Even as grade school children, we sometimes get pigeonholed into "suitable careers" based on our personality. However, most people aren't the same as they were in fourth grade. While it's true that introversion and extroversion are very relevant to our job search, it doesn't mean these two classifications can dictate your career. Is it going to be "easier" to become an actor if you're extroverted? Perhaps, but people change as they get older, and there's no law dictating that introverts can't chase their Hollywood dream.
The reality is that no career is "easy." You should be challenged no matter what your personality type. If you've ever been told your personality doesn't fit a career path you've set your sights on, that you're "too quiet" for a certain job, or that you're "too extroverted" to be tucked into an office, take a moment to reassess what it is that appeals to you about that career. Write down a pro/con list and make sure it still fits your idea of a great job.
Passion rules over personality
It doesn't always matter whether you lean more toward the introversion or extroversion camp. Check out some of these appealing careers that some think are "traditionally" suited for a certain personality type but can work for anyone passionate about them:
- Engineering: The stereotypical engineer, whether software or hardware, is quiet, studious and happily works away in a cubicle or office. You certainly need a strong math and computing background to become an engineer, but take a look at Google. That company's offices feature open office plans, spontaneous brainstorming sessions, and team building exercises. There are engineering careers with atmospheres to suit any personality type.
- Technical writing: Writers, regardless of niche, are also pigeonholed as solitary and in need of quiet space. Any type of long-term concentration needs a lack of distractions regardless of your personality type. However, technical writers (depending on the company) may spend a lot of their time interviewing colleagues, translating tech speak to laymen's terms, and working with editors, managers and the like to perfect their projects. It can be far from solitary work.
- MarTech: This newish career is half marketing, half technology, and requires skills of both introverts and extroverts. If you feel like you're "sometimes an introvert, sometimes and extrovert," this might be the career for you. It lets you dabble in both halves of your personality, providing plenty of "mixing it up" throughout the day. It's perfect for those on the personality fence.
- Tech sales: This is a broad job description and can include anything from working in a big box computer store to selling hardware or software to tech clients around the globe. However, sales (no matter where it takes place) is incredibly demanding. Classically, extroverts excel here but introverts can, too. Introverted personalities may be more attracted to B2B sales working directly with a roster of clients where you can build relationships. It's less cold calling, hard selling and more fostering relationships.
- Search engine optimization: SEO can be a very lucrative career. Much like your personality, it's also varied. There are elements of SEO, such as creating organic content, that might be more appealing to your introverted side. Other aspects, such as outreach to clients, taps your extroverted side.
Your personality doesn't necessarily need to dictate what career you can and can't have. We should realize of course that it is important and can even influence whether or not you advance slowly or quickly in your profession. When charting course, you should take into account what environments boost your drive and what kind of "recharge" you need daily. Do large groups of people give you energy, or drain it? Some people can't stand an open floor plan, others adore it, and most everyone has a strong opinion on "team projects."
Although your personality isn't the main determining factor for what career you choose, it is relevant. This infographic highlights some of the more popular careers, and the personalities that often succeed in them.