The modern workplace holds many challenges for introverts. The noise and distractions of open-plan offices are not conducive to an introvert’s best work, and collaborative porjects are often prioritized above individual efforts.
In the right roles, however, introverts can really thrive. Here are six careers where introverts can use their gift for calm, focused effort to its fullest:
1. The Legal Profession
When you think of the legal field, you might immediately imagine an extraverted lawyer confidently declaiming aloud in front of a courtroom. In reality, as many as 60 percent of lawyers may be introverts.
It makes sense when you start to think about it. The nitty-gritty of legal work involves a lot of preparation and strategizing. Lawyers spend the majority of their time researching, writing, and preparing strong arguments for cases. Introverts are particularly well suited for such long stretches of solo work.
2. Creative Work
The digital age is fueled by content of all forms, from videos and photos to blogs and articles. There are a wealth of jobs and freelance assignments available for videographers, photographers, and writers, all of whom do the majority of work on their own.
Contrary to popular belief, introverts can also be social media influencers and vloggers — as long as they can control the amount of interaction they have with their audiences and recharge when needed.
3. Research Work
Extraverts might struggle with being shut in a room or lab for hours, poring over results and writing reports. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to enjoy their own company and concentrating on specialized tasks. Any research role in any field, from medical to academia to industry analysis, is perfect for introverted employees.
In some research roles, you may have to present your findings regularly to a group. Introverts can become good public speakers, but it may require some practice. If you decide to take a research role that involves public speaking, be sure to always give yourself time to prepare and rehearse ahead of your presentation.
4. The Tech Industry
The tech industry is often associated with the image of a programmer sitting alone at a task, typing away. Because they require long periods of working alone, many tech roles are good for introverts, from system administration and software engineering to data analysis, data science, and web development. As an added bonus, jobs in this field also tend to pay well.
5. Social Media Management
With the word “social” in its title, you’d be forgiven for thinking this isn’t a good field for introverts. However, the majority of social media management involves behind-the-scenes work creating content, responding to comments, and answering questions.
Introverts are good listeners, which makes them good at developing content that appeals to audiences. They also tend to think carefully before they speak, allowing them to keep a cool head during PR crises.
6. Running a Business
Running your own freelance business involves a lot of individual work. It also offers a lot of autonomy and flexibility, which can appeal to introverts in particular. Skills like coding, writing, carpentry, and plumbing all lend themselves to self-employment, if that is a road you are interested in taking.
Believe it or not, introverts can also be successful CEOs. In fact, one study found the highest-performing CEOs tend to be more introverted. Strong leaders are reliable, thoughtful, and consistent in their actions — which just so happen to be three of an introvert’s biggest strengths. Additionally, because introverts are good listeners, they are more likely to solicit and value ideas from their employees. This leads to both more innovation and more engaged workers, which are critical for business success today.
Ultimately, there’s no single “best” role for introverts, because a career involves a lot more than just a job. Your happiness hinges on your colleagues, your manager, the company culture, your work style, and even where you work.
So, if you’re an introvert looking for the right career, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, plus the kind of work you enjoy and the environment you’re most comfortable working in. Even if you find a role you love, it isn’t going to be suitable if you have to collaborate with a lot of people or work in an open-plan office.
Izaak Crook is the content marketing manager at AppInstitute.