Not every job is the right fit for every person—so it makes sense that you’d be looking to find a job and career path that feels well-suited to your personality.
While some folks might thrive in a role where they’re interacting with people all day, for others—particularly introverts—that might be completely draining.
So if you’re an introvert, you might wonder how to find a job that plays to your strengths, feels true to who you are, and leaves you feeling energized and excited at the end of the day. Rest assured, there are plenty of options.
What, Exactly, Is an Introvert?
Before we jump into the perfect jobs for introverts, let’s take a minute to define what an introvert actually is.
An introvert “gets their energy from solitude,” says Stephanie Thoma, leadership coach and author of Confident Introvert, a professional networking book for introverts. So while an introverted person can definitely hold their own in social situations, the experience can feel exhausting—and after extended periods of social interaction, they typically need alone time to rest and recharge.
One major misconception about introverts is that they’re shy. But that’s not necessarily true. While introverts can be shy (just like anyone can be shy!), introversion is not the same thing as shyness. “Deriving your energy from solitude doesn’t exclude you from feeling confident and comfortable in the presence of others,” Thoma says. “It just means you may need to take more care to preserve and conserve your energy when socializing.”
What Makes Certain Jobs Better for Introverts—and What Should Introverts Look for in a Role?
Because introverts get their energy from solitude, jobs that allow for independent working time are typically a better fit for introverts.
For example, “An introvert may thrive as a CPA, crunching numbers with precision and in-flow, formulaic repetition; a market research analyst who gets to pore over detailed qualitative or quantitative data; or a professor who has gotten to create materials about a specific subject matter to then share with purpose and passion with pupils,” Thoma says. The best jobs for introverts, she says, “have structure and clear expectations with an opportunity for creativity, and allow for focus.”
So introverts should look for jobs where some amount of solo work is built in—allowing them regular opportunities to focus on their own work—rather than roles that require constant engagement with coworkers, clients, or customers.
But pretty much every job requires at least some level of interaction, collaboration, and socializing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, even if you consider yourself a more introverted person. Again, introverts can still enjoy working with other people and be successful doing it. It does mean, though, that you should also look for a company that prioritizes work-life balance and self-care—and allows you the opportunity to recharge when you need it.
“Self-care is an emerging priority for many companies who know that when employees are able to take walking breaks or lunch away from their computers,” Thoma says, or take care of themselves however they see fit, they “are more likely to thrive—and provide quality work to match. Since introverts may need more downtime outside of meeting rooms, this is an important consideration.”
Are you a proud introvert—and ready to find a job that plays to your strengths? Here are 10 roles to consider, plus salary information from the compensation resource PayScale (just keep in mind that PayScale’s database is updated nightly; the figures below reflect the latest information as of March 2021):
1. Software Engineer
Average salary: $86,803
Software engineers are responsible for engineering or developing different types of software (which is why they’re also called software developers). They are problem solvers at heart; they need to identify what problem the user is having—and then design, test, and develop software that solves that problem.
A career as a software engineer could be a great fit for an introvert because a large chunk of the job is writing code, testing, and fixing bugs—all of which involve independent work—though they should also be prepared to collaborate with their teams.
While some companies require a specific degree, many rely on technical interviews to assess candidate coding skills—so if you’ve got the coding chops, you can get your foot in the door as a software engineer.
2. Content Marketing Manager
Average salary: $68,395
Content marketing managers are responsible for the development and execution of a marketing team’s content strategies. Depending on the company, a content marketing manager may oversee one or multiple content verticals, including print, digital, video, social media, and audio.
Content marketing managers may work with a variety of other people, including content strategists, writers, and creators; marketing colleagues; and folks on sales and other teams. Ultimately, their goal is to understand their target audience and drive awareness and engagement with their brands, products, and services. Depending on the size of the company, content marketing managers may also manage other people. But this role could still be a great fit for an introvert because it’s usually pretty evenly split between independent and collaborative work—giving introverts plenty of time to recharge.
While some companies require their content marketing managers to have a degree, many are more interested in candidates with a background in content development and promotion—so if you’re well-versed in all things content, you should be able to get your foot in the door.
Average salary: $53,313
Editors are responsible for taking a piece of writing from the “just an idea” phase to the “working draft” phase to the “ready for publication” phase. This includes making suggestions to writers on ways the writing could be improved (for example, pointing out sections that are unclear or helping the writer define their voice and tone) as well as correcting any spelling or grammatical errors. While editors may work for newspapers, magazines, digital media companies, or book publishers, they may also be employed by businesses to support their content efforts—editing blog posts, ebooks, website copy, and more.
Editors do partner with writers (and often have to walk them through their edits) and other content or editorial team members to brainstorm and strategize—but the bulk of the actual editing process is a solitary activity, making it an ideal fit for introverts.
In order to succeed as an editor, you need to know the ins and outs of writing, including grammar, structure, style, and narrative. As such, many editors are writers themselves—and most have a degree in journalism, English, communications, or a related field. Editors who work for newspapers, magazines, and digital publications also need a solid grasp of reporting and fact-checking.
4. Graphic Designer
Average salary: $46,010
Graphic designers are responsible for developing visual assets for a company. Depending on the company’s needs, this may include branding assets (like logos), marketing materials, product packaging, and digital assets. Many graphic designers are well-versed in a variety of design styles and techniques, though some specialize in certain areas (like logo design, packaging design, or infographic design). Graphic designers may work directly for a company, for an agency or design studio that works with clients to deliver on any design needs, or as freelancers or independent contractors.
While graphic designers will need to collaborate with supervisors, clients, or other stakeholders to get clear direction and feedback on their design assignments, during the designing phase, they’re free to work on their own—making this a great role for introverts.
In order to succeed as a graphic designer, you’ll need creativity and working knowledge of a variety of design programs—which many get through degree programs (though there are plenty of online learning platforms that can help you get up to speed if pursuing a degree isn’t the right fit).
Average salary: $51,639
Accountants handle financial tasks, which can include budgets, forecasts, financial reports, payroll, taxes, and audits. They may work for a company in house or for an accounting firm that provides accounting services to external clients.
A huge part of accounting is crunching numbers—a task that’s mostly done solo—making accounting a great field for introverts.
In order to land an accounting role, candidates will need to have a degree in accounting or a related field—and public accounting firms will typically only hire Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or recent accounting graduates with plans to take their CPA exam.
6. Mechanical Engineer
Average salary: $71,538
Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing (or engineering), developing, building, and testing machines and other products. Mechanical engineering is, at the core, a problem-solving role; mechanical engineers need to not only be able to identify problems and build solutions, but also identify and solve mechanical issues as they build and iterate.
Mechanical engineers are highly technical critical thinkers and although they typically work in teams and need to be comfortable collaborating and managing projects, they also spend a lot of their time working independently—a great setup for an introvert.
To get hired as a mechanical engineer, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering—although many companies want their mechanical engineers to pursue advanced degrees.
7. IT Specialist
Average salary: $57,872
Information technology specialists (a.k.a., IT Specialists) are responsible for maintaining and managing a company’s internal IT processes and products. This can include managing IT requests, troubleshooting IT issues, installing and upgrading company hardware and software, and ensuring that all IT operations are running smoothly.
As an IT specialist, you’ll have to work with leadership and employees to field requests, identify IT issues, and answer IT-related questions—but the job also requires plenty of independent work time to manage IT systems and fix problems, so introverts will get the time they need to recharge.
While some companies require their IT specialists to have a degree in information technology or a related field, many will hire based on skill alone—so if you have an in-depth knowledge of IT systems, you should be able to get your foot in the door without a degree.
8. Data Scientist
Average salary: $96,420
Data scientists are responsible for creating the frameworks that help their companies leverage data to make better business decisions. This can include everything from running data tests and experiments, implementing statistical models and algorithms, developing data products, and continually tweaking and optimizing their frameworks for more effective data analysis (and better business outcomes as a result).
While there is a certain level of collaboration necessary to succeed as a data scientist (for example, with data analysts or key business stakeholders as well as other data scientists or machine learning engineers), a good portion of a data scientist’s work is in framework development—a solo job great for an introvert.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, math, statistics, engineering, or a related field is generally a must to pursue a career in data science—and some companies want their data scientists to hold advanced degrees.
9. SEO Manager
Average salary: $70,244
SEO (which stands for search engine optimization) managers are responsible for making sure that when someone searches a relevant term, their company ranks at the top (or as close to the top as possible) of the results pages. The goal is to help increase the company’s visibility and drive new users or customers to their website. SEO managers develop and implement the SEO strategy, determining which technical and content-based search engine optimization strategies are going to drive the best results—and then continually adjust that strategy to improve their rankings.
SEO managers do collaborate with colleagues on other teams—including content and engineering. But they also spend a good deal of their time analyzing data, developing suggestions, and implementing optimizations—making this an ideal role for an introvert.
There’s no specific degree required to get into SEO, but in order to land an SEO manager position, you need to know the ins and outs of search engine optimization—and be able to stay on top of SEO practices, which are always changing and evolving.
Average salary: $96,032
Actuaries typically work in the insurance industry and are responsible for evaluating risk factors and determining whether the insurance company should issue a policy to a specific person or business and, if so, what the premium for that policy should be.
This role is almost entirely focused on digging deep into math, data, and statistics, which is an inherently independent task—and a great fit for introverts (at least, for introverts who geek out on all things numbers).
Actuaries need to have a deep working knowledge of data and statistics—and a degree in actuarial science or a related field (like statistics or math) is often a requirement to get your foot in the door. You’ll also need to complete a series of exams given by the Society of Actuaries or Casualty Actuarial Society to earn your certification.