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ISTJ Careers - Best Jobs and Career Growth Advice

What traits do ISTJs bring to work, and what should they look for in their career?

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Landing a satisfying career for an ISTJ should be aligned with who they naturally are; organized, dedicated, very capable of carrying roles with responsibilities and adaptable to working alone or with colleagues. When the work allows ISTJs to put forth their best talents, there is a greater chance than an ISTJ career will be a success and allow them to develop professionally.


ISTJ Career Opportunities to Seek Out

Work which matches what ISTJs naturally enjoy, there is a greater chance of success. An ideal ISTJ career is one that allows them to practice the following qualities.
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Superb attention to detail

ISTJs have the ability to concentrate on the task at hand for long stretches of time, without needing much social interaction and without needing to understand the big picture. They are not deterred by tedium; in fact they enjoy familiar routines.

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Organization skills

ISTJs are analytical thinkers who can often create highly organized systems and processes that maximize efficiency and productivity. These are tailored to the specific tasks that they have at work. There will be a structure for the daily tasks and even somewhat infrequent activities will have a well-thought through list of procedures that can be followed.

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Responsibility

ISTJs don't mind taking on responsibility. Whether working independently or leading a team, they can be counted upon to ensure each minute detail is taken care of.Not shying away from responsibility is a key facet of an ISTJ career that can help propel them forward in their career.

strength

Versatility

As introverts who take pride in the ability to get along with others, ISTJs can be found at all organizational levels working alone, as managers, or side by side with teammates of a diverse array of MBTI types. They pick up new skills with ease and don't mind to much if the overall goals change, as long as their tasks are set clearly before them.


ISTJ Career Elements to Avoid

Like all types, an ISTJ is less suited to some tasks and styles of working. If these can be avoided, there is a greater chance the ISTJ can have a happy and productive working environment.
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Lack of Clear Structure

To feel comfortable in the workplace, ISTJs need a clearly defined role and tasks. They also need to know the roles and responsibilities of the people they work with. They need to know who to ask when they have questions. They find it disruptive when members of organically structured teams frequently trade roles and when leadership consists of a team or committee rather than an individual.

weakness

Shared or Cluttered Work Environments

ISTJs believe that there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place. With permission, they will immediately de-clutter and organize a shared workspace so that they will be able to function in it. If they share an office with someone who has a different organizational system or prefers to keep surfaces covered with various items, things won't work out.

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Creative License

Many organizations encourage innovation and incentivize new ideas. This is unwelcome pressure on an ISTJ who has already found the one best way to get things done. They can be quite creative when there is a need, but in most cases, they would much rather focus on productivity than waste time reinventing the wheel.

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Risky Ventures

ISTJs don't enjoy big changes and disruptions in their lives. When they start a new job, they hope it will last a good number of years and they hope their loyalty will be rewarded. They seek out companies that are well-established with traditional business models that have stood the test of time.


Managing an ISTJ at work

Best way to manage and work with ISTJs

Identifying which type each person who you are managing can help significantly in bringing the best out of your team during any project. Versatile and productive, ISTJs are a valuable addition to any team. Here are a few pointers for managing an ISTJ employee to make them happier, comfortable, and productive at work.

Your new ISTJ employee will be polite and professionally dressed, friendly but not overly chatty. They will carefully read each document and focus on every word you tell them. You will be impressed with how much information they retain and how quickly they pick up new skills. Their workspace will always be tidy, and they will rarely miss quotas or deadlines.

To ensure your working relationship with this valuable new employee is long and productive, be very clear about the details of your expectations as well as the ISTJ's role within the organization. Be as specific as possible about what each part of this employee's workday will look like. Let them know how long tasks should take and what methods are acceptable. Provide challenging but realistic quotas.

face reading open book

ISTJs have the rare ability to look at themselves and their work objectively. They welcome constructive criticism as they are always striving to improve their performance.

You may suggest to your ISTJ employee that new ideas and suggestions are welcome, but don't expect any disruptive behaviour unless there is a clear need to reorganize the workspace or enhance operations in some way.

  • ISTJs like to see the immediate results of their efforts.
  • ISTJs work best in highly organized and clutter-free environments.
  • ISTJs prefer to feel that they are an integral part of the company or organization and that their contributions are valued
  • ISTJs are skilled collaborators, but they usually prefer to work on tasks independently

Responsible Employees

ISTJ employees take their responsibilities seriously. As long as proper instructions, tools, and space are provided for the ISTJ employee to work, you can entrust them to fulfil each requirement down to the last detail, no matter how tedious the tasks may be.


Working with ISTJ Colleagues

Best way to work with ISTJs as your colleagues

Understanding how different people behave at work and what their preferences are can make for a more productive and amiable workplace. Let's take a look at some ways to optimize the time and space that you share with ISTJ co-workers.

ISTJs maintain a calm, pleasant demeanour in the workplace. They are good at small talk, but they will usually keep it short so that they can focus on the task at hand. This makes them difficult to get to know on a personal level while in the workplace. They do enjoy work-related friendships, however, and are likely to accept an invitation for tea, drinks or other common social events outside of working hours. They connect most easily with others who take their work as seriously as they do and share their loyalty to the traditions and organizations that provide stability and structure for their lives.

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Stay close to your ISTJ colleague if you like to work in companionable silence and if you are open to advice that will help you improve your work.

ISTJs can be quite direct when offering constructive criticism. It's important to know that this isn't coming from any meanness or competitiveness on the part of your ISTJ colleague. They place the company and their tasks above their own feelings without thinking about it. Assuming that others do the same can make them appear somewhat insensitive.

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To ensure that the you will get along with an ISTJ colleague, keep your workspace tidy and avoid indulging in gossip or emotional displays.

If something is bothering you, don't expect an ISTJ to notice on their own. Verbalize your feelings in a calm tone and clarify anything you would like them to change about their behaviour. They are usually open to feedback and willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure everyone on the team is comfortable and happy once they've been told that something is wrong.

  • Communicate clearly and don't take criticism personally. They are criticising your work, not you.
  • Don't try to chat or gossip too much during work hours.
  • Keep any shared workspaces tidy and organized.

Data: Careers reported by ISTJs

Survey data on ISTJ career choices

What are most and least popular with ISTJ career choices?

Figure 1: Survey data of which careers ISTJs currently work in

career choices

What this chart shows

This chart shows the percentage of ISTJs who work in each industry sector compared with all personality types. ISTJs are overwhelming found in Healthcare/Medical, Advertising/Marketing, Automotive/Aerospace, Hospitality/Leisure, and HR Consultancy. Education, Finance - Other, and Technology - Software contain far fewer ISTJs than the average.

Notes:
  • 1. n=27985
  • 2. Population: all
  • 3. This data shows self-report data to the question "what is your primary career?". Results do not necessarily imply these are the most or least suitable career choices, just the most and least frequently selected by people with ISTJ personality type.
  • 4. Live dataset last updated:

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Ellie Simmonds, MSc

University of Bath, Psychology

Ellie Simmonds, MSc in Psychology from University of Bath. Ellie is an associate lecturer on psychometric assessments and has extensive knowledge of the 16-type model.