ESFP Personality Type: Definition, Traits and Careers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 23, 2021

Published December 12, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personality assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help you select a career path based on your psychological preferences, strengths and challenges. Recognizing your unique preferences—such as knowing that you are extroverted and thrive in social situations—can be the key to finding a career that is the best fit for you. The ESFP personality is one of the 16 personality types assessed by Myers-Briggs.

In this article, we explain what ESFP stands for, its unique characteristics and how this personality type functions in the workplace. We also identify the ideal career paths for this personality.

What does ESFP stand for?

ESFP is an acronym that stands for Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving. Also known as "The Entertainer" or "The Performer," this personality type has the uncanny ability to always be the life of the party and is generally considered to be friendly. These individuals go with the flow of things, and they love going to parties and being the center of attention.

Here are some brief descriptions of the four areas that encompass the ESFP personality type:

  • Extroverted (E): Extroverts are typically outgoing and expressive personality types. They seem to thrive in team environments and working toward solutions through discussion.

  • Sensing (S): Sensing types use their five senses to experience situations. They also like practical ideas that can be put into action immediately. New experiences are preferred and cherished.

  • Feeling (F): Feeling types are known to trust their gut and go with their instincts. This type may choose a new job because it 'feels right’ over a job that looks like the right choice on paper.

  • Perceiving (P): Perceiving personality types enjoy open-ended spontaneity. They function best when allowed some flexibility.

ESFP characteristics

ESFPs are naturally curious and have an eye for aesthetics. They enjoy changing their environment to better reflect how they feel. Though they are spontaneous and playful, "The Performer" personality always has a listening ear to those in need.

ESFPs are sensitive to how their decisions affect others, and they are always willing to help make things better. This trait combined with strong interpersonal skills makes them conscientious peacemakers and diplomats. Group discussions and teamwork are well-suited to this personality as they generally prefer to be around people.

ESFPs can feel stifled in a traditional classroom environment. This personality type prefers hands-on experience to book learning. ESFPs can be very practical and resourceful. A dynamic environment with a lot of social interaction would keep them motivated and productive.

Strengths of the ESFP personality type

All personality types have inherent strengths. ESFPs range from being natural leaders and having the ability to adapt to new situations to possessing a knack for creativity. Here is a list of some of the most common strengths of the ESFP personality type:

  • Creativity: "The Entertainer" has an eye for aesthetically pleasing things. This gives them the keen attention to detail that creative work requires. As a sensing personality, they find joy in things that create fun-loving environments and sensations. Creative problem-solving is great for an ESFP because it requires the unique thinking that this personality naturally possesses.

  • Diplomatic and friendly: One of the biggest strengths of the ESFP type is the ability to move between different groups of people with relative ease. They are good listeners who genuinely care about how other people are feeling.

  • Observant: As people who use their feelings and five senses to inform decision-making, ESFPs are keenly aware of their environment. This ability also helps with moving through social situations and picking up on social cues before others.

  • Adaptability: The ESFP personality is highly adaptable to change because they have a natural tendency towards spontaneity. With flexibility as a preference, they thrive in environments where they don’t get stuck in a routine.

  • Positive attitude even during difficult times: Extroverts are generally cheerful people, and ESFPs love the possibility of positive change. Disliking negative outcomes, they create stories or affirmations to cope with situations to remain optimistic. This tendency helps the ESFP get through tough times gracefully.

  • Leadership abilities: A necessary attribute of leadership is emotional intelligence. "The Performer" has a people-first mentality that is well-suited to leadership. They genuinely look forward to promoting the success of others with encouragement and enthusiasm.

Weaknesses of the ESFP personality type

The weaknesses of an ESFP may include poor planning and being hurt by constructive criticism, as well as becoming quickly bored and uninterested in repetitive tasks. Below is a list of some of the more common weaknesses associated with the ESFP personality type:

  • Hurt by criticism: Because ESFPs are sensory detectors and feelers, they can be hurt by constructive criticism more than others. Without maturity, the ESFP may feel backed into a corner and be resistant to change because of the difficulty of facing personal weaknesses.

  • Poor planning for the future: This impulsive, feet-first personality can get into trouble from lack of planning. Because they thrive on flexibility and new adventures, there can be a propensity to skip the planning phase altogether. This can lead to the ESFP feeling lost in their career or collecting a lot of debt.

  • Easily bored with repetitive tasks: Routine, repetitive work is a problem for "The Entertainer" who craves newness and flexibility. Without the proper balance, "The Entertainer" can feel trapped and unhappy in this environment.

  • May seek immediate gratification: Delayed gratification is necessary for the achievement of any long-term goal, but an ESFP can run into difficulty here because of their impulsive nature. They thrive on creativity, and sometimes the work necessary to complete the creative work is routine and repetitive. Individuals with these traits must learn to find enjoyment in the tasks required to reach a goal.

  • Can struggle with inner conflict: Though the ESFP is a great listener and great with people, they can fail to face their own internal conflicts. Dealing with personal turmoil is key to emotional maturity and well-being.

  • May lack focus on long-term plans: As a personality who dives right in, an ESFP doesn’t care to plan. Impulsiveness can result in a failure to look at the bigger picture. This can lead to the lack of patience that is required to focus on long-term goals.

ESFP values and motivations

The ESFP personality is motivated by activities that energize them. They thrive on public outings and building connections with other people. They love to entertain their friends and others with stories, songs or expressive behavior. They want everyone to have a good time and will help a friend talk through a problem if needed.

"The Entertainer" is enlivened by witnessing creativity and beauty through forms of art, nature and fashion. They will also jump at the chance to be creative in a hands-on approach.

ESFPs in the workplace

At work, ESFPs thrive when they are given flexibility with their schedule and task completion. A more hands-off management style is best for this personality type. ESFPs want to help others and create a sense of togetherness among employee relationships. Because people typically like an ESFP's boldness, keeping them energized will likely have positive benefits on the rest of the employees.

The strengths ESFPs possess make them distinctly suited to work in environments that involve a lot of variety and social interaction. Jobs as counselors and social workers are ideal for this trait. For creativity and an eye for design, "The Entertainer" could enjoy a career as an artist, photographer or fashion designer. An ESFP personality can shine in any field of entertainment such as music, acting or dancing.

Best jobs for ESFPs

Here is a list of 10 jobs well-suited for an ESFP personality type. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link for each salary below:

1. Social worker

National average salary: $57,579

Primary duties: Social workers offer support to children, adults and families to help improve their lives. They are responsible for providing mental health counseling, making client assessments, finding resources to help the client, advocating for them during crisis and more.

2. Interior designer

National average salary: $58,147 per year

Primary duties: Interior designers are responsible for creating a design based on client goals, ordering materials and services within budget and overseeing the construction process.

3. Paramedic

National average salary: $19.71 per hour

Primary duties: Paramedics are responsible for driving emergency vehicles, responding quickly to emergency calls, providing emergency treatment en route to the hospital, tending to wounds and injuries as well as many other urgent medical situations.

4. Fashion designer

National average salary: $62,930 per year

Primary duties: Fashion designers are responsible for making clothing and accessories for men, women and children. They may also manage or mentor other designers and assist with the marketing of designs.

5. Photographer

National average salary: $14.92 per hour

Primary duties: Photographers are generally responsible for discussing goals with the client and prepping the necessary equipment and scene for the day of the shoot. Afterward, they are responsible for editing and delivering professional quality photos in a timely manner. Freelance photographers have the responsibility of marketing their work and seeking out new clients.

6. Psychologist

National average salary: $85,764 per year

Primary duties: These professionals collect data on clients via interviews, observations, surveys and more. Psychologists are then responsible for assessing that data to determine the best treatment for the client. Some fields are primarily related to the study and analysis of behavior and brain functions.

7. Childcare provider

National average salary: $11.58 per hour

Primary duties: Childcare providers are responsible for providing a safe environment for children, helping children with hygiene and diaper changes, preparing meals and some teaching of primary skills.

8. Human resources specialist

National average salary: $52,867 per year

Primary duties: These professionals ensure that all employees understand and have access to HR policies and all applicable laws. They complete paperwork pertaining to hiring, terminating, promoting or transferring employees. HR specialists are also responsible for mediating work conflicts when they arise.

9. Head coach

National average salary: $33.95 per hour

Primary duties: A head coach of a sports team is responsible for preparing athletes for games, developing talent, preparing strategies for competitions, following regulations of all governing bodies and more.

10. Pediatrician

National average salary: $179,777 per year

Primary duties: A pediatrician’s responsibilities include diagnosing and treating injuries and illness in children and teens, assessing a patient’s medical history and ordering any necessary medical tests.

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