Searching for a new job or career can be a daunting task at the best of times. But in today’s modern workplace it can seem especially disheartening for an introvert. Changes such as open office environments and team collaborations becoming more and more commonplace can be concerning. Or reading about employers favoring outgoing personalities can be worrying and knock back your confidence. But you need not be concerned. An introvert can have a fulfilling and successful career without enduring a working life of stress and anxiety.
In fact, you may be surprised to hear that introverts have many qualities that are desired and sought out by employers. And even better, there are many career options that don’t require lots of social interaction with customers or co-workers. Suffer from anxiety? Don’t worry, there are many good jobs for introverts with anxiety. Never been to college or university? Again, don’t worry, there are some great careers for introverts without a degree or even any previous job experience. Are you creative? There are plenty of career options for creative introverts. But before we discuss what actually are the best jobs for introverts, it is important to understand what is an introvert and how being introverted is advantageous in the workplace.
What Is An Introvert?
Does the idea of spending a day or even just a few minutes talking to colleagues or customers make you shudder? Do you cower at the thought of large meetings or speaking in front of several people? Do you feel exhausted and drained after lengthy or even any social interaction and need time alone to recover? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you are probably an introvert.
There are many misconceptions about this personality type. It is commonly thought that introverted people are shy, socially awkward, anxious, or even distrustful of others. This is, of course, completely inaccurate. An introvert is simply someone who prefers a calm, low stimulus environment.
According to the American Psychological Association, introverted people are usually quiet, reserved, prefer to work alone, and more focused on their internal feelings than towards the outer world. Although introverts can enjoy socializing, social interaction tends to leave them feeling exhausted and drained. Introverts regain their energy by resting and spending time alone.
Introversion is perfectly normal. According to Positive Psychology, a study in 1998 by the Myers-Briggs organization found that introverts make up 50.7% of the United States general population and extroverts make up 49.3%. So one out of every two people you know is possibly introverted! Introversion is surprisingly common! An introvert is simply a person who prefers calm environments, less social interaction, and has a greater than average preference for solitude.
Advantages Of Being An Introvert In The Workplace
Despite popular belief, extroverts are not always the best choice for employers. Being an introvert offers many potential advantages in the workplace. Introverts offer a lot of remarkable strengths that more extroverted people often can’t. They have many qualities and traits that are incredibly valuable to employers. Being introverted is certainly no liability for career success. Introverts can be incredibly productive, proficient, successfully climb the career ladder, and become leaders. So what are the advantages of being an introvert in the workplace?
1. Introverts are self aware and empathetic
Generally, introverts have a much higher level of self-awareness than extroverts and are far more sensitive to other people’s needs. Therefore, they tend to be more compassionate and considerate of their colleagues and customers. The ability to understand and appreciate other people’s perspectives is an invaluable and often underrated trait in the workplace.
2. Introverts are excellent listeners
Listening is said to be one of the core strengths of introverts. In fact, probably the greatest strength of an introvert in the workplace is their ability to listen. This is because introverts are far more comfortable than extroverts to just sit back and take in knowledge and insight from their colleagues and employers. They tend to take the time to ingest and process information in every meeting or conversation before responding. This results in careful consideration of their thoughts before answering or making a decision. It is this ability to listen and absorb which helps progress their careers and makes introverts a valuable asset to any workplace. Listening is a skill every employer looks for in an employee.
3. Introverts are more creative
Have you noticed how many talented and successful writers, artists, and scientists are actually introverts? Google a few, you’ll be surprised! This is because introverts are naturally more creative than extroverts. In Susan Cain‘s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, she explains that studies by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist discovered that the most creative people in many fields are often introverted. It is in fact solitude, not collaboration, that often leads to creative insights.
4. Introverts are more productive
In the workplace, introverts prefer solitude, away from socializing, office distractions, and office drama. Even when working from home they will seek out a quiet location, away from family disturbances or outdoor noise. And of course, it is common knowledge that most people are more productive with fewer distractions.
5. Introverts are self-reflective
Introverts are better than most people at reflecting on their mistakes and formulating ways to correct them.
6. Introverts are reliable
Introverts can be trusted to listen to and follow instructions or orders in the workplace. This is why they are often promoted to important posts within a company.
7. Introverts have a healthy work life balance
Introverts are very aware of how draining social interaction at work can be. Daily interaction with employers, colleagues, and customers can be extremely tiring. They understand how important it is to take time to relax and practice self-care to prevent overload and ill health. Therefore introverts often have a positive work-life balance that leads to a healthier life and improved well-being. Staying healthy and refreshed helps you stay alert and productive and makes you a better employee.
8. Introverts make considered decisions
Introverts are often criticized for over-thinking decisions, but this can be incredibly beneficial in the workplace. When it comes to making decisions, introverts tend to take a more analytical, thoughtful, and cautious approach. A 2008 study by Jutta Stahl and Thomas Rammsayer found that it takes an introvert longer to process information than an extrovert. They tend to not make impulsive decisions, but take into consideration the multiple outcomes of a decision before coming to a conclusion. This usually leads to well thought out, well informed, and balanced decisions.
9. Introverts make open minded and passionate leaders
There is a common perception that introverts do not make good leaders, but this is not true. Introverts often become very committed to causes they believe in. Because they are so committed, they tend to rise to leadership positions to enable progress in their causes. Other reasons introverts excel as leaders are that they are great listeners. They can think ‘outside the box’, are open to new innovative ideas, and are able to make calculated decisions. All valuable traits of successful leaders.
However, it is interesting to note that according to Laurie Helgoe, author of ‘INTROVERT POWER: Why Your Inner Life if Your Hidden Strength’ and clinical psychologist and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, introverts can excel at being leaders but only in specific scenarios. Laurie says in her book: “it seems that introverts are better at supporting and channeling the initiative and creativity of employees, while extroverts lead better when employees are more passive.”
The 16 Best Jobs For Introverts
Searching for employment can be challenging, and especially so for people who prefer spending time alone. It is important to remember that you are just as capable of getting employment as an extrovert. Understanding your needs and recognizing your strengths will increase your chance of success. The primary concern is to find a work environment and company culture that suits your personality and also caters to your strengths. As Susan Cain said in her TED talk ‘The Power Of Introverts‘ “the key to maximizing our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us”.
So how does an introvert decide on a career in what seems to be an overtly extroverted world? You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that some of the best paying and fulfilling jobs are actually perfect for introverts. There is a large choice of careers that, not only play to the strengths of an introvert but give them the opportunity to flourish and succeed in an otherwise extroverted world. Best of all, there are plenty of attractive, well-paid career options that don’t require conversing with customers or even co-workers. In fact, not desiring or needing social interaction is actually a strength for these careers. Whether you prefer to work from home, in an office, or in other locations, many jobs exist which meet the demands of an introvert.
If you are looking for a solitary career, working as an accountant certainly qualifies. The two general areas of accountancy are public accounting and corporate or business accounting. An accountant spends the majority of the day working alone with numbers, records, and organizing and analyzing financial data. Many accounting positions require very little or even no contact with other people. This is why many introverts excel in this field. If you have strong analytical skills and enjoy working with numbers, accountancy can be a profitable and fulfilling career.
Median Salary: $71,550 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
Animal Care Worker
Do you prefer spending time with animals than conversing with humans? I think most introverts would answer “yes”! Have you considered becoming an animal care worker? Animal care workers spend their days providing care for animals, feeding, exercising, bathing, and grooming them. They also interact with animals, play with them, and observe their general behavior for any signs of stress or ill health. Work can be found at animal shelters, zoos, veterinary clinics, pet shops, and stables. Certainly a good job for introverts who love animals.
Median Salary: $24,990 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: A high school diploma or equivalent. A Certificate in Animal Care or Animal Behaviour would increase chances of employment.
An archivist collects, assesses, organizes, and preserves archives and records deemed to have historical or long term value, both physical and digital. Being an archivist really is an incredible job. Information archived today may well be referred to in hundreds of years’ time! An archivist can work for a variety of organizations, including museums, historical societies, historic sites, colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals, businesses, and national parks. While the job may involve some interaction with the public, usually you are working on your own. It is not unusual for an archivist to work on a project for weeks or months with no human contact. This may make this career possibly one of the best jobs ever for introverts!
Median Salary: $49,850 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in archival or library science.
If you enjoy spending time with engines, transmissions, electronic systems, and other mechanical parts that don’t talk back to you, a career as an auto mechanic may be in your future. Mechanics are commonly employed by auto-workshops, garages, car dealers, vehicle rental agencies, and transportation companies. Many mechanics choose to be self-employed, working in their own garages in solitude. Although a self-employed mechanic would have to converse with the vehicle owner, it would usually be a one-on-one conversation (so no large groups) and the conversation would revolve around the vehicle. Maybe the perfect job for an introvert who loves working on vehicles.
Median Salary: $42,090 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical systems and are always in demand and well-paid. An electrician could be an excellent job choice for an introvert as electrical work is mostly undertaken alone. The electrician may need to interact with clients to discuss their requirements, but from then on they work independently and undisturbed.
Median Salary: $56,180 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Electricians are usually trained through an apprenticeship.
A forester is involved in the science of management, conservation, and rehabilitation of forest woodland. Foresters manage both public and private forested lands for conservation, recreational, and economic purposes. Activities can encompass timber harvesting, ecological restoration, recording water quality, soil stability, protection of wildlife habitats, conservation, and day-to-day management of protected woodland areas. Foresters can also specialize in specific areas. These areas include purchasing timber from forest owners, managing the forest ecosystem, conservation foresting, and urban foresting. However, no matter in which field of forestry you work, a forester’s day is always outdoors and usually solitary making it a great career choice for an introvert.
Median Salary: $61,790 per year (O*NET).
Educational Requirements: Foresters typically need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field.
Freelance translators are self-employed and mostly work from home, making this job an excellent choice for the introverted job seeker. Translators are usually proficient in at least two languages, one of which is usually English. They generally translate documents from one language into another, usually working from a foreign language and translating back into their mother tongue. Translators work with many kinds of documents, plus translating videos and audio recordings.
Median Salary: $51,830 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: A freelance translator generally doesn’t need any qualifications, but must be able to prove proficiency in English and another language. An employed translater typically needs at least a bachelor’s degree.
A graphic designer is someone who combines creativity with technology. They might create custom artwork, stationery, website design, marketing materials, logos, and infographics. Designs are usually created using specialized software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Most importantly though, a graphic designer usually creates their designs alone. You may from time to time have to communicate with clients or a work colleague, but most of your day will be spent working in solitude. Probably one of the best jobs for creative introverts.
Median Salary: $52,110 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: If you wish to work for a company, graphic designers usually need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. For a self-employed designer, a portfolio that demonstrates their creativity and originality will often suffice.
Do you love books? Have you ever considered a career as a librarian? If you are looking for an extremely quiet workplace with only a minimal amount of human contact, a librarian could be the introvert’s dream job. Librarians are employed in various settings including public libraries, colleges, universities, schools, educational institutions, prisons, law firms, museums, corporations, healthcare providers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations Tasks can include acquiring, selecting, classifying, cataloging, maintaining, and circulating library materials. Evaluating books and other resources for adding to collections. Librarians also perform strategic research, analyze, filter, and edit information, and work with databases to catalog and access information.
Median Salary: $59,500 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Librarians typically need a master’s degree in library science.
Online Chat Support
A chat support agent assists customers online across a broad range of industries. The job can entail answering customer’s questions, helping with purchases or returns, handling billing issues, or providing technical support. Although chat support does require messaging people or maybe speaking on a phone, it doesn’t require face time which makes it an ideal job for introverts. Even better, many support agents work from home so you won’t have the stress and anxiety of commuting to a workplace and interacting with chatty colleagues! To become a chat agent, you will need a computer with reasonably fast and reliable internet access and the ability to type quickly and accurately. Some employers also require a background in customer service.
Median Salary: There are many types of industries that require online support agents. For example, a computer support specialist has a median pay of $54,760 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Varies depending on the industry.
Social Media Manager
A social media manager is a perfect job for an introvert. It requires a lot of time working online and with limited social interaction. Plus it’s a job you can perform from anywhere with an internet connection. Just imagine spending your day working alone in complete solitude on an empty beach. Bliss! A social media manager normally manages their employers’ social media accounts. The responsibilities can include setting up and managing social media accounts. Managing and publishing content across social media accounts. Building a brand, and creating, developing, and implementing marketing campaigns. Social media specialists also start and follow conversations and interact with the public online.
Median Salary: $50,473 per year (GlassDoor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: The ability to demonstrate a command of social media platforms and an understanding of how to build and manage a following.
Plumbers install, maintain, and repair water and gas pipes as well as drainage pipes for homes and businesses. They also fixtures such as install sinks, showers, baths, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers. Plumbing can be a satisfying and lucrative career choice. Other than initial interaction with clients, plumbers generally work alone making this profession a great job for an introverted personality.
Median Salary: $55,160 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Most plumbers learn the trade through an apprenticeship.
A truck driver is possibly the best job ever for introverts! You spend your working hours alone cocooned in your truck on the open road. Truck drivers can travel the country, drive locally, or a combination of both. For the truly introverted, long-distance truck driving may be the best choice. Long-distance drivers can be away from home and alone for weeks at a time. Can you imagine? No social contact for weeks on end!
Median Salary: $45,260 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: A high school diploma and a commercial driving license (CDL).
Another good job for introverts is a video editor. Video editors use their creative and technical skills to assemble unedited raw camera footage, dialogue, sound effects, and special effects into a finished product suitable for broadcast. They usually spend their day’s alone editing footage on a computer while wearing headphones. A video editor needs to be experienced in editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, AVID, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Adobe After Effects. There are several fields in which an editor can work including motion pictures, animation, internet video, video games, social media, corporate training videos, commercial advertising, music videos, and television.
Median Salary: $59,810 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Video editors usually need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting. If you don’t have any qualifications, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you have the required skills to employers or clients if self-employed.
Did you know that (according to Siteefy) there are over 1.2 billion websites on the internet and there are several new sites created every second! Check out the second by second new website counter at Internet Live Stats. This of course means that web development is a growth industry and web developers are in demand. But what does a web developer do? Simply put, they design, create, update, and maintain websites. A developer may specialize in setting up the back end of a site which involves working with databases, low-level computing, and architectural solutions (back-end developer). Or focus on website design, graphics, shopping carts, etc. (front-end developer). Web developers who undertake both front-end and back-end work are called full-stack developers.
Median Salary: $73,760 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Requirements can range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. Web developers need knowledge of both programming and graphic design.
One of the best careers for introverts has to be a professional writer. Writers usually work alone at home with very little, or even zero face-to-face interaction. Writers can be self-employed, freelancers, or traditional employees, and can work in a variety of industries. When someone describes themselves as a writer, people often think of a novelist or essayist. But there are many other avenues a writer can pursue. Positions can include working as a technical writer, journalist, social media manager, news reporter, editor, magazine writer, and of course a blogger.
Median Salary: $63,200 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational Requirements: Typically a degree in English, journalism, or communications for a full-time position as a writer.
Median salary figures courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET, and Glassdoor.
Introverts can be incredibly successful in any walk of life. There are introverted chief executive officers, scientists, authors, engineers. singers, and public speakers. Just because you are introverted and prefer to work alone doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful, fulfilling, and well-paid career. This article lists just a small selection of what I think are the best jobs for introverts. There are of course many more career paths available to you. My advice is to recognize your strengths and follow your passion. Seek out jobs that cater to what you do best yet offers you the peace and solitude you require to flourish.
To get you started on your job search, I can recommend these excellent job recruitment sites: Monster, Career Builder, Glassdoor, Indeed, and FlexJobs.