Best Careers for an Introvert
Introversion is one element of personality and it brings certain challenges, but also certain benefits, to the workplace.
First, this article will define introversion and how to recognize it in yourself and others, and then it will list some careers best suited to introverts plus things to consider if you are an introvert looking for a new role.
Introversion is a facet of personality where the person generally prefers solitary life experiences and their own inner mind.
Spending lots of time with others drains their energy and they require time alone to recuperate. Therefore, they generally enjoy experiencing things alone or with one other person.
Introversion is considered a key aspect of someone’s personality and is the first trait listed on their MBTI type.
It is on a continuum with extroversion – an extrovert is a person who enjoys sharing experiences with other people and thrives on being social.
Introverts are often misunderstood or stereotyped, and this can sometimes affect them in their job search.
They are often thought of as quiet, shy and antisocial. But this is far from the truth.
People often think that being shy is synonymous with being an introvert – but this is not the case.
A shy person may want to interact with many people and may gain energy from it (the opposite of introversion) but just lacks the confidence to do so.
An introvert is not lacking in confidence.
An introvert is also not socially inept; in fact, many introverts really enjoy the company of other people. Generally, they would rather have a deep conversation than making small talk and will often feel drained by busy social environments.
Socially, introverts need to balance fun time with their friends with time to recharge.
Midway on this scale of introversion and extroversion is also the ambivert, someone who enjoys solitude but can thrive in social gatherings too.
This is actually the most common position on this continuum.
To relate this to the work environment, an introvert would likely thrive working independently in a quiet space and most likely prefers a job without too much networking or public speaking.
An extrovert may flourish in a team environment in a busy space with lots of work-related discussions.
The ambivert would enjoy a mixture of both – time to work unsupervised and alone, and time to discuss the work in hand, essentially a combination of busy and quiet times.
There are several traits that would suggest an introverted personality. These are important to consider when looking at what jobs suit an introvert best.
Here are some of the main ones:
Enjoys time alone – When an introvert has time to themselves, they would prefer to do a solitary activity than to socialize with others. This applies to both work time and on lunch breaks also.
They wait to be asked – Rather than put forward opinions and ideas voluntarily, an introvert is likely to wait until they are asked before saying what they think or feel. In a team environment, they would keep their ideas inward and display them through their work rather than vocally.
Avoid confrontation – If someone is angry or upset, an introvert is likely to avoid them. If there was an issue or debate at work, they would do anything to avoid getting involved.
Does not like small talk – Where an extrovert or ambivert may enjoy making small talk with shop assistants, workmates and acquaintances, an introvert would avoid this as they find it draining and unnecessary.
Leads with a strong team – Introverts can be great leaders if they have the right team. An introvert will study and analyze team members and draw the best out of them. They lead best with self-starters and others who can work independently.
There are five different types of introverts, according to Psychology Today: we
The Thoughtful Introvert – This type of introvert will not make any decisions until they have thought it through in great detail. This will include in-depth research and evaluation.
The Social Introvert – This type of introvert will need time to themselves after being in social situations. Whether or not they have enjoyed that interaction (and introverts can enjoy being sociable at times), they will feel the need to take some time out afterward to recharge and regroup. In a work environment, after a team meeting or group project, the introvert may want to sit in a quiet area or go for a lunch break on their own.
The Introspective Introvert – This type of introvert can be described as having many deep, inner thoughts and spending much time self-reflecting. They can use the feelings and thoughts in their ‘inner world’ to be creative and productive. Instead of voicing their thoughts and ideas to others, they relate them to a project and show them in the work itself.
The Overstimulated Introvert – As with the social introvert, who can feel drained after socializing, this type of introvert will feel exhausted after too much stimulation (loud environments, places with lots of noise and highly stimulating activities).
The Restrained Introvert – An example of a restrained introvert would be someone that thinks everything through before they speak; for example, when in social situations with strangers. They may not let too much information about themselves be known to people. Also, if something has upset them, they will restrain from saying so and confronting it vocally.
Although extroversion can be seen as favorable in many jobs, an introvert can be a great asset to a business.
In fact, introverts can have some of the best assets for the workplace:
They are great leaders. Contrary to the stereotype, introverts often make it to very high leadership positions such as CEO. This is because their key skills, such as listening, reflecting, innovation and creative thinking, make for great leadership skills.
Though they may not be the first to volunteer their ideas, the introvert at work may have the most creative and imaginative ideas. They would have thought everything through and eliminated risks and challenges to devise the best proposal or plan.
They are not easily distracted. As a rule, an introvert likes quiet space and working alone. This is great in many businesses, as it means that person will not be easily distracted or want to spend a lot of the day socializing.
Introverts are almost always good listeners as they prefer to wait before they speak and tend not to push ideas forcefully, which is a great asset to any team or workplace.
They do not need supervision when working. As the introvert likes to work in solitude, and will think and analyze before doing anything, this will mean they can be left to work independently, safe in the knowledge they will achieve the task without taking undue risks.
Introverts have high standards. An introvert will research, think and analyze everything. This means they will complete their tasks to a very high standard because, by putting a lot of thought in, they have likely come to care about the work a lot and want to complete it to the best of their capabilities.
Alongside an awareness of these beneficial introvert qualities, it is equally important to look at what the introverted individual should look for when job hunting.
Finding a job that suits your personality type and in which you can thrive is key to a successful and happy career.
Many ideal careers and jobs for introverts share similarities, which include:
- Being given independence and autonomy
- Not much, if any, public speaking
- One-to-one interaction or minimal interaction with other team members
- Valuing research and individual thoughts rather than lots of shared brainstorming and impulsivity
- Lots of solitary work, over team and collaborative work
- Tasks requiring focus
- Being within a quiet working space or environment
- Enabling the individual to focus on one task or project at a time
- Being creative or valuing ideas and attention to detail
- Working with other independent peoples in a non-leader role or a leader role with a small team of self-starters
Bearing all this in mind, here are some suggestions on the best jobs for introverts, including some high-paying jobs for introverts.
Average salary: £22,000–£25,000
This could be a great job for an introvert, as it involves working alone combined with sharing ideas and creative thoughts in the design work itself and not generally through meetings or presentations.
This role is often freelance, so no social interaction in the office is required.
Graphic designers may choose the fonts, colors and pictures that need to be used in publishing a document, or they may create images, posters, logos and marketing materials.
Average salary: £40,000–£45,000
As an introvert is often described as creative and imaginative due to their complex inner thoughts, an illustrator career would suit and reflect these traits.
The main role of an illustrator is to design two-dimensional images and pictures for businesses, such as magazines, publishers and marketing companies.
The illustration can be created digitally or physically.
Average salary: £30,000–£35,000
Working in a quiet and solitary environment, an accountant could be an ideal high-paying job for an introvert.
It also requires analytical thinking and not making risky decisions, which would suit a thoughtful introvert.
An accountant will prepare and analyze monetary records for a business or individual, ensuring finances are in order and taxes and bills are paid correctly and on time.
Average salary: £25,000–£28,000
A researcher is generally be left to do their job without supervision in a quiet space so they can concentrate.
The role generally means lots of reading and thinking. This would be great for an introvert.
Depending on the industry in which the researcher is working, the role could include conducting surveys (both online and in-person), conducting literature reviews, comparing and analyzing data, or creating reports.
Average salary: £28,000–£33,000
Although this role would potentially mean having to speak to customers, an IT consultant is otherwise a fairly solitary job.
Generally, it does not require giving opinions, as the issues are normally technical and the answer is right or wrong – no debating and little conflict.
This role would mean working with the client to advise on the best resources and tools for IT software and provide a strategy for implementing this.
Average salary: £27,000–£30,000
A copywriter typically works alone and needs focus to perform their role.
Copywriting requires being careful and using research to not make mistakes, as well as using imagination to make something unique.
It could also be a role done from home, so there is no need to worry about being distracted by a team.
The main purpose of a copywriter is to create concise content that will engage and persuade the target audience.
Average salary: £30,000–£35,000
This could be a suitable choice as a career for an introvert, as therapists work one-to-one with people, in calm, quiet environments.
Introverts are also good listeners – a very important skill for a therapist.
A therapist is a qualified medical clinician who works with people to help with mental wellbeing, whether it be trauma, long-term illness, phobias or other issues.
Average salary: £24,000–£27,000
Depending on the type of photographer, this can be a very solitary career; working alone and being creative. Assets that an introvert can enjoy.
Usually, even when working in a social environment such as a wedding, a photographer will be able to recharge at their editing desk after the event.
A photographer can take and edit images for several reasons and clients, from property businesses and marketing, to weddings and fashion.
Average salary: £38,000–£42,000
Using imagination and creativity plus well-researched information, a UX designer (user experience designer) works on building software.
Typically, they work alone, presenting their ideas through their projects once the scope is agreed upon.
Whether it is creating a website, developing an app or redesigning a brand’s look and feel, the role of a UX designer is to make the product work correctly, be accessible to the end-user and portray the brand how it wants to be seen.
Average salary: £30,000–£33,000
An introvert would be suited to this role as it engages their enjoyment of analyzing information and combines it with working on a one-to-one basis in a quiet environment.
The job entails using data to predict and improve the future for a business.
Data analysts use data to predict future trends or discover hidden forces affecting an environment.
Businesses use data analysts to find out why customers prefer one thing over another and to understand how to maintain their growth.
Average salary: £24,000–£27,000
Although this role has ‘social’ in the title, it often involves working alone and does not require much face-to-face interaction.
It is unlikely to involve any confrontation as social media managers often work from a pre-agreed guide on the brand’s aim, and so there is usually clarity within the business about what is required.
Also, it can use the introvert’s creative side.
A social media manager will create, post and manage content for a client’s social media platforms to encourage and engage sales and visibility.
This role could be freelance, which could mean working from home and not interacting with anybody else.
Average salary: £42,000–£45,000
Having a great imagination, an introvert could make a great author. Authors often work in solitude and tap into inner and creative thoughts. It could be ideal.
They usually do not have to work within a larger team or lead anybody else, only dealing one-to-one with people like publishers or their editor.
An author creates original text and content for a book, online publication or magazine. This differs from a copywriter because they are working entirely from their ideas and not under the direction of the person for whom they are creating content.
Average salary: £20,000–£23,000
This is a role where it is vital to work in a quiet environment, with little interaction and conversation with others. Librarian's work independently and with no supervision.
This role works in a library, managing and keeping track of all the books. They will liaise with customers wanting to borrow the books and manage the library itself.
Average salary: £20,000–£23,000
A job in high demand, this role would suit an introvert – they would work on their own every shift and spend most of the time driving, giving them time in their own thoughts.
This job involves collecting goods from and delivering goods to individuals and businesses.
Some may think that an introvert does not have the assets for many jobs and careers, as they are not as outgoing as an extrovert or have the combined traits of an ambivert.
They are likely to not upset people because they have the restraint to keep their feelings to themselves, they do not make many mistakes as they think before acting and like to analyze situations before making a decision and, even though they may not share ideas regularly in meetings, they can be very creative and let their ideas out in their finished work.
Introverts can be productive, thorough and not distracting to their workmates. Most people possess some traits of an introvert – read more about investigating your personality here and see where you fall on the introvert-extrovert scale.