I spent the first thirty years of my life genuinely believing that I was an extrovert. I’m pretty outgoing, love hanging out with friends, and as a recruiter, I was constantly on the phone with prospective new hires. But I also really value my alone time and can easily (and happily) go several days without talking to another soul. And man, could my co-workers wear me out! I was so excited when I finally got a real office with a door that I could close for a little peace and quiet.
The way I perceived my seemingly extroverted traits shifted dramatically when I took a Meyers-Briggs personality test
. At first, I thought the results were off, but the in-depth description of my personality type was spot on. Turns out, I’m a total introvert. And it explained a lot.
What Is an Introvert? What's an Extrovert?
I used to think that introverts were shy or socially awkward people, but that’s a pretty inaccurate (although pervasive) stereotype. Being introverted simply means that spending time in social situations drains our energy, while being alone serves to recharge our batteries (hence most introverts’ affinity for quiet days spent alone or nights in with a bottle of wine or favorite movie). Extroverts
are simply the opposite – while their personality type might not be so obviously different, they’re energized by social interactions and can feel drained when they spend too much time alone.
So what’s a driven, career-oriented introvert
to do in a modern-day professional world full of open-concept offices and constant connection that seems to cater to extroverts? In addition to building in time for yourself throughout the week and prioritizing activities that’ll help you recharge, you can also seek out jobs that complement your personality and more introverted preferences.
Jobs for Introverts
Here’s a quick round-up of some awesome positions that just happen to be perfect jobs for people who are introverts.
1. Blogger or Writer
Creating content – whether for a blog, marketing campaign, social media, or novel – requires hours and hours of quiet time spent alone with little face-to-face interaction. Writers, depending on their deadlines, often enjoy long periods of uninterrupted time to research, outline, and draft their masterpieces. Introverts also tend to be pretty introspective, and will likely enjoy hours of thoughtful reflection as they brainstorm their next article or plotline.
Writers can be freelancers, self-employed
, or traditional employees. Check out the five best job boards for freelance writers here, learn the 10 steps to starting your own business here, or browse sites like Indeed, Career Builder or LinkedIn for full-time writing opportunities.
2. Financial Advisor or Accounting Specialist
While jobs in the finance and accounting space may require a fair amount of client interaction or team meetings, depending on the role, these positions also demand countless hours spent behind a computer, working in complex spreadsheets, or sifting through financial statements. There’s also tons of variety in this industry – from consulting and tax accounting to business valuation or auditing. And great news: According to CNN Money/Payscale, CPA job opportunities are expected to grow by 11% over the next 10 years.
3. IT Specialist
Aside from the occasional (yet consistent) requests for IT support and troubleshooting from colleagues, most IT professionals enjoy tons of time alone with their computers, technical equipment, and network servers. Even better? A lot of those social interactions can typically be handled remotely.
Does IT sound like the perfect field for you based on your personality traits? Search current openings on the Fairygodboss job board
4. Graphic Designer
Leveraging your creative skills to create custom digital artwork calls for tons of alone time with your computer and favorite design program. Sure, you might work with a small team and juggle a few clients at a time, but as a graphic designer, you’ll have tons of opportunities throughout the day to escape back into your latest design project.
5. Scientist or Researcher
Working in a lab – whether with chemicals or data – is usually pretty peaceful (barring the rowdy celebrations that I assume follow every major scientific breakthrough) and involve lots of solo analysis and testing.
Even better? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, Medical and Clinical lab tech jobs are expected to grow by 16% through 2024 – way faster than average.
6. Animal Care Specialist, Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
No small talk here! Caring for animals
is not only incredibly rewarding, but most jobs at animal shelters, zoos, or veterinary offices (barring the front desk and pet parent consultations) call for little social interaction. And if you’re feeling particularly chatty, animals are great listeners; they’ll keep your secrets too.
Although not very lucrative, there are plenty of dog walking and pet sitting opportunities available on sites like Rover.com, and this line of work can also be a great side hustle.
7. Chef, Pastry Chef, or Line Cook
Sure, chefs spend a decent amount of time interacting with kitchen and wait staff, and occasionally make an appearance at the request of a delighted diner, but they also spend hours cooking up new menu options, prepping ingredients or perfecting flavorful dishes. This line of work can be intense, but should also allow enough time for an introvert to recharge on their own. Not up for the chaos of a fast-paced restaurant? Consider a small bistro or a job as a personal chef!
8. Arborist, Horticulturist or Gardener
There’s no need to make idle small talk when you’re tending to the needs of a beautiful old tree or budding garden (although there is evidence that plants thrive when we sing to them). This field also offers a surprisingly diverse variety of opportunities – from landscape architecture to grounds manager or tree surgeon (possibly the most awesome job title ever) and—great news—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, grounds maintenance jobs are expected to continue to grow by at least 6% through 2024.
9. Interior Designer
Interior Designers typically work with just a handful of clients at a time and spend countless hours shopping for furniture, testing out paint samples, and tracking down the perfect lamp, rug, or vase. Losing yourself in a design project will give you a chance to reboot your energy so that you can dazzle each and every client.
10. Whatever You’re Passionate About
Hey, just because we introverts tend to get a little worn out by social interaction doesn’t mean we can’t excel at whatever we set our minds to! There are tons of introverts who are CEOs, sales managers, teachers, flight attendants, customer service specialists, and HR managers (the list goes on). This one aspect of your personality certainly won’t determine your entire career path, but knowing yourself and taking timeouts when you need them will help you to avoid burnout and enable you to share the best possible version of yourself with your colleagues and clients. And if you’re passionate about your career path, even better!
Embracing my introversion has been so liberating. I now recognize when I need my alone time and am able to politely communicate that to my friends, family and co-workers (it’s not you, it’s really me – I promise!). I’ve also gleefully embraced freelancing and working from home. Eliminating interruptions from colleagues and the constant social interactions that come with working in an office has not only boosted my productivity but left me feeling way more energized at the end of every day. And I’m still my outgoing, bubbly self – just a more self-aware version.
11. Anything Remote
Regardless of the role or industry, working remotely - whether as a social media manager or consultant of some kind - enables introverts and shy people to limit interruptions and structure their schedules in a way that works for them, possibly spacing out calls or meetings to allow time to recharge. Depending on your personality type, working from home can get a bit lonely, but much less so for introverts who can gladly spend long periods of time alone.
Need help tracking down remote opportunities? Here are 31 places to look:
- 99Designs - 99 Designs is a great place to find project-based work or meet clients who are interested in your graphic design skills. If you’re a creative type, and happy to work on a freelance basis designing logos, mobile apps or websites, you can find project work and meet longer-term clients as an independent contractor on this site.
- Authentic Jobs - This job board is focused on creative types with skills in graphic design, UX or front-end web development. Though they have a range of jobs from contract and temporary positions to full-time roles, you can search and filter for remote positions only.
- Axiom Law - Axiom is a digital law firm in the sense that attorneys in their network work either on-site at a client, remotely (or in some combination of the two). It is a way for attorneys who are looking for an alternative to going into a traditional law firm to practice. Some attorneys are staffed on a long-term basis to the same client(s) while others appear to work on discrete projects.
- Business Talent Group - Business Talent Group bills itself as a marketplace for high-level professional consultants to meet top employers such as corporations and private equity firms looking for senior-level hires on a project basis. They boast an impressive clientele list and may be a good fit for you if you’re an executive-level professional looking to work as an independent contractor.
- CloudPeeps - CloudPeeps is a freelancer and independent contractor community focused predominantly on content creators, community builders, marketers and social media types. Hourly gigs range from $30/hour to $150/hour and are based on rates that freelancers set for their own work. Monthly gigs and projects are also available.
- Fiverr - As the name of the company implies, gigs listed on Fiverr all start at $5 (USD). Fiverr calls them services (rather than projects) and each freelancer in this community lists specific projects they are willing to complete. Sometimes the services cost more than $5 but the initial “test service” is only $5. The services on Fiverr are wide-ranging and can be eclectic, ranging from writing you a powerpoint presentation and proofreading up to 1,000 words, to creating a custom rap song to doing a celebrity impersonation for a video. At this price point, this site may be best suited to those looking for small amounts of supplemental income.
- Freelancer - With an impressive international reach and focused on the small business marketplace, Freelancer brings together millions of employers and freelancers to work on projects such as data entry, writing, design, accounting and website development. Job seekers can find fixed price projects, hourly projects or bid and participate in contests that have been established by employers.
- Freelancermap - This marketplace brings together millions of professionals and projects together, with the average project paying $200. They focus on many different kinds of work, including logo and graphic design, market research, telemarketing, translation work, data entry and administrative work such as typesetting and powerpoint presentation assembly.
- FlexJobs - This site gets their employees involved in curating the job postings, which you can only access by paying a membership subscription. The benefit of doing so is that you are assured that the job listings are not stale, and vetted by a human being that’s checked to ensure that a role is truly a “flexible” and/or remote. Notably, there are plenty of full-time and part-time roles here, not just freelancer positions.
- GrowthGeeks - This marketplace is focused on growing businesses and start-ups that are interested in hiring independent contractors to work on specific “gigs”. While there are many different kinds of gigs listed on GrowthGeeks, much of the work listed here seem to focus on helping companies grow their social media presence, email lists, and related marketing projects.
- Guru - Guru is a freelancer marketplace with a concentration of services in the web development, IT and web design space. Writing and translation services are also extremely prevalent throughout the site. All the gigs listed here are 100% remote.
- Jobspresso - Jobspresso’s jobs are hand selected and focused on software developers and creative professionals. Many of their employers list full and part-time roles and are brand name companies in the tech industry (e.g. Microsoft and Amazon, just to list a few when we took a look).
- Maven - Maven describes itself as a “micro-consulting platform” where job seekers set an hourly rate, describe their experience and areas of expertise and should appeal to those with specific and strong knowledge domains. The work here is on a project basis and may be most suitable for independent contractors though it appears some Mavens are supplementing their employee income on this platform.
- Maybrooks - Focused on moms who are interested in flexible jobs, Maybrooks’ jobs appear to be a combination of freelance/contract, full-time flex or part-time roles at media, start-up and tech industries.
- Mechanical Turk - The grand-daddy of administrative and data-entry tasks, Amazon’s platform connects workers interested in “Human Intelligence Tasks” (HITs) with employers interested fulfilling projects within a global 24x7, remote contract workforce.
- PowertoFly - Focused on helping women find remote work, PowertoFly connects female developers and technical talent with employers who are interested in improving their gender diversity and have remote jobs. Many positions are full-time, though we saw plenty of part-time and project listings on their site as well.
- Peopleforce - Peopleforce calls itself an enterprise crowdsourcing platform, and works on a transaction basis to connect employers with an army of people with data entry, data cleaning, tagging, and research skills. Employers in sectors ranging from publishing, financial services and manufacturing all seem to need freelancers with these administrative data-oriented skills.
- ProBlogger - If you’re a writer interested in blogging for a company or employer blog, ProBlogger has a job board designed for you. They list jobs from employers who are interested in finding writers who will produce blog content on a regular basis, as well as consult on their blog, design a blog or set up a blog for them. While these roles are not always explicitly labeled “remote”, most writing positions can offer that flexibility.
- Proonto - Staffed with customer service and product experts, Proonto is a platform connecting sales and customer support associates with employers looking for remote assistance on their online chat modules. The service may be a good fit if you’re looking to interact and help e-commerce shoppers.
- Remote OK - With a heavy emphasis on technical- and software development jobs in the start-up and technology industry, there is even a section to look for jobs within the category of “remote startups.” If you’re interested in looking by coding language, their job search interface makes that a cinch.
- Remote Working - All roles listed on Remote Working’s site appear to be full-time remote positions. The jobs range from software development positions to social media and marketing roles. The employers appear to largely be start-ups and smaller firms in the tech industry.
- Remotive - We were impressed by their listing of remote jobs and saw an emphasis on tech and product positions at smaller tech firms and start-ups on Remotive’s site. All jobs listed on Remotive appear to be full-time, remote positions and they have a bi-monthly newsletter that focuses on the issues and topics around remote working.
- SkillBridge - Skillbridge calls itself the “Home of the Elite Business Freelancer or Consultant” and makes an effort to highlight the qualifications and educational backgrounds of the consultants, MBAs, and impressive resumes of the people in its network. All work is done on a project basis on this site and employers on the site appear to be top-tier firms or investment funds.
- SkiptheDrive - SkipThe Drive is a free site for job seekers, requiring no user registration and only lists telecommuting and remote jobs (full and part-time). They also provide a list of their favorite telecommuting companies (which includes many large corporates) and a telecommuting calculator to help you understand how much remote working may save you!
- Stack Overflow Careers 2.0 - Stack Overflow is a huge developer community filled with crowdsourced Q&A content for the technical community. They also have a job listings board that is searchable based on you your technical expertise. If you filter for remote jobs, you will see they generally have a few hundred of those development roles (mostly on a full-time basis) at any given time.
- Staff - Unique to job boards, staff.com is 100% free for both job seekers and employers looking to post jobs for remote work. At the time of this writing, Staff had 403 active jobs that you could filter and search by skill, part-time vs. full-time, and hourly vs. monthly payment.
- Upwork - If you’ve heard of Elance and Odesk, they’ve both disappeared and merged to become Upwork, making it the world’s largest freelancer marketplace for remote work. Jobs listed on Upwork tend to be in the digital web development space (in particular website and graphic design and development. However, when we looked, there are also plenty of customer service, marketing, sales, data entry and writing roles available on a project basis.
- Virtual Vocations - A job board listing over 60 career categories and hand-screened positions from administrative jobs to executive positions, Virtual Vocations charges job seekers a subscription fee for full access to their job listings and a free version for partial access. They list full-time, part-time and contract-based work but all of it is remote work.
- Werk - Werk is a new online talent exchange that pairs skilled women with flexible work opportunities with employers. They facilitate short-term projects such as maternity leave solutions, job-sharing, and remote projects from employers.
- We Work Remotely - This site offers predominantly tech and IT positions at smaller tech firms or leading start-ups. Filtered by recently, and category, job seekers can find a list of 100% remote positions. They also offer jobs in marketing and customer service.
- Working Nomads - Offering a short but highly curated list of remote jobs, job seekers can sign up to receive regular job updates and find work in the development and design areas. Working Nomads also offers jobs in IT and customer service. Their site design is sure to inspire some wanderlust!
- Remotely Awesome Jobs - If you're familiar with Indeed, you will understand the concept behind this aggregator of remote jobs. They currently scour 10 other sites for remote job listings, sparing some of the hunting-and-pecking on individual sites.
- Expat Genius - This site helps expats find locals who are willing to help them settle into their new home country, culture, and environs. If you're looking to capitalize on your knowledge of, well, your home city and country, this could be a great freelance opportunity.
- RemoteJobs - Their goal is to provide remote workers with great leads on remote jobs and connect remote-friendly employers to high-quality applicants for their roles.
- Hubstaff - A new freelance directory that sets itself apart by being free of all fees and markups.
Books, Blogs, and Podcasts for Introverts
There are plenty of communities, tips, books, and other resources for introverts. Here are five of our favorites:
1. Quiet Revolution
Founded by Susan Cain, this blog provides videos, essays, interviews, and more on being, well, quiet.
Also by Susan Cain, this is the introvert's bible. It contains advice, profiles, and data about and for introverts in the workplace and beyond.
3. Introvert, Dear
This community for introverts and highly sensitive people allows individuals to share stories and find tips about introversion.
4. Success as an Introvert For Dummies
Joan Pastor offers advice and tips for leveraging your introversion and finding success in all spheres of your life.
5. The Introvert Entrepreneur Podcast
Through interviews and discussions, Beth Buelow offers advice, perspectives, and inspiration on and for introverts.
Jaclyn Westlake is a career advice columnist, creator of the Job Hopper's Job Search Strategy Guide and founder of The Job Hop. With more than ten years of experience in the recruiting and human resources space, she is passionate about empowering job seekers to achieve their career goals. She's also particularly fond of coffee, every dog in the world, and the city of San Francisco.
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