How to choose a career that allows you to embrace your quiet, thoughtful side.
While many people think that being a wallflower is a career hindrance, some of the best jobs in the country are well-suited for introverted personalities.
And we're not talking about working with cadavers in a morgue or translating ancient documents in a cobweb-infested basement either.
First, let's dispel some myths surrounding introverts and extroverts.
For instance, "Introverts are not shy or afraid of people," says Lori Howard, career transformation coach at Unearth Your Worth, a career coaching company, in Chicago, Illinois. "They just get their energy from different places than extroverts."
Howard explains, "Extroverts are energized by activity, being in groups, and meeting lots of new people. Introverts can be drained by these same things, unless they get some downtime."
Instead, she says, "Introverts excel at building individual relationships, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and working independently." Howard also notes that they have a natural eye for details and often enjoy working behind the scenes.
Keep reading to discover which careers may be perfect for your introverted nature.
Introverted Career #1: Accountant
If you like to be left alone to crunch numbers, this is one job you can consider. Accountants maintain an organization's financial records, calculate the amount of taxes owed, and prepare tax returns, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They also analyze accounting systems and financial operations and recommend ways to be financially efficient.
Fit for Introverts: "Accounting is a great career choice for introverts, because it requires the ability to disengage from external stimuli in order to focus on numeric and financial details," says Cheryl Lynch Simpson, an executive career coach and LinkedIn strategist in Columbus, Ohio.
Donna Sweidan, an executive coach and the founder of career coaching company, Careerfolk, in New York City, adds, "This is a great career choice for introverts, because there tends to be one-on-one interaction with clients - which many introverts enjoy - and also a great deal of time to work individually."
"Many accountants have the flexibility to do their work in a variety of environments as well, whether it be a home office or a quiet beach," says Tava Auslan, a career counselor at Careerfolk.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Education Options: If you would like to pursue a career as an accountant, the Department of Labor states that most employers require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer a master's degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Introverted Career #2: Software Developer
This may be the perfect job for the tech-savvy type who prefers to communicate through computer languages.
Software developers write, test, and debug software code, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Specifically, applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors or games, while systems software developers design operating systems and their interfaces.
Fit for Introverts: "This is a behind-the-scenes type of position, and since introverts are often uncomfortable with the limelight, this type of job can work well for them," says Cheryl Palmer, an executive career coach. "Writing code demands a certain amount of reflection that tends to come naturally to introverts."
Howard agrees, adding, "Software developers spend their time doing what introverts do best - thinking deeply about complex problems, coming up with creative solutions, and then verifying the results."
Education Options: If you're interested in this career, the Department of Labor notes that software developers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, although mathematics is also an acceptable degree.
Introverted Career #3: Writer
Few careers offer as much variety as being a writer. They pen best-selling novels, ghostwrite spellbinding speeches, and write screenplays for some of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster movies. If typing away in a solitary space with a cup of coffee sounds ideal, consider pursuing your passion for writing.
Writers conduct research and then create a variety of original content, including articles for newspapers, magazines, and online publications, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They may also write song lyrics and scripts for commercials, TV shows, movies, and theatrical products, and some writers author novels, biographies, and other types of books.
Fit for Introverts: "Writing allows the introvert to be alone to think and then capture his or her thoughts on the page," says Howard. "Introverts are known for thinking first, then expressing their thoughts, and writing is an ideal venue for this."
Palmer adds, "Writers truly live in the world of ideas, and most of their work is done alone." She says the combination of being both idea-oriented and independent makes this an ideal position for strong introverts.
Education Options: If you're thinking of pursuing a career as a writer, the Department of Labor reports that a bachelor's degree is typically needed for a salaried job, and employers prefer to hire writers with a degree in English, journalism, or communications. However, the Department also notes those with other backgrounds who display strong writing skills may also find writing jobs.
Introverted Career #4: Market Research Analyst
If the idea of working alone analyzing data and compiling reports sounds like your cup of tea, this may be a career that matches your personality.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, market research analysts help companies understand the types of products that consumers want to buy and how much they're willing to pay. This entails analyzing consumer data, as well as information about competitors, market conditions, and market trends.
Fit for Introverts: "People in this type of position usually do their work independently," says Palmer. "This job is very data-intensive, and it is away from the limelight. Market research analysts may present the results of their research to company executives, but the bulk of their work is solo." This works well for strong introverts who really value their alone time, she explains.
Education Options: These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree, according to the Department of Labor, in market research or a related field. However, many analysts have a degree in statistics, computer science, or math, while others have a background in business administration, communications, or one of the social sciences.
Introverted Career #5: Graphic Designer
Graphic designer is perhaps the coolest job on the list, since these professionals may work on fun projects such as movies, websites, and video games. If you have an artistic flair for drawing or an active imagination, this solitary career may provide total fulfillment.
The U.S. Department of Labor says that graphic designers create visual concepts for magazines, marketing campaigns, corporate reports, and even motion picture credits. They determine the overall artistic feel of the project, selecting colors, fonts, textures and other elements.
Fit For Introverts: "Solitude is treasured by introverts and artists alike," says Jennifer Kahnweiler, an Atlanta-based career coach and the author of "The Introverted Leader" and "Quiet Influence."
"Artists often come up with their ideas and designs by themselves, although they also collaborate and brainstorm with clients to make sure the message they are designing is what is intended," she explains.
And Sweidan adds that it's a good fit for introverts, since "they like some amount of control over their space, which includes being in an environment that affords them the solitude they need to recharge their batteries."
Education Options: If you decide this job is a good fit, the Department of Labor says a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required. Those with a bachelor's degree in another field can obtain technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring requirements.
Introverted Career #6: Medical Records and Health Information Technician
If you want a career in the medical industry that doesn't involve patient interaction, consider this rapidly-growing health career.
Medical records and health information technicians organize and store patients' health information such as symptoms, medical history, test results, and treatments, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. They review patient records to ensure that they are complete and accurate, and then enter patient information into the computer using clinical codes.
Fit for Introverts: "These workers would typically be in the back office versus the front area of a physician's practice or hospital," says Kahnweiler. "And this environment is more conducive to their lower key temperament than a busy ER space, for instance."
Howard agrees and says that accuracy and security are crucial, and introverts are skilled at working independently and concentrating on the task at hand.
Education Options: Medical records and health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate in health information technology, although some have an associate's degree, according to the Department of Labor. In addition, most employers prefer candidates with professional certification.
Introverted Career #7: Paralegal
If you have good research and investigative skills and enjoy working independently, you may enjoy working as a paralegal.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, paralegals assist lawyers by researching laws and regulations, writing reports, and drafting contracts, mortgages and other legal documents. They also obtain affidavits in addition to maintaining and organizing files.
Fit for Introverts: "Paralegals provide behind the scenes support and enjoy working with a small group of individuals they can get to know," says Howard. She also notes that this career requires a strong eye for details along with the ability to think deeply about complex challenges.
Kahnweiler agrees and adds that supporting a group of attorneys or a department may be a good choice since there are a limited number of people to interact with on a daily basis.
Education Options: To pursue this career, the Department of Labor reports that most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in another field along with a certificate in paralegal studies.