Introverts get energy from being alone, which is why they’re more often writers and less often teachers. Here are a few career ideas for people with introverted personality traits, plus a test for introversion.
Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz is an important read for introverts who are searching for a job. Since you spend 40 hours a week at work, finding a career that suits your introverted personality is crucial to your health, happiness, and well-being. But first, you need to know how to get ahead despite your introverted personality traits.
In this article, I describe what it means to be an introvert and share a few of the best jobs for introverts. I’m introverted, and found that it took a long time to accept and be comfortable with my personality. I love being alone, and I love writing all day long. I could go for a week without talking to anyone. That’s how I get my energy: being alone! And that’s how I know I’m an introvert. What about you – how do you know you’re an introvert? Do you know what career suits you best? Here are a few career ideas to consider…
What Is an Introvert?
If you’re an introvert, you’re in the minority! But that doesn’t mean it’s “bad” to be an introvert. It’s just that most people in North America are extroverts.
“You’ll find introverts in all walks of life,” says Shoya Zichy, co-author of Career Match. “However, you’ll find that more of them seek professions such as biologists, engineers, computer programmers, economists, and writers. These occupations require that people spend more time alone rather than working in teams.”
People with introverted personality traits:
- Get energy from “down time”
- Listen more than they speak
- Prefer to speak with one or two people at a time (instead of several people, or a big group)
- Are more detail oriented
- Need more personal space
- Are usually reserved
- Wait to be approached in social situations
- Are reflective and appear calm
- Think before speaking or acting
- Know a lot about a few topics
- Enjoy working alone or with one person
Source of these introverted personality traits: Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz.
Career Tips for Introverted Personality Types
If you have no idea what your purpose in life is, read 10 No-Fail Ways to Know What to Do With Your Life.
1. Figure out where on the “introvert extrovert” scale you are
Most people have both introverted and extroverted personality traits. And, most people tend to be a little more one than the others…which is why taking a test for introverted personality traits is helpful!
For instance, if you’re highly introverted, then you might want to focus on a job or career that allows you to be alone most of the time, focus on details, and avoid groups or energetic social situations. If you’re only moderately or just slightly introverted, then a more social job might work well.
2. Accept your introverted personality traits
Many shy, quiet people think they’re socially inept, weird, or antisocial! Introverts don’t always realize that they’re simply drained by groups of people and that they process their thoughts differently than extroverts. The more you know about introverted personality traits – and the more comfortable you are with yourself – the easier it’ll be to settle into a career (and a life) you like. And, dealing with workplace stress and office politics will be easier if you have a little self-awareness and insight into how you tick.
If you feel uncomfortable being labelled as an introvert, read 30 Famous Movie Stars and Celebrities Who Are Loners.
3. Don’t give up in your search to find a career that suits your personality
So many people with introverted personality traits are stuck in jobs that don’t suit their personality types. Maybe they became discouraged during their initial career search and gave up too quickly, or they let a family member or friend railroad them into the wrong type of work. Maybe their supervisor or sheer luck kept giving them job promotions, or they couldn’t afford to quit and look for different work.
Whatever the reason, it’s smarter to stay focused on finding the best job to match your introverted personality traits – no matter how long it takes – than to give up before achieving your professional goals.
4. Research specific companies and occupations
In the list of jobs for introverts at the beginning of this article, Zichy mentioned writing as a career. While it’s true that many writing jobs allow for independence, a quiet work space, and attention to detail, it depends on where you work!
For example, if you’re a reporter for a big city daily newspaper, you’re not likely to have your own office and lots of quiet time (at least not at the beginning of your writing career!). Finding the best job for introverts and quiet people isn’t just about deciding that writing is a good job for you as an introvert. You need to take it a step further, and research the actual company you’re thinking of working for, the work or office environment you’ll be in, and the specific job you’ll be doing.
“I hope that you’re doing what you love for a living,” writes Nancy Ancowitz in Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead. “If not, I encourage you to take steps in that direction – or at least find a way to include activities that you enjoy during your personal time.”
Here are a few job ideas for people who’d rather be alone…
Career Ideas for People With Introverted Personality Traits
First, are you an introvert? Take this test for introverted personality traits.
When I searched for “best jobs for introverts”, I didn’t find many lists of career opportunities. I found a few articles that describe Laurence Shatkin’s types of introverted personality traits. He’s the author of 200 Best Jobs for Introverts, and says introverts can identify their perfect job by learning the type of introvert category they fit into.
Shatkin ’s Types of Introverts
So, if you’re an “artistic introvert”, you’d be happiest in a job that allows you to create art. The best jobs for people who are “social introverts” are those that balance people with working alone.
But instead of focusing on different types of introverts, I’d rather describe a few career categories that people who like to be alone would enjoy.
Self-employment, freelancing, or working from home
I’ve been working at home as a freelance writer for five years, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I love to be alone, love to write, and love being self-employed. If you’re an introvert who has a skill (eg, writing, editing, graphic design, etc), the self-discipline or motivation to work independently, and the ability to invest a year or two in starting your business, then self-employment may be the best path for you.
Can you support yourself as a blogger, web writer, data entry clerk, or social media expert? Those online jobs require minimal person-to-person interaction, and lots of alone time. Real Writing Jobs has several types of online job opportunities – not just writing.
If you need to make money right away, read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.
Quick list of jobs for introverts:
- Truck driver
- On air personality (radio DJ)
- Internet technology or computer programming
- Night cleaning person/janitor
- Night watchman
- Lab worker or researcher
- Trades: carpenters, plumbers, landscapers
- Science: geologist, pathologist, engineer, statistician, actuary
- Finance: accountant, stock broker, bookkeeper
But the problem with suggesting particular jobs for introverts is that not everyone has those skills. For instance, an air traffic controller may work alone a lot, but she needs to know how to deal with high stress situations.
I believe the best way for you to find a great career is to find your passion, and then search for the circumstances that allow you to work at your passion alone.
Career Tips for Introverts
Remember that finding the right job isn’t just about being alone. It’s about figuring out what your strengths are, what you enjoy doing, and what makes you feel fulfilled.
Another book for job seekers with introverted personality traits is The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career.
Also, you’ll probably never find a job in which you’ll totally be left alone. Instead, you need to focus on finding a job that minimizes the time you spent with groups of people. This is good because you don’t necessarily want a job that totally isolates you. My job – a home-based freelance writer – is extremely isolating, and after five years I definitely have a touch of cabin fever. I’m starting to look for a part-time job outside of working from home. So, my fellow introverts, be careful what you wish for.
If your dream career involves music, read How to Get Over Stage Fright – 6 Best Tips for Introverts.
What do you think of these jobs for introverts and quiet people? I welcome your thoughts below…