decent foundation that would help with getting into medical school. Though I continued with biology as I enjoyed the subject matter, particularly the few times when I was able to join in with research in the field. As far as my personality–INTJ–I feel like intuition plays well into both biology and philosophy. Biology is more intuitive than other sciences (say, chemistry), at least to me. And intuition plays into philosophy through the ability to naturally follow logic in texts, discussions, and so forth. I think the thinking component of my personality type aligns well with the experimental method (which is integral to scientific education, but also more generally in life), while judgment allows you to come to conclusions and hold/argue a stance. In short, I’m sure there are plenty of personality types that work with biology and philosophy, but for me the topics, as well as a small liberal arts environment worked well.

Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
A: I think my personality definitely works well for my role at work. I manage a small team, and though I’m in a marketing position seldom have to publicly address anyone. So it’s honestly a pretty decent position for an introvert. I also think the level of management I’m at works well with my personality. I interact with the C-suite for my firm to gather the big picture on marketing efforts, and I get to be their eyes, ears, and voice on the ground (if you will). The judging portion of INTJ definitely helps with quick reactions when situations are changing and the team needs direction. Intuition is also a great skill for folks at the project management level to have. Every time you can cut out a potential conflict between team members before it actualizes, you save a lot of time.

Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
A: I think I’ve probably stated a good deal of that above. In short, I think INTJ works really well for people who interact with small teams and who need to both see the big picture and be able to react in a pinch. In school it’s a little more detached, but I think degrees in biology and philosophy complemented each other surprisingly well.

Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
In the past I’ve been overly analytical. This can pay off if I’m making decisions about marketing campaigns and the products we actually bring to the table, but periodically there have been disconnects between team members and myself. In my head the plan/implementation will make perfect sense, and something just wont be clicking in someone else’s head. I have to make myself take a step back and try to discover why objectives aren’t clicking for my co-worker. I think this sort of “you’re wrong” reaction can come from both the intuition and judgment elements of INTJ.

Interviewee 3:head_two
Age: 45
Gender: Female
Location: Tennessee
Job Title: Graphic designer

Q: Can you tell us a little about your educational history?
A: I attended private high school in a suburb of Nashville, and went on to study anthropology at a large state school as an undergraduate. I have always remained active in the arts, and have largely learned modern graphic design (Adobe suite products) through tutorials and resources online.

Q: What is your current position at work?
A: I am a freelance graphic designer with a number of online design clients as well as several local print publications I assist with layouts.

Q: Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
As far as formal education and my personality, I think I drifted towards anthropology because it gave me a lens through which to examine how people act and interact. I’ve always been a big people watcher and anthropology is a bit of an academic extension of that notion. Specifically, maybe the combination of intuition and judging from INTJ come into play with my choice of studies. Intuitive learners are able to infer things about the people around then, judging personalities like to come to conclusions about those people.

Q: Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
Definitely. I have always worked better solo than in groups, and–thankfully–graphic design is a career that often allows you to telecommute. I’ve always been good at coming up with creative concepts and then just chipping away at them. In certain situations there’s probably something to be said for being in an office and being able to bounce ideas off of others, but generally I think my personality lends itself to a telecommuting and creative career.

Q: What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
I think that being intuitive and judging enables me to go with my gut feeling and quickly come up with an angle where progress can be made on a project. Luckily there’s no one correct answer for any given design problem, and many times design choices are “correct” when the design “feels” right intuitively. I’m slightly introverted, so being able to work alone on projects really ups my productivity (or avoids the feeling of being drained I sometimes feel when overstimulated by others). In school, my major/department was somewhat smaller compared to many at the university, but the general ability to not always be running into people I know was nice.

Q: What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt due to your personality?
Even if you don’t work in the same physical space as others, periodic differences of opinion are often unavoidable. Having worked independently for some time, and feeling like a have a good gut response to most design problems sometimes makes it hard to work through an explanation of design choices with others. As I’ve mentioned above I definitely work better in small groups or alone, so this sort of notion transfers to a weakness my personality type brought to school as well.

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