Introvert or extrovert at work?

How much does your introversion or extroversion preference affect your career choices? The short answer is: it probably depends a lot on how strong your preference is.

If you thrive with lots of people around you, frequent changes, do OK with noise and lots of activity, you may be drawn to work environments that support extroverts.  Or if you concentrate much better in a quiet spot, with maybe a couple of co-workers around, few interruptions and consistency, you may relish work environments that are geared for introverts.  

According to a popular personality assessment, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), people tend to naturally feel energized by very different situations. Those who have an Introversion preference gain energy more from either spending time alone and going in deep on one or a few activities, while people who score higher on Extraversion (MBTI uses a different spelling) are energized more by being around other people and doing a wide variety of activities.

While the MBTI has been around a long time and has been used in many work and education settings, a number of academic researchers do not endorse it. Nevertheless, most people readily identify more with either an introversion or extroversion preference.

For some, these are mild preferences and they can accommodate either style. But if these differences speak to your ability to thrive in a workplace, it could be helpful to explore your MBTI type preference further.

In addition to personality preferences, work values, your likes and dislikes, and your skills, can help identify an appropriate career match for you. It’s also important to learn what a typical day is like on the job, what a career pays, the type of training required, and whether jobs are likely to be available.

To get a sense of which careers may fit you, check out some of these career exploration resources on CareerOneStop.

Learn more about different types of assessments:

  • Explore our collection of career videos on hundreds of different types of work. Select a category to view a list of related career videos. Videos include details such as typical tasks people do in that occupation, the kinds of work settings that jobs might be available in, the typical education you’ll need to enter the field, and more.
  • Learn about broad career areas from the career clusters. Career clusters are groups of related types of work. They give you an easy way to explore different kinds of jobs within one broad category. Start with one of the clusters—like health care or construction—to learn what it involves, current trends, and the different careers it offers
  • A career profile is a great place to start your career research. You can learn a basic description of that type of work, learn what it pays in your state, find out how in-demand it’s likely to be in the coming decade, learn what education and training you’d need to qualify, and more. Based on what you find out, you may be able to rule in some careers, and rule some out, too.
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