Job hunting? Your Myers-Briggs personality type can help.
Finding the right career can be difficult for an introvert in a world made by and for extroverts. Certain jobs lend themselves better to introverts than others, especially since introverts tend to do their best work alone and prefer not to be the center of attention. Plus, since introverts have varied talents, different types of introverts face different work-related obstacles.
In my research on introverts, and from in-depth interviews I’ve had with people of every introverted type, I’ve noticed some trends in job-seeking challenges for introverts.
Here are some tips for your career path as an introvert, including advice on starting jobs to try and suggestions for ideal careers to look into.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
- Computer programmer
- Video game designer
- Work at an equipment or tools store (Apple Store, Home Depot, etc.)
- High school tutor
As an INTP, you like thinking deeply. You probably like studying certain subjects or playing certain video games. When you talk to others about your beloved hobbies, you get excited and passionate and may want to tell them everything … which can scare them off. Your unconventional way of expressing yourself may make you lovable and fun, but also weird and different.
You could contribute a lot to a workplace if others give you a chance, but you may appear too quirky in a job interview or networking conference for people to take you seriously. Because INTPs tend to not like schmoozing or networking, you might benefit from getting more education, such as a Ph.D. in physics or a computer science certificate, or trying to find a family member or friend to put in a good word for you at your desired job.
Until then, expect to work somewhere your quirkiness won’t be an impediment, places desperate for hard-working, reliable workers, like big box stores, janitorial crews, or high school tutoring programs.
- Novelist or blogger
- Wildlife biologist, animal researcher, or wildlife rescuer
- Animal shelter volunteer
- Childcare provider (nanny)
- Cozy retail store/restaurant (with a friend on staff)
As an INFP, you’re very self-reflective. You probably like to journal, daydream, play with baby animals, and walk in nature. You tend to be creative, too, and stay close to the small group of friends and family who understand your unconventional style. And you’ll get to your novel someday, the one where you express your deepest sentiments and values. Maybe you’ll even go the independent route and self-publish. But a full-time career in the competitive publishing marketplace may be tricky.
If you want a more reliable career, you’ll need other options, like studying to become a therapist, since you enjoy listening sincerely to others and are interested in emotions and relationships. Thankfully, school creates a clear path to therapy work, and the field is in high demand. It doesn’t even bother you that counseling doesn’t pay much. To pay your way through school, consider working in a small, cozy environment, like a small-business retailer or family restaurant. Just make sure you have a good friend to work there with you, as having a work friend will make you more comfortable.
Another ideal option would be to become a parent and care for your children at home, since INFPs are natural caretakers. While you’re waiting to settle down with “The One,” you can learn about children by caring for your friends’ children, or you can get into therapy and learn more about relationships. In the end, it’ll all help you become your ideal self — something INFPs are always working toward.
- Writer (non-fiction)
- Graduate student teacher
- Freelance writer/editor
As an INTJ, you tend to want to be left alone to think, read, research, and contemplate the mysteries of the universe and how to solve the problems of society. You might want to join a think tank to give education policy recommendations or lecture at a university on the Problem of Evil. And you can become highly qualified to do this through personal study, meditation, and insight.
Unfortunately, to get hired for any of these careers, you’ll need to impress the extroverted world with extroverted credentials: degrees, honors, and a long resume of activities and smaller jobs. Since your strength is more insight than vigor, and since the draining task of job hunting requires more social contact and self-promotion than most INTJs can tolerate, you’ll need other options.
One route you can take is to earn a Ph.D. This way, along with the free teaching experience that comes with it, employers like universities will see your credentials. The other is to get your writing published … although you’ll probably need to rely on extroverted marketers and social media mavens if you hope to sell your work outside your immediate social circle.
More likely, you’ll have to do the first while hoping the second comes along someday.
- Creative writer
- Visual artist
- Work in a family business
- Work in a specialty store for a cause you care about
As an INFJ, you have beautiful visions that you want to bring to the world through creative works, like stories and art. But because you tend to work better in your head than in the social world, you often stammer over your words, struggle to make friends, and would hesitate to brave a professional writers’ conference to ask an agent to look at your manuscript. Even if you did, they’d likely say you didn’t write in the popular style or your characters weren’t relatable enough to the (majority-extrovert) market.
The truth is it will take stepping out of your comfort zone — and spending years honing your craft — for your creative work to make money. In the meantime, keep creating anyway, and share your work with those who can appreciate it.
If you need to earn a living, try finding a safe, comfortable environment, such as a place with friendly, warm-hearted people (like a pet supply store or baby clothing store) or with your family members. Or there’s always the route of therapy, using your deeply thoughtful nature and insights about others to benefit their emotional lives. If you’re desperate for a job in the meantime, a part-time janitor might not be a bad choice, since it’s not socially taxing and you can always listen to books or music while you’re working in blissful solitude.
- Self-employed handyman/woman
- Park ranger
- Real estate appraiser
- Building inspector
As an ISTP, you tend to like working with your hands instead of people — you probably have talent in tinkering with inventions, making home improvements, or finding cool nooks in your city. But you often have a hard time monetizing your talents since you may not be a natural fit for the structured education system and are usually not comfortable schmoozing your way into a job either.
People may think you’re awkward because you don’t like pointless small talk. You can produce things that are useful to people, but you can’t necessarily convince them to buy them. You may need to work at a solitary job, like as a groundskeeper, until you find the ideal way to make money with your true talents, perhaps by starting your own business. Beth Bueow’s The Introvert Entrepreneur is a great place to start.
Or you could just try to find a decent work environment where people leave you alone, such as something outdoors, and then pursue your passion projects in your spare time.
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- Artist (fashion, cosmetology, graphic design)
- Frozen yogurt cashier
- Dental office receptionist
- Freelance writer/editor
As an ISFP, you probably like a lot of the same things as the mainstream extroverts around you — movies, dancing, music, pets, and beautiful landscapes — and have a lot of useful talents. The problem is that doing things the mainstream way can drain your energy.
While you may like to pursue a career as an author, artist, or entrepreneur, you’re not sure since there is so much stimulation and harshness involved: going to classes full of people, networking online and at conferences, or partying with classmates to make friends.
Many introvert authors have written about how to manage overstimulation in an extroverted world, such as Jenn Granneman, Marti Olsen Laney, and Susan Cain. Their advice could help you learn about how to start a business, lead a team, or get a job using introvert-friendly methods.
In the process, you could try out your future career through freelance work, such as with writing or digital art. You could also get some experience and help pay the bills at low-key places with a predictable atmosphere, laid-back norms, and familiar people, such as at a frozen yogurt shop or dentist’s office. Whatever you choose, you’ll probably need to focus on quality over quantity.
- Logistical planner
- Data entry
- Big box store employee
- IT intern
As an ISTJ, you prefer familiar places, predictable schedules, and congenial people. You’ll likely want to work in an environment where people agree with the values you grew up with and where you can be appreciated for your loyalty, dedication, and work ethic.
Chances are, you’re risk-averse and hate conflict and competition, so try to avoid a job in something like sales or entrepreneurship. You’ll also probably want to avoid roles where you’d have to manage people; the less drama, the better.
You like books, history, planning, and order. But you may have trouble finding the right career if you don’t take some chances, such as leaving a stable, but not ideal, job to get your foot in the door at a company with prospects for a better fit.
While you’re in school, consider a routine job, like data entry or working at a highly organized workplace, such as a big box store; at both, your predictability will be appreciated. Routine IT work could be a good fit, as well. And, in time, you’ll build the resume for the quiet job you’re looking for.
- Doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional
- Elementary school teacher
- Any stable job at a calm, homey place
- Childcare provider (nanny)
- Volunteer librarian
- Home health aid
As an ISFJ, you likely just want peace. Not world peace; that’s far too ambitious. Just peace in your family, friend group, and workplace.
You try not to disrupt the delicate balance, and you’ll often go out of your way to “take one for the team” so everyone stays happy. You’d prefer to stay in the background and be a passive observer in family gatherings, chatting on the fringes and remembering all the important details: birthdays, marriages, and names and ages of children.
You’d probably also like to get married and care for your own children. Either that, or work with children in a low-stress environment (third grade is probably the sweet spot) or at a small, familiar business. Your strong attention to detail and caring nature would also make you an excellent doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional.
But you may need to assert yourself and get to know people outside your circle if you’re going to get married, and you’ll need to take school seriously if you want your desired job. To that point, don’t be afraid to speak up when need be and even ask others for help rather than always being the one who gives.
You might like:
- Why Intuitive Introverts Must Have Meaningful Work
- The 9 Best Jobs for Introverts
- Here’s What Makes Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type Angry
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