Have you ever listened to a friend describe their average day and felt yourself break out into hives? Maybe it’s listening to the exploits of your public-speaker bestie that makes your introverted soul shrivel up and die a little.
Perhaps it’s your game-designing girlfriend who stares at screens for weeks on end without encountering another person until her work is complete that causes you to hyperventilate.
If you’re wondering if your job suits your deepest personality traits, Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume offers tips for every personality type:
If you find yourself on the introvert end of the personality spectrum, Augustine said that “you’re more likely to thrive in calm, uncrowded environments, where there are more occasions for one-on-one interactions, rather than large and loud group discussions or debates. Positions that offer autonomy and introspection and rely less on collaboration are especially attractive.”
Augustine said, “As a result, introverts often gravitate toward professions that require the professional to work directly with only a small handful of people, where the communication is structured and limited, and there’s a lot of independence.”
Great gigs for introverts: Several professions that value the traits mentioned above include writer or editor (blogging, technical writing, translation); researcher; data entry; archivist or librarian; programmer; and accountant, bookkeeper, or actuary. Augustine also said that remote positions that require limited interaction over the phone are also appealing.
“Extroverts are often characterized as social butterflies, and with good reason” according to Augustine. “Whereas introverts are drained after excessive interaction with others, extroverts are energized by these conversations. If you fall into this category, there are many professions that value your “go-getter” attitude and ability to strike up a conversation with friends and strangers alike.”
Great gigs for extroverts: Several roles that fit those who are socially adept, according to Augustine include public relations; sales; advertising; journalism; radio announcer or TV broadcaster; teacher; litigator/lawyer, event planning, and recruiting. “All of these jobs capitalize on your gift of gab and will ensure your natural talents are leveraged.”
The truth about job fit
No matter how qualified you are, some jobs won’t be a good match for your personality. Augustine said “It doesn’t make you a failure; it’s just the wrong job for you. You can’t force an introvert to suddenly enjoy spending countless hours talking to people any more than you can expect an extrovert to enjoy quietly crunching numbers in a back office alone all day.”
Augustine also said that “We spend the majority of our adult life at work; shouldn’t that time leverage our strengths rather than putting us at odds with ourselves every day?”
If you’d like to work at a job where your personality shines, you might want to look in your professional rearview mirror first.
“When you’re looking for a new job, take a step back and consider the positions you’ve held in the past. In which opportunities did you thrive, and in which did you fail?” Augustine said.
In the positions where you did well and were happy, consider what each role entailed, what the work environment was like, and what you enjoyed most about the job. If you’re feeling very industrious, you might want to list the best and worst parts of your past jobs and pay attention to whether the pain points directly contradicted your natural inclinations.
“Look for themes among the jobs you enjoyed most to identify the type of position and work environment that leverages your strengths and best suits your personality,” said Augustine. And don’t worry if not everything about a new position clicks “Every job will have a few elements you don’t love, but you shouldn’t force yourself into a position — or stay in one — that drains your energy.”
Introverts in an extrovert’s world
According to Finkle, “Introversion is not a negative quality. We must all learn to embrace our introverted qualities, but also figure out how to sprinkle in some extrovert skills to move beyond our comfort zone and succeed in today’s workplace.”
Why does this matter for any personality type? In promotional materials, Finkle wrote: “The challenge is that introverts struggle most with self-promotion, taking the risk of revealing oneself, speaking up in meetings and networking events, being forceful in meetings and therefore an introvert’s valuable qualities often get overlooked in the extrovert’s world.”