Thinking about making a change in your career? Not sure what you might want to switch to? These tips for choosing a career for your personality type are sure to help!
According to informal studies, most Americans will change careers at least once during their lifetimes. Some speculate that the average American changes careers between three and seven times.
While this is usually interpreted as an example of a lack of stability among younger workers, it can also be interpreted as a search for a career that fits your wants, needs, and personality.
There are many reasons for changing careers:
- More money
- Better location
- Greater opportunity for advancement
However, one consideration that does not get enough attention is simply that a career does not fit. At the broadest level, certain careers fit introverted personality types and certain careers fit extroverted personality types.
For an idea of where you fall on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion, you can find versions of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test online. In MBTI tests, the degree of introversion or extroversion is one of the four major personality characteristics measured.
What is an introvert?
An introvert is not the same as someone who is shy or has social anxiety. Rather, introversion is the personality type of being introspective. Introverts tend to focus on, and find motivation in, internal thoughts and feelings.
Introverts tend to have certain personality characteristics that influence the types of jobs they like and are good at:
- Introverts are “high strung” and easily overstimulated, so they tend to avoid situations that cause them stress.
- Introverts tend to feel taxed by social situations.
- Introverts do not mind, and sometimes seek out, solitude.
- Introverts are self-reflective and tend to use their time examining themselves, their mistakes, and subjects they are interested in.
- Introverts tend to be good at learning by watching someone else or reading.
Careers for introverts
This does not necessarily mean that introverts only enjoy work in basements and the International Space Station. However, they tend to be drawn to jobs that value perfectionism, involve learning and reading, and are not inherently social.
Introverts perform well in jobs where they are given independence. This is because introverts do not require external reinforcement from supervisors. Rather, the introvert is motivated by an internal drive to get things rights.
One job where introverts tend to perform well is the law. In fact, as many as 64% of lawyers are introverts.
Although these lawyers have a high propensity toward speaking anxiety, most lawyer jobs do not require them to go to court. Most of the time, lawyers negotiate deals, write contracts, read case law and legal precedent, conduct investigations, and prepare reports and legal opinion letters. Even among lawyers who litigate, it is usually only one or two members of the team who actually stand up in court and address the judge or jury while the other members of the team stay back at the office doing legal research and writing legal motions, memoranda, and briefs.
Another setting that works well for introverts is work-from-home. Introverts make good telecommuters, whether they work for someone else or own their own business. Introverts tend to prefer jobs where the only stress comes from their own perfectionism rather than colleagues, customers, and clients.
Fortunately, technology has made work-from-home more possible than ever before. Team collaboration tools, video conferencing, and scheduling software have seamlessly integrated employees working at home into the business. In fact, one of the most useful tools for work-from-home will undergo a boom in 2020. This year, 40 zettabytes of data will move through cloud computing networks.
What is an extrovert?
Extroverts tend to be outward-looking rather than inward-looking. Extroverts get their energy and motivation from others. While it would be easy to say that extroverts are the opposite of introverts, they are just different personality types with different priorities. Most people have both introvert and extrovert characteristics.
Skills and traits that extroverts have that can affect the jobs they enjoy and excel at include:
- Extroverts tend to be energized by social situations.
- Extroverts like working with a team.
- Extroverts tend to like feedback.
- Extroverts need positive reinforcement.
- Extroverts tend to be good at learning by getting their hands dirty and actually doing the job as opposed to listening or watching someone else do it.
Careers for extroverts
If you have extrovert personality traits, you would probably hate working alone. Rather, you would prefer to be in an office or shop where you can be around colleagues and customers. You would not be intimidated by fielding customer complaints or support requests and enjoy the process, or working with the customer to find a solution to the problem.
While it may seem counterintuitive, information technology (IT) is attractive to many extroverts because so much of it is outsourced these days. Working with a client to find an IT solution for the business fits exactly into the type of work that extroverts like. More importantly, it’s big business. The managed services market had grown to about 170 billion U.S. dollars worldwide by 2019.
While both introverts and extroverts can bring traits that help run companies, extroverts tend to make better managers of people than introverts. Their ability to become energized by social interaction helps them to motivate their team. Moreover, they are good at getting everyone working together to accomplish the business’s goals.
Similarly, doctors and nurses have to interact with patients all day. Rather than being drained by the interactions, as an introvert would be, extroverts are excited to meet with patients and help them solve their medical problems.
Finding a career that fits you can require many considerations. You will be happiest if you can live where you want to live, earn enough money to pay for all your needs and save for retirement, and enjoy your career field. However, you should not overlook how your personality type will affect your ability to perform your job duties. For example, any personality type can have an interest in medicine, but an extrovert would prefer medical practice while an introvert would prefer medical research.
By choosing a career for your personality type, you will be more likely to stick with it over the long run.