The 15 Best Jobs for Introverts
- Introverts thrive in professions that offer them plenty of space and independence.
- Most introverts perform better in workplaces with fewer external distractions.
- Good jobs for introverts include accounting, engineering, and technical writing.
Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy, soft-spoken, and socially awkward. In fact, some introverted personality types boast excellent social skills and form rich relationships — they just prefer not to put as much energy into social interaction, or simply desire more alone time to rest and recharge.
The reality is that we all think and interpret things differently depending on our surroundings and the motivating factors at play. Like extroverts, introverts can adapt to their environments and a variety of workplaces. Nevertheless, introverts are often better suited to careers that offer a high degree of independence and self-reliance.
What Is an Introvert?
Many hold misconceptions about introverted and extroverted personality traits. In truth, there is no single definition that can place people exclusively on one side of the scale or the other. According to most theories, everyone possesses some degree of introversion and extroversion.
One of the most widely recognized theories on the psychological concept of introversion was introduced by famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who popularized the term. According to Jung, introversion is an "attitude-type characterized by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents."
Those who agree with Jung's interpretation believe that the typical introvert struggles to adjust to social situations and is overall reserved, sensitive, and contemplative. The popular Myers-Briggs personality test many of us have taken for job interviews is based on his theories.
German-born British psychologist Hans Eysenck presented another popular interpretation of introversion. His three-factor model proposes that introverts possess naturally higher excitation levels, leading them to avoid stimulating environments.
There is no single definition of an introvert. Most theories suggest that people possess some degree of both introversion and extroversion.
Eysenck believed that introverts and extroverts are defined by their level of arousal, or how stimulated and responsive they are to their surroundings. To him, introversion was the result of an overly aroused autonomic nervous system.
A more recent theory of introversion was presented in a research paper by Colin G. DeYoung, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who specializes in personality psychology and neuroscience.
According to DeYoung, "People who score low in Extraversion are not necessarily turned inward; rather, they are less engaged, motivated, and energized by the possibilities for reward that surround them. Hence, they talk less, are less driven, and experience less enthusiasm."
Some famous introverts include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Abraham Lincoln, and Michael Jordan.
The 15 Best Jobs for Introverts
Regardless of which theory of introversion you subscribe to, being an introvert doesn't limit your career options — you can choose from many exciting careers. The best jobs for introverts listed below are extremely well suited for introverted personality types.
These careers provide work environments that allow for greater independence and one-on-one interaction. Individuals with superior listening and problem-solving skills are more likely to excel in these types of roles.
For more information on the educational requirements for these jobs, check out our BestColleges careers guide.
|Job||Median Salary||Job Growth Rate (2018-28)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accountants aren't necessarily known for their bubbly personalities, and you likely won't see any job descriptions for accountants that require an outgoing nature. This is what makes accounting an ideal career path for people who prefer to work alone. With the continual changes in tax laws and the expansion of global commerce, society will always need qualified number-crunchers.
A career in architecture works well for introverted personality types. While architects must meet with clients and other industry professionals, much of their time is spent working independently on planning and designing buildings. Architecture is a great career choice for people who enjoy using their creativity, focus, and problem-solving skills.
Artist / Graphic Designer
Artists come in all personality types, with some working independently at home or in a studio, and others working in an agency setting surrounded by other creative-minded people. No matter what type of artist you are, however, you probably spend long periods of time alone developing your craft — perfect for imaginative introverts.
Graphic designers are good examples of artists who can work independently, especially as self-employed freelancers. To be a successful artist or graphic designer, you must have a solid portfolio of work to show potential clients.
Editors serve as the link between the writer and the reader. Often working alone, editors analyze texts for quality, clarity, consistency, and grammar. A passion for detail and accuracy is a must-have for this occupation.
Engineers are currently in high demand, and these jobs typically pay very well. What's great is that both introverts and extroverts can thrive in engineering environments.
As an engineer, you'll use mathematical and scientific principles to find solutions to technical problems, working either independently or on a team. You can choose from among a wide array of specializations, such as the following:
IT Specialist / Manager
Information technology (IT) jobs don't require an outgoing personality but do call for a passion for computers and information systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2018 and 2028.
Libraries are quiet places, so it makes sense that this profession would attract introverts. An influential 1992 study found that almost two-thirds of librarians who took the Myers-Briggs personality test fell into the introverted category.
Paralegals help attorneys stay organized. Duties may include assisting with trials, organizing case files, performing research, and preparing legal briefs. Though you'll be working alongside lawyers and other professionals, you'll spend most of your time conducting research and gathering information.
Psychologist / Psychiatrist
While psychologists and psychiatrists both interact with clients and patients, they do so by listening deeply and empathizing with others' challenges. Empathy and listening skills are common among introverts, who are often sensitive and caring individuals, and are critical to becoming a successful mental health practitioner.
As a psychologist or psychiatrist, you'll typically work one on one with clients and small groups to assess, diagnose, and treat the psychological problems and behavioral dysfunctions related to your clients' physical and mental health.
Because social interaction is not generally a job requirement for scientists, introverts tend to thrive in scientific fields. Scientists are rational, curious, and inquisitive — all traits that describe introverts as well.
Scientists work independently or with others and spend much of their days conducting research to advance knowledge in a particular field. Here are some of the different types of scientists you could become:
Technical writers produce instructional and technical manuals, including how-to guides and other supporting documents, in order to communicate complex information in an easy-to-understand manner. Being able to work independently is a key component of this job.
Writing — whether fiction or business copy — is an excellent career path for introverts. Writers let their words do the talking for them, and it's a craft best pursued alone, making it appealing to independent types.
As John Green, author of the bestselling 2012 novel "The Fault in Our Stars," said, "[Writing is] a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it."
Finding Professional Success as an Introvert
Personality type naturally drives people toward certain professions. Careers that involve extensive interaction with others are often a natural fit for extroverts, whereas careers that offer the freedom to work independently tend to attract introverts.
However, just because a certain career choice may be better suited to an extroverted personality type doesn't mean that an introverted personality type can't be just as successful in that career (or vice versa). Ultimately, success is what you make of it.