Any introvert can have a successful career

Introverts perform best in spaces where they can recharge, feel energised and can work autonomously (Shutterstock)

Being an introvert doesn't have to impact your career in a negative way.

If there is one topic that will never escape the office, it’s the introvert vs extrovert debate. And while both personalities have their place in the workplace, it seems that the conventional 9 to 5 set up caters better to extroverts. Offices are increasingly designed for open floors, more events have networking sessions and ideas are generated during team brainstorming sessions.

Introverts recharge, feel more energised and perform best alone, so where do they fit in - and thrive - in the busy work environment?

Perhaps, most important to note is that introversion and shyness are not the same. While shy individuals suffer from social anxiety and a fear of being judged, introverts prefer quiet and solitude for reasons that have nothing to do with negative evaluations.

Nonetheless, many extroverts can still interpret introvert characteristics in a negative light. They may appear slow, serious, secretive, lacking ideas and not a team player.

Does this sound familiar to you? Here's how you can make the most of your introversion: 

Let your quiet strengths be known

To shake off negative feelings, you need to identify yourself and what your strengths are. Only then will you be able to identify the value you bring to your position and the company.

You tend to show more activity in regions of the brain that are associated with an inward focus. As such, you:

  • Are insightful

  • Are good at recalling memories

  • Think before commencing with activities

  • Gather energy from spending time alone

  • Need to process your thoughts internally

  • Are a thinker… with a tendency to overthink
  • Once you’ve recognised your strengths, you’ll be able to identify jobs that complement your personality. To start you off, consider positions that will allow you to work autonomously or within quiet spaces:

  • Computer programmer

  • Biochemist

  • Financial analyst or clerk

  • Graphic designer

  • Veterinarian

  • Writer

  • Court reporter

  • Designer

  • Social Media Manager… Surprised? While introverts may become anxious at the idea of being active in a group setting, the same doesn’t apply in an online community.
  • Tell your colleagues what to expect from you

    Part of carving out a successful career will come in keeping your colleagues in the loop. Let them know what to expect from you. In this way you’ll be able to deter any misinterpretations that they may have of you.

    For instance, if you’re the kind of person to lose yourself in solitary work, let your colleagues know that you operate best when you can wholly focus on reading, writing, researching and coding for hours at a time.

    Being an introvert in the workplace doesn’t have to come at a price. By finding your best fit and highlighting your strengths, you’ll work your way up to success. If you’re not sure on which side of the spectrum you stand, take this test to find out.