It’s difficult to be an introvert in an extrovert’s world – a world that can’t stop talking, according to author Susan Cain who started a Quiet Revolution with her bestselling book Quiet.
The book highlighted the power of introversion. It put a positive spin on traits such as shyness, sensitivity and seriousness. Suddenly being an introvert became akin to having superpowers.
But while many of us identify with introversion, we’re not true introverts, says Jade Varley, human behaviour and career change expert of Suited to Business.
Varley says we could be an ambivert. “What’s interesting about introversion and extroversion is that there is a spectrum. Often, we label a person as either an introvert or extrovert, when they might be an ambivert, which falls right in the middle.”
If you’re unsure about where on the spectrum you fall, you can take the Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) online to discover the importance of your personality type in choosing a career.
Are You a True Introvert?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines an introvert as someone who is shy, quiet, and unable to make friends easily.
This is obviously an oversimplified definition of what it means to be an introverted person. It also fails to acknowledge the many benefits of being introverted.
An Introvert’s Superpower: Creativity.
In a TED talk, Cain explains when introverts deny their true nature society loses creativity. “When it comes to creativity and leadership, we need introverts. When psychologists look at the lives of the most creative people, what they find are people who are very good at exchanging and advancing ideas but who also have a serious streak of introversion. And solitude is a crucial ingredient to creativity,” she says.
An Introvert’s Personality Traits:
- Needs time to think and process
- Is detail-oriented and focused
- Is energised by time alone
- Prefers one-to-one discussions
- Values privacy
- Needs time to plan
- Prefers deep connections (over casual conversations)
- Has few interests/friends
- Prefers listening to talking
So, when it comes to choosing a career, what do introverts have that extroverts don’t? Are there jobs where introverts shine?
Varley says, absolutely! “The better the career match to your level of introversion the more energy you will have for your role, providing it’s enjoyable and you’re skilled at it,” she says.
Varley says the following careers lend themselves to an introverted personality-type but keep in mind the nature of any job varies from day-to-day.
Accountants deal with numbers daily and need to be detailed, a common introvert trait, to ensure work is accurate.
The nature of a technician’s role will vary depending on the industry but they generally work alone and need to deal with complex, technical, detailed problems.
Analytical problem solving, research, finding and analysing factual criteria are essential to the work of engineers – these are all introvert-biased tasks.
As with most introverted careers the atmosphere of a science lab is extremely quiet. You can literally hear a pin drop! The working environment also tends to be dark and away from lots people – perfect for introverts!
- IT Professional
IT requires very detailed, technical and complicated problem solving that needs a high level of concentration and quiet time away from distractions. A true introvert will enjoy this solitude, increasing their productivity and wellbeing.
A significant majority of lawyers are introverts, due to the very detail-orientated nature of their work. Lawyers need to be analytical and to be able to look at things from multiple angles. Depending on the speciality most lawyers’ day-to-day tasks include report writing and understanding legislation.
- Court Reporter
Consider yourself a wallflower? You’re perfect for the job of a court reporter. Simply record and transcribe proceedings then write your report – no need for interaction with lots of people as a court reporter generally works alone.
- Urban & Regional Planner
The day-to-day role of an urban & regional planner consists of report writing, reading detailed legislation and managing small teams. The offices of town planners are generally quiet. There are some extroverts in urban and regional planning but they’re in the minority.
Alone, writing and reflecting with limited contact with people – the life of a writer is an introvert’s dream – particularly as many introverts also love to read!
- Vet Assistant.
Veterinary assistants and animal caretakers may work with a small group of people but generally work independently to care for animals in a clinic or lab. Assistants are responsible for feeding, bathing and exercising the animals, cleaning cages and examination areas, assisting during procedures and dispensing medication.
Like technicians, analysts often need silence to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions. There are many different types of data analysts, including operations analysts, marketing analysts, financial analysts.
- Social Media Marketer
This sounds like an oxymoron, we know! But social media is computer-based socialising – perfect for those of us who are introverts. Your job is to make sure your company is visible on social networks but you’ll spend most of your time hidden behind a computer.
Is Your Personality at Odds with Your Career?
If your job’s zapping your energy you could be in the wrong career for your personality-type. Or perhaps you’re in the right career, but the wrong company, says Varley.
“Problems arise when an introvert is in an extroverted environment and they don’t feel comfortable but aren’t sure why.”
An example of this situation is a social media marketer who enjoys quiet work behind a computer in a real estate agent’s office. “Real estate agents are traditionally extroverts and the social media marketer is likely to feel drained and at odds with the team culture if they are expected to act and be different,” she says.
Varley says an introvert will feel drained by the expectation of having to socialise and working in a noisy and distracting office.
“It’s important to realise, people may appear extroverted but this is more their personality than their natural behavioural style,” says Varley.
Study Like a True Introvert.
Australian Online Courses have hundreds of professional development courses to suit every personality-type. Browse the courses that we feel most value an introvert’s perspective on the world.
At Australian Online Courses learning is delivered via our state-of-the-art eLearning platform, so you can study anywhere and at any time – in the quiet of your own home! You won’t feel alone though with access to dedicated tutors and supportive administration staff seven days a week to ensure your success.
As a further commitment to your success, Australian Online Courses also provide all students with a free Graduate Careers Package, to help you find work after you have completed your course.
Contact one of our friendly consultants today and find out how you can begin a career that values your true self.