Let’s be real here for a minute. Deciding what to be when you grow up can be really tough. It’s perhaps one of the biggest life choices you’re going to make, next to who to marry and what house to buy (assuming either of those paths are for you).
If you’re already overwhelmed by the possibilities, then one easy way to break down all the career options is by your personality type. Are you an introvert? An extrovert? Somewhere in between?
Have no fear. We’ll help you figure out which career is best for you if you're an introvert or an extrovert based on your traits.
What is this introvert and extrovert thing?
You’re not sure whether you’d be considered an introvert or extrovert? Let’s take a look at what each category means and the traits that define them.
You’re the life of the party. You’re an energy vampire—being around the vitality flowing out of people totally recharges you. You exude approachability, and that’s exactly what others do: flock to you. You’re a talker, and you come to life in large groups. However, you’re not so self involved that you aren’t willing to let others have a say. Too much alone time makes you want to crawl out of your skin, so you seek out constant companionship. But hey, that’s good for your career: Extroverts are inspired by the people they’re around and environment they’re in. Your best ideas tend to manifest in the middle of a big event, and you love working with a team.
There are four types of extroverts: sensors, feelers, intuitives, and thinkers.
Sensor extrovert: Sensor extroverts are highly tuned into their senses. Sights, sounds, textures, and tastes create your overall life experience; they inspire and charge you. You’re likely a more athletic person, partaking in extreme sports or other intense physical endeavors. You see people the same way you observe everything else—focusing in on the way they look, smell, and sound. You’re about going and doing, as opposed to coffee and conversation. The more energy you can be around, the better you feel.
Feeler extroverts: You’re the textbook extrovert. You’re at your happiest being around people—and the more, the merrier. You are a great communicator, possessing listening and speaking skills in equal amounts. You soak in the emotions of others; their happiness and sadness become intermingled with your own feelings. Positive energy gives you a natural high, and you seek out as many people to chat with as possible.
Intuitive extroverts: If you were placed on a scale with other extroverts, you’d be leaning more toward introvert status. But you’re still an extrovert! You enjoy being around other people, including strangers, because you thrive on their energy and like to learn from them. Debates and idea bouncing are among your most favorite pastimes. However, if you find no one is equally as engaged in the discussion, then you’re just as happy being by your lonesome. You are also the most likely of all the extroverts to spend an evening talking to just one person who captures your attention at that moment.
Thinker extroverts: You look at the networking possibilities of a party, as opposed to the actual social enjoyment. You are methodical and structured, and some may even call you controlling. You know where you are now compared to where you want to be, and you will do whatever it takes to reach your end goal. While you do enjoy being around other people, you aren’t considered to be the warmest person in the room. You can be very charming, but it’s mostly a tactic to get what you want—not necessarily in a malicious way. The fact is, you’re a very driven person who has set high expectations for yourself, and you really don’t want to live a life of disappointment.
Famous extroverts are Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali, George Bush, and Oprah Winfrey.
Introverts are pretty much the opposite of extroverts. You’re more low key. The quiet one. You take pleasure in the minute details, which you’d surely miss among the chaos you avoid. It’s not that you don’t go out in large groups or attend big events, because you totally do. You just don’t want to be the life of the party. You prefer to observe rather than participate. That’s what feeds your inspiration—watching everyone and everything. Very often, your introversion is confused as shyness, which is not always the case. Shy people tend to avoid social situations, whereas you simply don’t enjoy them as much as extroverts. You prefer the company of close friends, who actually may even believe you to be an extrovert! Your personality shines around those you know best. Unlike extroverts, you keep your emotions to yourself. If you decide to let someone in, then they’ll know the true you.
There are four main types of introverts: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained.
Social introverts: When you think about the typical introvert, a social introvert is who probably comes to mind. Social introverts would rather hang out with a tight group of friends than go to a jumping nightclub. They may even prefer to stay in and be with nobody at all. Social introversion has nothing to do with shyness; it’s more about a personal preference. However, you are most likely to develop some of the deepest, most emotionally intimate relationships.
Thinking introverts: If you’re a thinking introvert, you have a tendency toward self reflection and living in a bit of a fantasy world. However, unlike social introverts, you really don’t mind being around a lot of people. You probably don’t even pay attention to them—you’re too busy plotting out a novel. You’re one of the most creative personality types, full of ideas and innovations because your muse is always in high gear.
Anxious introverts: You’re a bit socially awkward and quite uncomfortable in social situations, so you would rather sit in solitude with a good book and a glass of wine (or beer—name your poison). You have next to zero faith in your people skills, even though they are most likely just fine. You have a tendency to obsess over things, replaying them out in your mind and picking apart what, in your eyes, you said or did wrong. As an anxious introvert, you pay the most attention to even the tiniest details.
Restrained introverts: You are considered to be reserved, maybe even a bit aloof. You measure your actions and words carefully before doing anything. It can take you awhile to warm up, whether it’s to an idea, an activity, or a conversation—you’re slow to start. Because you’re more introspective, you excel in reflection and wisdom.
Some of the most famous introverts are Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and JK Rowling.
One Personality Isn't Better Than the Other
Both intro- and extroverted people are easily able to adapt to their surroundings. In your own way, you both draw inspiration from whatever is transpiring around you. One type isn’t destined to have a more successful career than the other. You just have your likes and dislikes and find stimulus differently. Both types pour their hearts into their work when they enjoy the role.
Honestly, introverts or extroverts can go after any career they set their minds to, but there are just some better suited to their personalities. Keep reading to see matches for you.
Good Careers for Extroverts
As an extrovert, being around people and helping others is great for your mojo. Careers in a cubicle don’t really float your boat; you need to be able to flit around where all the action is. And, if you’re not the one wandering, others can come pay you a visit in your office. You have a no-knock policy, and your team is appreciative. Careers that are a perfect fit for extroverts are:
- Paralegal: You’ll be a crucial part of a legal team, working to support lawyers. Associate and bachelor’s degrees are available for paralegal studies. These days, most employers do prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing schools.
- Mediator: To be a mediator, not only do you need to appreciate being around people, but you also have to know how to talk to them. This isn’t a problem for an extrovert. You’ll be helping to settle disputes in a non-biased manner. Mediators usually start out as lawyers, judges, or business people, and then go on to add this specialty to their resumes..
- Hairstylist/Cosmetologist: Cosmetologists usually have an engaging personality. It’s your cut and color skills that keep clients coming back, yes, but it’s also the way you treat them. To become a cosmetologist, you’ll need to go to cosmetology school. Each state has its own specifications, but on average, it’s 1,500 hours, or around nine months of training.
- Registered nurse: Extroverts make great nurses—your personality is approachable and engaging to both the patients and medical staff. There is no alone time when you’re a registered nurse, a perk in your eyes. An associate degree is the minimum level of education, but to advance your career, you may want to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
- Human resources: A human resource specialist is a great career fit for extroverts: You’re the one doing the interviewing, recruiting, and training for your company. So, you need to have some degree of an outgoing personality. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to find a job.
- Restaurant management: Because you’re constantly around others, extroverts thrive as restaurant managers. You’re in charge of the daily operations of a restaurant, from hiring staff to making sure the diners are satisfied.
- Physical therapist: As a physical therapist, your job is to help patients better function. Because you’re an extrovert, you have the personality that will inspire your patients to do well at and in between appointments.
- Dental hygienist: So many people have a fear of going to the dentist. But not when you’re their hygienist! Your engaging and bubbly personality immediately puts patients at ease while they are in your chair. There are both associate and bachelor’s degree paths you can take.
- Teacher: Extroverts can thrive as an educator heading up a classroom filled with eager (and not so eager) learners. Your people interaction happens all day long, from students to faculty to parents. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in education—or up to a doctorate, depending on which level of education you plan on teaching in.
- Vet tech: Not only are you around furry friends, but also you get to hang out with their owners, as well. You’ll help the vet perform routine check ups and assist during procedures. You’ll need either a certificate or an associate degree.
Here are some different careers you can train for in 6 months or less.
Good Jobs for Introverts
You don’t need to be part of a team to create greatness at work. You’ve pretty much got that covered all by your lonesome, because introverts’ inspiration comes from within. Some careers that are a perfect fit for the introvert are:
- Welder: Welders often work with very little supervision and interruptions, which is a huge draw for many social introverts. To start a career as a welder, look into an apprenticeship, which lasts 3-5 years. You’ll earn as you learn, so that helps to offset any cost that may be associated with the education.
- Plumber: If you’re a social introvert, then plumbing is a great career for you. You have minimal interaction with humans before you’re left alone with your tools of the trade. You can train at a trade school or community college, or you can choose to do an apprenticeship.
- Medical lab technician: Because of your preference for working alone, you’ll thrive as a medical lab technician. You’re still part of a medical team, but you’re very much solo while doing your duties of analyzing bodily fluids such as blood. All you need is an associate degree to qualigy for this position.
- Baker: Being a baker is perfect for introverts, because baking is not usually a loud, chaotic profession. You can be alone with your recipes, in the kitchen, with all your necessary ingredients. Is that not an introverted foodie’s dream?
- Video game designer: You will have very little contact with people outside your work team, and many designers choose the freelance route, giving them more alone time. A bachelor’s degree in animation or a related field may be required from an employer. However, there are many successful video game designers who are self taught.
- Interior designer: Interior designers need to meet with their clients and vendors, but generally, there are many hours in the week where you can just be alone, focusing on design. Most interior designers have bachelor’s degrees in interior design.
- Graphic designer: While graphic design is usually a team “sport” at digital marketing and other agencies, you can also work on your own as a freelancer—an attractive feature for introverts! Associate and bachelor’s degrees are available for graphic designers.
- Technical writer: If you’re an introvert, you’ll appreciate the fact that much of your work making difficult documents easy to read can be done from home. A bachelor’s degree plus a certain amount of on-the-job training is the prerequisite for technical writers. Generally speaking, you’ll need some sort of experience in the field you’re going to be writing about. So, if you’re an IT tech writer, you should have IT background.
- Anthropologist: Restrained introverts, with a heightened sense of observation, find this career field highly satisfying. You’ll need a bachelor’s and master’s degree, which will take over seven years. There is a field study portion of the career, as well.
- Author: Writing is an absolutely perfect career choice for introverts; it’s very much a one-person gig. While you may need the help of other people to move your story forward, or to edit, everything can be done online, so you really don’t have to be around anyone if you don’t have the desire. Harry Potter’s creator JK Rowling is just one of many famous self-proclaimed introverted authors.
Or maybe you'd prefer to work from the comfort of your own home? Here's some info on remote careers.
Realistically, being an introvert or extrovert doesn’t have to be a factor when you’re considering which career you choose to pursue, but it is an excellent way to narrow down the possible professions. Both personality types can be artists or world leaders or entrepreneurs. Your only limit is how high you choose to reach.
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