'Introvert' was once viewed as something of a dirty word within the recruitment industry and the wider world of work. Introverts (or so went the stereotype) were reclusive, uncooperative, and difficult to work with - not what any employer is looking for in a new recruit.
Luckily, the world has come a long way in recent years, and many character traits that were once wrongly deemed as negatives are now welcomed with open arms - an introverted personality being one of them.
Truth be told, being introverted actually has numerous benefits in the workplace, and an introverted individual can bring with them a number of attributes that are highly sought after by employers in a variety of different sectors.
The benefits of being introverted
Being an introverted person can have a number of hidden advantages. Introverts typically possess excellent creative skills and imaginative ideas, making them a great fit for jobs that require originality, artistic flair, or outside-the-box problem solving.
Meanwhile, introverts are often extremely focused, highly productive workers who are undeterred by the hustle and bustle happening around them. What’s more, introverts tend to choose their words carefully, meaning that - while they may not speak up often - there’s weight to their words when they do.
The innate ability to work independently also promotes impressive organisational skills, which goes hand-in-hand with excellent prioritisation of work. In addition to that, these independent qualities also promote initiative, self-management and responsibility, without the need to over-rely on others.
That being said, it isn’t all plain sailing and there are undoubtedly a few hurdles for any introvert to overcome if they want to succeed in the working world.
Obstacles for the introverted
Unfortunately for introverts, the world of work does also tend to involve a number of situations that are not ideally suited to this type of personality. From the initial interview process to the working environment itself, the necessity for interaction, collaboration and general conversation is quite a departure from the preferred environment of your average introvert.
Open-plan office layouts and team-based activities are just two of the necessary evils that must commonly be confronted. On top of that, team meetings, occasional office socials and even communal dining areas can be uncomfortable settings for introverted people.
But don’t despair just yet, introverts of the world – it’s not all doom and gloom.
Jobs for introverted people
Luckily, there are numerous jobs that lend themselves well to introverted personalities. These range from IT-based roles to more physical jobs and everything in between.
Here are just a few examples from a variety of different sectors:
Top of the list of jobs that are ideal for creative introverts is that of the graphic designer. With the majority of the work being carried out solo, the vast majority of your working day will be spent working alone, left to your own devices.
While you may have to run through a brief with a client, manager or team, the design task is ultimately left in your hands. Better still, this also draws on the creativity and imagination commonly associated with introverted personalities, making this job the dream ticket for many introverts.
Best of all, this job can often be done on a freelance basis, allowing you to potentially bypass the office environment altogether and work in the comfort (and seclusion) of your own home.
If you have a good head for figures, a job in accountancy could be extremely rewarding – both with regards to job satisfaction and financial reimbursement.
Attention to detail and a focused approach are two vital requirements for this profession; ditto the ability to prioritise and work to deadlines. For introverts that tick those boxes and command a solid knowledge of mathematics, this can be a fantastic career path to follow.
As an accountant, your main priority will be to analyse economic data, crunch numbers, and produce financial reports for clients and businesses, ultimately ensuring that they’re operating efficiently, legally and on-budget. Accountancy jobs offer a wealth of opportunities to progress, and there’s often the flexibility to work remotely as well.
If you have a keen interest in healthcare but are put off by the idea of dealing with patients and the general public, a great way into the industry is via the laboratory door. If you get a job as a lab technician, you can expect to carry out routine technical tasks, sample testing and experiments, along with data analysis and risk assessment.
Depending on the field you're in, the role itself may be clinic-based or focused around research and development. You may find yourself working independently or under the direction of a more experienced professional - either way, expect a high degree of independence. A keen eye for detail and the ability to work well unsupervised are great assets to have as a lab tech, two attributes that many introverts have in droves.
For the computer-savvy introvert, web development can be a lucrative and logical direction to go in. As a web developer, you will primarily be tasked with designing, coding and modifying websites to meet your client's wishes.
While this is a position that can be done outside of an office environment, there are lots of in-house web developer roles as well; as such, you may be based within a team of other specialists. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for a web developer to find themselves honed in on a job or project for hours at a time, meticulously programming away with no time to stop and chat.
As with many IT jobs, this can require a lot of independent working, left to your own devices to focus on getting the visual appearance and technical performance is up to scratch. If you see yourself as a focused, analytical introvert with sound IT knowledge, a career in web development could be a match made in heaven.
The job of a writer is an ideal one for introverts who are well-versed in the written word and have a creative flair for language. Best of all, writing jobs can come in many different guises, from the formal, straight-laced style of a technical writer to the more conversational, down-to-earth approach of a full-time blogger.
Meanwhile, writing also has the potential for good career progression as a self-employed solo venture or within a wider team, with editorial positions a logical next step. What’s more, the role of a writer also lends itself perfectly to freelance work and can be done just as easily - if not more so - when working remotely.
So, there you have it – proof that introversion doesn’t mean you have to be cut off from the outside world, banished to a secluded dungeon and forced to work alone by candlelight!
Here are some other useful links for introverts, particularly those who are seeking a career in the science or technology industries:
Interview Tips for Introverts > Browse Science Jobs >