For anyone who’s an introvert, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say some careers suit you better than others. Think of things like facilitating large group activities, MCing events, or having to go to networking event after networking event. How are you feeling?! If you’re feeling drained just thinking about those, then you are likely to be an introvert.
For a moment, let’s consider the definition of an introvert. Wikipedia defines introversion as:
“the state of being predominantly interested in one’s own mental self. Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective. Some popular psychologists have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction.”
There’s a lot written about introversion and extroversion, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certainly popularised the notion of extroversion and introversion, along with other personality traits, with their typing tool.
I have written about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tool here:
Introverts typically prefer calm environments, and can feel quite drained in situations that are overly stimulating, such as very crowded environments and social situations. Introverts will often need some down time alone after a highly stimulating event to recoup their energy. Other characteristics of introverts are that they often prefer to observe an activity before participating in it, and are often more analytical before speaking. They might do their best work alone, and enjoy quiet activities that can be done alone such as writing, drawing, reading, gardening or gaming. Introverts often prefer to stay home than continually go out socialising, and prefer smaller groups of close friends than a huge party.
Interestingly, shyness is very different to introversion. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy, which means that you might feel nervous in social situations. Introversion and shyness are not the same. An introvert will be drained from socialising. That said though, lots of introverts love socialising, provided that the socialising is meaningful to them in some way.
Preferences of introverts
- like to work alone,
- feel drained in social situations,
- prefer to stay out of the spotlight,
- don’t always know what to say,
- often get caught up ‘in your head’,
- are better at writing down thoughts than speaking them,
- seek meaning,
- dive into relationships and interests,
- have a rich inner world,
- dislike small talk and talking to strangers, and
- can feel out of place in a world that seems to embrace extroverts.
When you consider this, it stands to reason that there are careers that can really suit introverts. There will also be careers that are naturally suited to extroverts, that introverts can very capably do but might feel quite drained doing them.
The best careers for introverts
There are so many careers that suit introverts. They typically involve tasks that are predominantly computer-based, or if not computer-based are largely individual in nature. Here’s my list of top careers for introverts:
Writers and bloggers – you can be immersed in your own inner world, and write content that is meaningful to you.
Scientific researchers – working in a lab or in the field conducting research suits introverts, and even though you might be part of a research team, the work is often quite solitary.
Website testers – finding bugs in software, apps and websites is largely done individually, although you will be interacting as part of a bigger team usually.
Programmers and app developers – your work will largely be done from behind your computer, despite still being part of a larger team who will give you requirements.
Video and film editors – most of this work is done on a computer using video editing software. There is some interaction with people, like directors and other editors, but the bulk of the work is done independently.
Geologists – geologists study the earth’s composition, with a focus being on rocks. The work, whilst often part of a team is quite solitary, and geologists spend time in the field as well in the lab.
Archivists – the work is usually solitary, and involves the appraisal, cataloging and preservation of records.
Animal groomer – groom, feed, train and exercise animals. The animals are your focus here, and you work largely independently.
Administrative assistant – administrative support roles that don’t require lots of phone interaction often suit introverts beautifully. In these roles you can prepare correspondence, provide support with data and reports, and support the smooth running of an office.
Financial clerk – these are financial processing type roles, such as accounts payable and receivable. Sometimes these roles do have some customer interaction, so it’s important to find out the level of customer interaction required before applying for such a role.
Online marketers – your computer is your friend here, and whilst you might spend lots of time on social media, you are working individually to develop and maintain brand from behind your computer.
One size does not fit all
Introverts can still have ‘extroverted’ jobs, but the fact remains that they will feel drained by those jobs. The skills required in those jobs don’t come naturally to an introvert, and they leave the introvert feeling drained and needing time to regroup and get their energy back.
I know introverts who are amazing group facilitators. You would never know that they are introverted by looking at them or hearing them speak, or watching them in a group setting. They just need to work harder at it than an extrovert, and they need down time afterwards.
Whilst introverts can practice their social skills to become more capable in social situations, it doesn’t change the fact that you still feel drained at the end of those interactions. That is something you can’t change. Practice can certainly improve yous social skills though!
The very best career for an introvert
All introverts are different, but in my view, the very best career for an introvert is an online career in affiliate marketing. I’m probably biased because that’s what I do, and I LOVE it! I’m in my element. I get to write about things that are interesting to me, and I also get to help people who want to change their lives and create their own dream careers from home.
You can learn it from home, at your own pace. No group assignments, no presentations. A lot of the work that happens, apart from being at your computer, is in your head. You spend lots of time thinking and planning, and coming up with new and creative ideas. You don’t need a degree to get started.
As an introvert, I’m quite happy to go a whole day without talking. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people, because I really do like people. In fact, my personality lends itself to counselling and helping others. Doing this online is the best of both worlds.
Working in affiliate marketing means that you can retain your inner world, hone your writing skills, delve deeply into topics that you love, stay out of the spotlight (if you choose), seek meaning in things, and spend time alone.
What is your best recommendation for a career for introverts? As always, leave me a comment or a question and I’m always happy to help.