Career Ideas for People With Introverted Personality Traits

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.

Best Jobs and Careers for People Who Like to Be Alone

Self-Promotion for Introverts

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.

Best Jobs and Careers for People Who Like to Be Alone

Jobs for People With 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

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

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
  • Artist
  • Photographer
  • 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…


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19 thoughts on “Career Ideas for People With Introverted Personality Traits”

  1. Rachel ~ when I lived on Bowen Island, I volunteered at a library every Saturday for 3 years! I LOVED it – I wanted to volunteer at one of the libraries in Vancouver, but they only let paid staff do the checking books in and out, re-shelving, helping people find books, etc. I’ve always wanted to work at a library, but … I hear what you’re saying about finding the time to get the right credentials. In my next life, I’ll be a librarian.

    Whatever you choose to do – working at the library, volunteering, taking a stab at a new blog – it’s never a waste of time if you love it! Life is TOO SHORT to do things you “Have” to do, to pay the bills. That’s why I’d rather earn less and live cheaply and do what I love, versus making more money but dragging my butt to work every day. Thoreau called it living a life of quiet desperation, didn’t he?


  2. Hi Laurie!

    I have to admit you practically moved me to tears with your new article (inspired by lil’ ol’ me!). Seriously, I thank you very much. It’s a great help.

    I work part time in a library. Shelving and pretty much talking with folks about books. Bliss for me, but the pay is even less than gravy(!); thus my husband thinks I’m wasting my time there (conversation for another day; yet perhaps – but I like getting up for work these days). I’m actually halfway through my masters in English, however in order to even be considered to move up where I am, I need a different type of masters. That program’s about 2-4 years…. that’s what I really meant about time.

    Blogging? I would absolutely love that, but I don’t have a clue as to what my topic would be. I’ve been stumped on that before since I would expect it to be financially feasible for me and the family, and not even look like a hobby. I’ll give it more thought again. Great idea. Even though I enjoy what I’m doing now, I would welcome the opportunity to work full time from home (as I did with real estate), especially since we have a child in elementary school. I’ll get Ferriss’ book this weekend and explore more.

    Thanks again, Laurie. I greatly appreciate your reply and your new article. I’d like to update you later if that’s okay. Virtual coffee included!


  3. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for your comment – it’s great to hear from a fellow introverted writer! :-)

    Do you have a blog? What is the part-time job you love doing?

    I wrote this article for you:

    Let me know what you think. My best tip would be to scale down your living expenses, and try to live off your husband’s income. That way, you can keep working part-time and keep writing your novel. What do you think?

    All good things,

  4. Hi Laurie! Thrilled I found your site. I lucked up into the perfect job for me late last year. Unfortunately, it’s part time and the pay is not good. I’m in my late 40s and no time for the advanced degree it requires to move up, though I’d love it. My husband’s in real estate – he is definitely in his element. I was there with him for a while until I realized how much I hate it. I told him I’d do it again, since we need the money, but the thought closes up my throat and sometimes I break out in a sweat. Not kidding at all. I always knew I was an introvert, but now, I’m trying to figure out how to help my household financially and maintain mental sanity and appreciation in the process. I am writing a novel too. That’s where I am most happy and also when I’m reading other novels, but we need money. Thoughts? And thanks for your time.

  5. Dear Makesyouwonder,

    Thank you for your kind comments! I really appreciate hearing from you. I’m glad you sense my spirit – that makes me feel so good.

    What sort of articles are you looking for? Did you mean articles on starting a blog, or articles that inspire and encourage people?

  6. Hi Jon,

    My husband is a geologist, and he often works in mining and exploration camps as well! I’ve never been in a situation like that, but I think I’d have a hard time working in a camp for a long period of time. It’s good experience, though.

    Thanks for commenting – I’d love to hear if you decide to go down the PhD path after all!


  7. I can appreciate Jon’s comment. As a geologist I have spent considerable time in camps and introvert or not, it is stressful. But I do know several geologists that spend very little time with more than a couple people. As with several of the careers Laurie lists, geology jobs can swing between crowded and solitarily depending on the job.

  8. I love to write. And as a social, creative type of introvert I think I’d love starting a blog. But I’m not sure where to start. My heart is especially drawn to people who need some very real hope in their lives and I’ve been through many experiences, not unlike you, where I can fully relate to pain–physical and emotional. Can you recommend any articles about the subject. I love your blog and the spirit you exude here. God bless you.

  9. Hi,
    I’m a geologist and my experience being an ‘extreme’ introvert in this field is not good. If one were to follow a research path (ie, PHD) maybe, but in exploration and mining one is often living in close quarters in a camp with half a dozen or 200 other people for weeks/ months and it has taken a serious toll on me mentally and eventually physically. I need alone time to recharge and this was a good career choice from a financial perspective but, a very poor choice for keeping my head in order. But, great resource you have here. Cheers!

  10. Hi Sandra,

    I’m thrilled to be in the MSW program at UBC! The classes run the gamet from counseling to social policy to anti-oppressive practice, and there is a lot of class discussions (except for the social policy class). I love that the students have all had social work experience, and am learning so much.

    As with everything, however, there are some things that aren’t perfect. I haven’t been placed in a practicum yet, which I wrote about in

    And the courses are a lot easier than I expected. I thought grad school would be harder. I’m sorta glad for this, but sorta disappointed. Of course, I’m just finishing my first of four terms…so the classes could get tougher! In fact, I expect they will.

    I think an MSW is a really good degree, whether or not you’re introverted. It qualifies you for a wide range of possible jobs, and gives you a solid background of theory and practical training.

    I hope this helps…good luck on the application. Let me know if you have any questions.


  11. I think I’m more of an introvert than extrovert and have been considering social work myself, as a career change from communications/PR. If you’re familiar with myers-briggs personality types, I think I’m an INFP (introvert, intuitive, feeling, perceptive). I’d like to find out what you think of being in the MSW program at UBC – I am working on my application now for the foundation MSW there. Are you enjoying it?

  12. Theresa, thank you for your comments! It’s good to know that psychotherapy is a good job for introverts, especially since I’ll be starting my MSW at UBC in September, and I want to counsel people for a living. I was worried that me being an introvert wouldn’t be a good fit for my future job as a counselor, but you’ve helped me see that maybe it would work really well!

  13. I’ve been a social worker (26 yrs.) and worked in politics during that time for 11 years. The job in politics drained me beyond explanation.

    Currently I have a private practice as a psychotherapist. It matches my personality very well. My clients aren’t “friends” so that expectation isn’t there. I have complete choice about who I spend my free time with. I love it.

  14. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Athena, if you need tips on starting out in freelance writing (one of the BEST jobs for people who like to be alone and who can work independently!), just google “Quips and Tips for Successful Writers.” Lots of help there :-)

  15. I would love to be isolated all of the time at my job. I just cannot handle being around others. Being alone and a freelance writer would be perfect for me. I just need to figure out how to get started.

  16. I like your point about some of us need time to work alone but not completely alone. Deep thinking is I think an introvert trait so it takes more responsive time.

  17. Very interesting read, I am finding myself hooked to these types of articles. Up until now I had no idea what I was, think I am more introverted than anything and would love a job were I am not in large groups of people. Currently self employed and I am also getting the cabin fever which is why I am going out and being a bit more sociable to make sure I don’t go insane lol.

    I am not sure what else I would like to do, maybe stack shelves on a night + what I do now (graphics design, social networking websites etc).

    Very interesting article, thanks for this.

  18. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your tip, QuietGal! It’s good to know that radiology is a good job for people who like to be alone. And it’s a valuable, helpful job, too.

  19. I know labworker has been mentioned previously, but anyone who’s interested in the medical field and is an introvert may want to into radiology. There isn’t much interaction with the patients and your normally work by yourself or with another person.