There are two types of personality traits people fall into: introverts and extroverts. Extroverts tend to be more outgoing and social, whereas introverts tend to be more shy and prefer to be themselves. It’s critical to know which category you fall into, as it can make a huge difference in the career you choose. Remember, not all jobs are created equally, each demanding a particular set of personality traits
Think of roles like sales, law, and teaching. These roles require an outgoing personality and a high degree of human interaction, which is perfect for an extrovert but can be challenging and even uncomfortable for introverts who tend to prefer smaller, quieter settings.
As an introvert, choosing a career path that requires extroverted personalities can lead to anxiety, stress, and a general sense of unease. While those issues will manifest at work, they can bleed over into your personal life. Since picking the right career is so critical, we’ve created this guide to help you find the 10 best jobs that can provide sanctuary for introverts with anxiety.
Introversion, anxiety, and how they go together
There are many articles and tests out there to help you determine whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Most people know which group they fall into without needing any tests or clarification.
Are you the life of the party? Love being the center of attention? Are you very outgoing?
Then you're likely an extrovert.
Prefer to work alone? Are you shy? Don't like being the center of attention?
Then you're probably an introvert.
Not sure if you're an introvert or an extrovert? Try the free version of the Myers-Briggs personality test in our related read: Top 10 Career Assessments.
The intersection of introversion and anxiety
Now that you understand where you fall on the introversion-extroversion scale let’s work on finding out how introversion and anxiety can come together.
Introverts like solitude and quiet environments. They’re known for being able to refresh their soul through silent introspection. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the introvert is a shy person or someone who has social anxiety.
Solitude: Introverts find solace and are able to recharge their batteries, so to speak when they are alone or in small intimate settings. Being in a large crowd can cause an introvert to feel overwhelmed. This isn’t to say that someone who is introverted is anti-social; it’s simply that they prefer to have meaningful one-on-one interactions.
Introspection: The tendency towards quiet introspection allows introverts to dive deep into their thoughts and feelings to find an understanding of things going on around them. This often leads to creative thinking, a deep sense of self, and a unique perspective on life.
Quiet environments: Quiet environments are where introverts thrive. To an introvert, loud noises and chaotic areas can cause a disruption in concentration. Since introverts are characterized by thoughtfulness and observation, they tend to be great listeners who take time to absorb information before responding – this makes them great problem-solvers and highly empathetic.
Small social circles: Introverts are also known for maintaining deep and meaningful connections with a tightly-knit group of friends because they prefer quality interactions over having a big group of friends.
Varieties of anxiety
The word “anxiety” is thrown around a lot these days, but at the end of the day, it’s an emotional state that is characterized by feelings of worry, fear, or apprehension. Everyone has anxiety at some point – perhaps there’s a test that you’re worried you’re going to fail, or you think you might get passed over for a promotion at work. However, there are some people who suffer from chronic (lasting) anxiety that becomes debilitating and has a significant impact on your life. There are several forms of chronic anxiety.
General anxiety: This is the most common form of anxiety where someone is constantly worried about different things every day. Some of these worries can manifest physically with fatigue and irritability.
Social anxiety: When you have social anxiety, you have a real fear of social situations that often are because you feel like you’ll be unfairly judged or embarrassed.
Workplace anxiety: As you might suspect, anxiety in the workplace is triggered by demands at work and centers around job performance, public speaking, conflicts, and can even arise during interviews.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): This is the one people tend to know the most about and, sadly, is probably the one that is the most made fun of. It’s characterized by intrusive and distressing thoughts of things needing to be done a certain way and in a certain manner. You’ll see OCD manifest through repetitive behaviors and rituals.
Introverts vs extroverts
Everyone worries about things at work (and in life), but that worry is different for extroverts and introverts, especially where chronic anxiety is at play. Let’s compare:
Since introverts do best in quieter and more solitary work environments, they tend to have heightened social anxiety where extensive social interaction is required. This is true for things like team meetings, networking events, and client presentations. Additionally, introverts are prone to overthinking, which can lead to issues like self-doubt and self-criticism (and not constructive criticism). These things, among others, can cause introverts to experience burnout and decreased job satisfaction.
On the other hand, extroverts are known for having a more social nature and tend to be more resilient in the workplace; this doesn’t mean that extroverts are immune to anxiety. Even though extroverts thrive in social situations, they can still experience exhaustion and burnout. Extroverts tend to be more impulsive than introverts, too, which can cause issues with solving problems, leading to anxiety over negative outcomes.
Benefits for jobs for introverts
Is being an introvert going to ruin my chances for a successful career? Absolutely not!
Introverts have certain traits which allow them to outperform extroverts in some positions. Their ability to focus and think critically are significant assets in the professional world because they can tap into their ability for deep concentration and attention to detail to work diligently without distractions. On top of that, the capacity for focus improves an introvert's productivity and allows them to produce quality work. Introverts also perform exceptionally well in coming roles that require innovation, like writing, design, or art.
If you're an introvert, then here are some great career choices for you.
Top 10 jobs for introverts
Of course, choosing the right career path is one of life’s major decisions as it impacts your overall happiness and well-being, especially if you’re an introvert with anxiety. The first step in choosing a role is to set some clear goals and define what’s important for managing that anxiety. Start by understanding your personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and what triggers your anxiety.
What type of environment makes you feel most comfortable?
Which tasks bring you the most satisfaction?
Are there specific social situations that cause you to feel more or less anxious?
When answering these questions, be mindful of things like careers that offer quiet, low-stress environments that potentially allow you to work independently or in small groups – telecommuting would be great! Roles that offer flexibility are also fantastic options that can give you time to de-stress and manage anxiety triggers.
As you start to refine your job search, research companies that prioritize employee’s mental health and offer a work culture that is supportive of your overall well-being. But don’t forget to search for career paths that offer opportunities for growth and promotion. This will provide you the chance to feel more motivated and leave you with a sense of purpose as it relates to the work you do.
Freelancing is an excellent job for any introvert as it allows you to work alone, and most communication is handled through email. This allows you to keep to yourself and avoid human interaction.
How do you start freelancing? Is there something you're good at that other people or businesses will be willing to pay you for? Even if you can't think of anything, you can try picking up on a skill that others will pay for. Writing, design, and web development are all in high demand.
There are many sites, such as Freelancer, Upwork, and Hubstaff Talent, that allow you to set up an account and bid on different jobs. Once you build a strong portfolio on these sites, clients will start coming to you.
A growing number of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, are allowing people to work remotely. However, finding the best work-from-home jobs isn’t always simple. There are several potential drawbacks that you should be careful about. This article about legitimate work-from-home jobs will give you expert tips on getting hired and avoiding scams online.
A great opportunity for freelancers is found in writing or blogging.
Have an entrepreneurial spirit? Good at writing?
Starting a blog could be a great choice for an introvert looking to build a full-time income. With revenue from ads and affiliate deals, building a sustainable business through blogging isn’t as difficult as you think.
2. Web Development
This is one of the most highly demanded skills today, and it's a great career for introverts. This is also perfect for introverts, as most hours are spent working alone with little human interaction.
There is a shortage of programmers in the United States, and companies are on a hiring spree for talented developers.
Median Pay: $71,966
Minimum Requirements: Usually an associate degree, but there are many successful developers without a degree.
3. Graphic Design
Graphic designers are also highly sought after these days. Similar to web development, most hours are spent working alone.
You need to have an eye for good design as well as knowledge of various programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Median Pay: $55,791
Minimum Requirements: Associate's Degree or higher.
This is another career choice for introverts, as most hours are spent alone crunching numbers, examining financial records, and preparing statements.
Median Pay for Bookkeepers: $39,680
Median Pay for Accountant: $48,916
Minimum Requirements: Associate Degree or higher.
5. Research Scientist
This is another good job for introverts as it allows you to keep to yourself while you conduct research. This isn’t something you can get into easily as it requires extensive education. However, this field is prestigious and rewarding.
Median Pay: $76,961
Minimum Requirements: Bachelor's Degree or higher.
6. Court Reporter
A court reporter, also called a steno-type reporter, transcribes spoken or recorded speech into written form. This allows them to work most hours by themselves without excessive human interaction.
Median Pay: $49,500
Minimum Requirements: Associate Degree and Certification.
7. Truck Driver
If you're willing to drive long miles and spend a lot of time away from home, becoming a truck driver is a good option with a surprisingly high median pay average.
It's not an easy job, but for the super introverted who doesn't mind the lonely and long drives, it's something to consider. There's also a ton of jobs available as there is a shortage of truck drivers in the United States.
Median Pay: $62,452
Minimum Requirements: CDL License.
8. Aircraft Mechanic
This is, of course, something you don’t get into overnight, but it is a great and rewarding choice if you’re an introvert and want to work in a challenging and rewarding field.
Mechanics, in general, is a great choice for any introvert, as most hours are spent working alone.
Median Pay: $80,499
Minimum Requirements: Associate Degree and A&P License.
9. Various Trades
Any trade that requires working with tools and equipment is a good choice for an introvert.
Here are a Few Examples:
Median Pay: $43,453
Minimum Requirements: None; however, plumbers with a license can earn more money.
- Construction Worker
Median Pay: $30,890
Minimum Requirements: None
Median Pay: $58,086
Minimum Requirements: Completion of Apprenticeship Program and License.
10. Social Media Marketing
This field is also in high demand and is an excellent choice for introverts. Most hours are spent maintaining social media accounts in addition to producing and maintaining content.
Median Pay: $93,583
Minimum Requirements: Associate Degree or higher
Tips for introverted job seekers
Hunting for that just right job can be a daunting process for everyone, but especially for introverts with anxiety. However, when you put the right strategies into place and develop a positive mindset, the process can be more manageable. Finding the right position can even be a powerfully rewarding experience. Here are some tips you can put into place to successfully navigate the job search journey, including submitting applications, handling interviews, and networking.
1. Leverage your strengths
You are an introvert; don’t try to be something that you’re not. Instead, lean on your listening skills, your ability to be thoughtful, and your capacity to focus on the details. Highlight these traits in your resume and cover letter to show employers what you bring to the table.
2. Tailor your application
As you apply for different jobs, customize your resume and cover letter so that it is specific to the role you’re applying to. Research the company and dissect the job description so that you can align your skills and experiences with the requirements for the position.
3. Prepare for interviews
Nothing helps you overcome, or at least manage, anxiety better than preparation. When you practice the answers to common interview questions or conduct mock interviews, your confidence will skyrocket. You’ll walk into that interview room with an understanding of what to expect and be able to breeze through the conversation like a pro. You should also practice relaxation techniques in case you get anxious during the interview. Things like deep breathing and mindfulness can make all the difference between becoming overwhelmed and handling the stress.
4. Fine-tune your elevator speech
Having a compelling elevator speech that introduces yourself in a way that succinctly highlights your skills and strengths will also help you. It’ll ensure that you’re ready to answer interview questions and assist you with talking about yourself during networking events.
5. Networking strategies
When you do attend networking events, try to find smaller, more intimate engagements where you can manage meaningful conversations with ease. This is especially helpful if you suffer from social anxiety that would cause you to freeze up in large crowds. Ask questions and leverage your ability for active listening to make meaningful connections.
6. Seek support
Every job seeker can benefit from having a mentor. Someone who you can reach out to for help and who will provide guidance and encouragement during your job search journey.
Build your resume and cover letter
Remembering that your resume is the first opportunity you’ll have to make a positive first impression on prospective employers, you should spend quite a bit of time (and perhaps money if you choose a professional resume writer) to craft a compelling document that will impress hiring managers.
Your resume provides employers with a snapshot of your professional journey and emphasizes why you are the best person for the job. Focus on showcasing strengths and accomplishments by using action-oriented language and specific skills that mirror the requirements found in the job description. Be sure that your resume contains a strong mix of hard and soft skills, like empathy, active listening, and attention to detail. And above all else, quantify your achievements. This means that you should use numbers as often as possible in your resume.
You can address any weaknesses, including gaps in employment or limited experience, in your cover letter. When you write your cover letter, avoid repeating the same information found in your resume. Repetition won’t earn you any brownie points. Use the cover letter as an introduction to the company and keep it outward-focused. So, if you have a weakness to explain, talk about it in a way that shows what you’ve learned from it and how your new knowledge will support the new company and team.
How to overcome anxiety in the workplace
Once you secure your new job with a well-crafted resume and cover letter and are on your way to building new career opportunities, it’s important to learn how to manage anxiety effectively. You can start with coping mechanisms like practicing mindfulness, setting realistic goals, and establishing clear boundaries.
Mindfulness includes deep breathing exercises, meditation, and finding quiet moments to reflect on activities in your daily work activities.
When you set realistic goals, you lay out manageable tasks to reduce any feelings of being overwhelmed. This means you can focus on one thing at a time.
By establishing clear boundaries, you set the tone for maintaining a healthy work-life balance that allows for self-care and relaxation.
It’s also crucial to maintain an open dialogue with your employer about any anxiety you may be experiencing. Frame the discussion in a way that promotes the two of you working together to implement your strategies for managing anxiety and reassure the manager that you’re committed to success in your role. Of course, this may mean that you have to find some common ground or compromise, especially if you’re seeking some accommodation.
Managing anxiety at work isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon, and these are just some of the many possible ways to manage jobs for introverts with anxiety. Remember that you should enjoy whatever job it is you choose to do. Having a well-written resume is the first step to landing your dream job. Introverts tend to be humble, but you need to ensure you bring attention to your accomplishments on your resume.
Zipjob offers resume writing services that are guaranteed to land you more interviews. You can even get a free resume review.
Marsha Hebert, Professional Resume Writer
Marsha is a resume writer with a strong background in marketing and writing. After completing a Business Marketing degree, she discovered that she could combine her passion for writing with a natural talent for marketing. For more than 10 years, Marsha has helped companies and individuals market themselves. Read more advice from Marsha on ZipJob's blog.