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Quiet: Introverts on the Job

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Not everyone is cut out to be an aggressive sales person or advertising executive. Certain jobs require certain personalities, often people who don't mind being in the limelight and speaking up. But introverts shouldn't be discouraged, as there are plenty of careers suited for them. Let's take a look at some interesting facts regarding introverts and the jobs in which they can thrive.

What is Introversion?

First popularized by psychologist Carl Jung, introversion and extraversion are key personality traits that can help explain behavior. Introverts tend to prefer solo activities, while extraverts prefer interacting with other people. This trait is not always constant--even introverts can behave in extraverted ways at times. Even so, most people fit in one category or the other.

Introverts ...

... feel drained when around large groups of people for too long.

... focus on detail and take time to make judgments due to a difference in information processing.

... prefer quiet, calm working spaces.

... make better one-on-one connections.

... sometimes experience anxiety when speaking to large groups of people.

... are prone to social anxiety disorder.

About 50% - Percentage of introverts in the U.S.

7%-8% - The percentage of people in the U.S. who are estimated to have social anxiety disorder.

It can start when you're young:

1 in 8 - The number of shy teens who are estimated to have social phobia.

The symptoms of severe introversion vary, but these symptoms can lead to difficulty during the job-hunting process. The symptoms can include:

  • Aversion to eye contact
  • Low speaking voice
  • Nervous behaviors or ticks
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of nausea and dizziness

What Introverts Need

What's it like to be an introvert in an office or at a job site? What do introverts require to thrive and be successful?

  • Quiet, solitary workspaces
  • Minimal necessary human interaction
  • Few group projects/meetings
  • The allowance of headphones for privacy
  • A guarantee that most work can be completed alone

95.3% - Percentage of workers who say they'd like a quiet, private environment for concentrated work.

Where They Can Flourish

Not many introverts feel up to doing interview after interview for an indeterminate amount of time. And many might settle for unsatisfying jobs or jobs that they're overqualified for just so they can stay away from working with people.

Being in the right field and having the right credentials can make all the difference. Here are some jobs where introverts may find they will thrive:


Average annual salary: $57,000

Perks: Much of an accountant's work these days requires the use of a computer and nothing else. Though intermittent human interaction is involved, it is minimal. Accountants typically work alone in offices.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 16%

Graphic designer

Average annual salary: $60,000

Perks: Another computer job, though this one offers more creative freedom and flexibility. Many companies hire graphic designers just for logo and pamphlet design. Many graphic designers work freelance or from home.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 13%

Computer programmer

Average annual salary: $74,000

Perks: Writing computer code for pretty much any company in the world doesn't require much human interaction and can sometimes even be done from home. It is a behind-the-scenes kind of job, especially when it is telecommute work.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 12%

Technical writer

Average annual salary: $57,000

Perks: Though many technical writers work in teams, much communication is done through the computer. As work goes through an editing process, most comments and feedback are given electronically. It also requires a lot of research, which one can do alone.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 17%

Medical records technician

Average annual salary: $38,000

Perks: Being any kind of record keeper allows an individual to work by themselves. Medical records technician positions require little to not human interaction at all.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 21%

Dental technician

Average annual salary: $68,960

Perks: Dental technicians can make high salaries while remaining out of the limelight. Though minimal interaction with patients and dentists is a requirement, it is a small part of the job. Plus, they often wear surgical masks, and some introverts find this eases some of their anxieties.

Job growth, 2010-2020: 1%

Tips for Job-Seeking Introverts

The hardest part of the job-finding process for introverts is interviewing. Here are some tips for how to overcome and even use their introversion to their advantage during an interview.

  • Don't apologize for being shy. Soft-spoken people are generally considered more trustworthy and showing a timid side won't put off an interviewer.
  • Focus on successes during an interview, in your head and out loud. This will help boost your self-confidence.
  • Make sure to rehearse before an interview, in a mirror or a webcam. You won't be able to know exactly what the interviewer will ask, but it's perfectly acceptable to search for common interview questions and practice your answers.
  • Practice meditative techniques that will calm you. These can be particularly helpful while you're waiting to be called in for an interview. It doesn't benefit you to sit in the waiting room anxious and thinking negative thoughts.
  • Always follow up an interview with a thank-you note to your interviewer. Not only is this polite, but it allows you to add any extra information you may have forgotten. Shy, anxious people generally forget certain facts they wanted to get across in an interview.
  • If you're shy, chances are you've mastered digital communication. If you feel better speaking from a computer keyboard, send your thank you note or any other necessary comments via email. This will show the interviewer that even if you're not particularly eloquent in person, you truly can express yourself in text.

Not a Handicap

Many introverts view their shyness as a serious roadblock to success. Nothing can convince a person of their potential like hard evidence. Below is a list, historical and current, of insanely successful introverts who found a way to use their shyness to their advantage.

  • Bill Gates
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Rosa Parks
  • Warren Buffett
  • J.K. Rowling



Quiet: Introverts on the Job