Doing This With Your Hands Makes People Not Trust You, Experts Say
Especially with face masks covering our mouths these days, body language is a huge factor in how we come across. Whether you’re sitting straight up, slouched over, or fidgeting with your pen, people are quick to make judgements based on the little things you do. In fact, experts say that making one common gesture with your hands makes people less likely to trust you. Read on to find out what it is, and for more on why people may be doubting you.
Putting your hands in your pockets makes people not trust you.
If you want to come off as inviting and trustworthy, keep your hands where people can see them, says Susan Trombetti, a relationship expert and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. “When people keep their hands in their pockets, it appears they are hiding something. And someone is more likely to be lying because they are hiding their hands,” she explains. Concealing your hands comes across as more controlled, which can be interpreted as “deceitful and untrustworthy,” she notes. “People generally consider individuals with their hands in their pockets to be insecure,” explains Girish Shukla, a mental health and psychology expert.
Keeping open body language makes you seem more trustworthy.
According to Trombetti, someone who is telling the truth—or at least, seems to be—is more likely to keep their hands open and palms up. When your hands are visible, “the physical openness of your body language invites trust,” says Lauren Levy, a sales expert who teaches people in the industry how to appear trustworthy.
“Keeping open hands while talking can give others the idea that you can be trusted and that you know what you are talking about,” Shukla says. “Whenever you expose your palms it means that you are not hiding anything.”
For many, the LMS (Learning Management System) was a safe and obvious solution. Convert the onboarding sessions, tool or process training traditionally shared in a classroom-style format into LMS courses easily consumable from anywhere, at any time.
Yet, despite the popularity, compelling research suggests there are detriments to relying solely on an LMS for training and onboarding employees. Here are four of the most common pitfalls every entrepreneur should be aware of when evaluating an LMS solution and what you can do about it.
1. LMS course content is quickly forgotten
Studies have shown, (specifically, the Forgetting Curve by Ebbinghaus) employees will forget up to 50% of what they just learned within an hour without revisiting the material. This number jumps up to 70% by the following day.
What’s happening? Our working memory has a limited capacity, known as cognitive load. It’s estimated that the average adult can store between five to nine pieces of new information at once in their short-term memory. So, if an employee goes through a two-hour course on a new tool, it’s likely they’ll forget most of the training when they go and use the tool the next day.
2. It’s not easily accessible
A McKinsey report found employees spend, “1.8 hours every day – 9.3 hours per week, on average – searching and gathering information.”
If that number feels hard to swallow, I bet this scenario isn’t: on day one, an employee takes a course on your company’s competitors where they learn about your unique differentiators. On day 45, they run up against one of those competitors on a prospecting call. To recall that information from their training they need to find the course, the right module and fast-forward to the exact section just to recall the competitive differentiator.
Compound that by the fact that today, instead of being able to turn to a coworker for a quick answer, employees are waiting for responses on email, Slack, etc. The result is a staggering amount of time and energy wasted.
Retrieving knowledge from an LMS course requires an employee to leave what they’re doing, find the course and identify the exact spot within the course containing the answer they’re looking for.
Learning teams put so much energy and effort into developing these courses but ultimately if the information isn’t readily accessible, it won’t be used.
3. It’s not reinforced
This goes back to the original challenge of short-term memory capacity. When information isn’t reinforced and processed into our working memory, it’s discarded to make room for new concepts and ideas.
For knowledge to be retained, it needs to be reinforced as the employee is going about their day-to-day workflow. Imagine, you’re trying to learn basketball and the coach walks you through a two-hour course and sends you on your way. Do you feel like Steph Curry? Likely not.
In the same way that the fundamentals of a sport are repeated over and over to make it into long-term memory, employees need repetitive training on processes and tools before they’re proficient.
4. It doesn’t mirror how employees learn outside of work
Let’s say you’re at home and you want to know how to cook the world’s best scrambled eggs. Odds are, you’re not going to comb through hundreds of cookbooks to find that recipe. A simple Google, YouTube or Facebook search and within seconds, you’re whipping up an Anthony Bourdain caliber feast.
In our personal lives, information is instant. Yet, in our professional lives, we’re forced through lengthy courses that are rarely immediately applicable.
In essence, we’re accustomed to learning as we’re doing. Rather than treating training as a corporate destination, effective professional learning should align and flow with our working days as simply and friction-free as a YouTube search does in our personal lives.
5. It’s not designed for training on small changes
Businesses are evolving more rapidly than ever before. A recent study revealed 44 percent of companies change or update tool processes at least every two weeks! Between rapidly changing processes, frequent adoption of new tools and the tools themselves constantly changing – employees struggle to keep up.
Training on these changes using an LMS would require the creation of a new course for each of these frequent updates. Due to time constraints, businesses typically defer to low-retention, easily ignored methods to communicate small changes like email, Zoom meetings or Slack channels. This results in crucial information and updates getting lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
Methods for adapting your training to the modern age
Despite all of the shortcomings, there are still benefits to LMS platforms. Before you toss your LMS out the window, ask yourself, “what type of training is suited to course style learning and what type of training is not?”
For example, general company policies, security training or department overviews might make sense to deliver in a course-style format. But, training on tools, processes or methodologies could be better served in a different format.
For the latter, ensure you’re addressing the below key challenges:
Reinforcement: How can you reinforce crucial training throughout an employee’s day-to-day workflow?
Accessibility: How can you make training instantly accessible in the moment of need, right where questions arise?
Digestibility: How can your training more closely mirror how employees learn outside of work?
Flexibility: How can you train on those small, frequent changes in a way that solves the above challenges?
Luckily, there are new Digital Enablement solutions specifically designed for these challenges that pair well with an existing LMS. There are also strategies you can adopt, regardless of what tools you use, to adapt your training.
Each and every little thing you say (yes, even just one sentence) during a job interview shapes whether or not a hiring manager thinks you are a strong fit for the job.
And sometimes, it may be tempting to give an answer that felt right at the time, but in hindsight was extremely poor and made you seem weak or average. That’s why it’s important to remind yourself in advance of what to resist saying.
Here are six responses to avoid if you want to boost your chances of landing an offer, along with tips and examples of what to say instead:
1. ‘I’m a motivated self-starter.’
I’ve heard so many candidates say this in response to questions about their professional strengths or notable characteristics.
It’s a wildly overused answer, and if you find yourself saying it, the best case scenario is that your interviewer will ask you to elaborate. Worst case (and likely) scenario? They’ll be unimpressed because they’ve heard it so many times, and move on.
A more appropriate response might be: “I’m not afraid to take the lead on projects, and I can do so with little guidance,” followed by an example of a time when you successfully did this.
2. ‘In five years, I hope to be in your position.’
Don’t think that your potential boss will be flattered by this answer; they’ll just find it lazy and thoughtless.
And even if they are at an impressive level in their career, they might assume that you envision being where they are — just at a different company. This indicates a lack of commitment.
Instead, outline potential ways you see yourself growing at the organization. Start with the position you’re interviewing for and highlight some key skills required for the job, and how you can build upon those skills.
This shows that not only do you care about your career advancement, but that you’ll also be dedicated to helping the company grow in the long-term.
3. ‘I didn’t like my previous boss.’
Never speak badly about a former boss, no matter how bad of an experience you may have had.
When asked about why you left a job, it’s okay to admit that it wasn’t a right fit. Honestly is a valuable trait, but be careful with how you phrase things.
Instead, you could say that you realized your passion and want to switch career paths. Or maybe you’re looking for something more challenging. It’s also good to mention at least one thing you learned from your previous job that can help you succeed in the role you’re applying for.
If you were fired, explain the situation without taking or assigning blame. Talk about what you could have done differently to change the outcome. This displays self-awareness and an ability to grow from negative experiences.
4. ‘My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.’
Nobody is perfect, so this answer is essentially another way of saying, “I’m too weak to admit any weaknesses.”
This is a behavioral question that managers take seriously, so have an in-depth response prepared. I always recommend turning to former bosses and co-workers that you trust for feedback.
Send them a list of the top skills required for the position and ask them to rank it based on what they think is your strongest to least strongest.
Ultimately, it comes down to being honest about what you need to work on, giving some examples, and then discussing how you plan to work on those weaknesses.
5. ‘Can you tell me more about the company?’
Believe it or not, I’ve seen even the most qualified candidates ask this question in various ways (e.g., “What are your company’s main goals?” or “What does your company do?”).
The hiring manager took the time to read your resume and learn more about your background, so you’re expected to do the same and make time to research them.
It’s okay to ask them to elaborate on a very specific questions (e.g., “What are your team’s monthly goals?”), but going into the interview with little information about the company is insulting and will lead to a poor first impression.
6. ‘What do your perks and benefits look like?’
Yes, it’s unwise to take any job without knowing what your employee benefits will be. But you should never bring it up early in the interview process, because it will only make the employer question your true intentions.
Remember, the first few interviews are meant to determine whether you should continue to be in the running for the position. So topics involving perks and benefits are irrelevant if you don’t even make it past those early rounds.
It’s common knowledge women typically make less in the workforce — around 81 cents for every dollar earned by male counterparts, according to Labor Department statistics. But how accurate that number is and the reasons behind it are widely discussed and debated. Some suggest that women often make less because they are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs. Data from the National Women’s Law Center states that women make up 47% of the workforce, but account for 69% of employees in jobs that pay $10 an hour or less. Meanwhile, Glassdoor found that nine out of the 10 highest-paying college majors (such as engineering, physics, and computer science) are dominated by men, while women are more prominent in six of the 10 lowest-paying majors (including in liberal arts and social sciences). But even men and women with the same majors often split into different job titles within industries where men wind up in positions that pay more.
There’s good news: Women often make higher wages than men if they are in male-dominated fields, especially when joining unions within those fields. As the gender pay gap persists, these jobs are few and far between and subject to a wide variety of variables, but they are out there.
Wholesale and Retail Buyers
Gap in women’s favor: Less than 1 cent more per dollar Women in this profession, who work selecting and buying goods or services a company needs, are not going to make much more than their male coworkers, but with very few professions giving the edge to the ladies, this one makes the cut. Interestingly, the 2019 Glassdoor Progress on the Gender Pay Gap report notes that, as a whole, male professionals in the retail industry are paid quite a bit more than women.
Postal Service Clerk …
Gap in women’s favor: 2 cents more per dollar Those ladies behind the counter at your post office make, on average, 2 to 3 cents more than those dudes standing next to them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Interestingly, however, the same is not true for mail carriers, where men are paid a whopping 18 cents more an hour than women. Not cool, USPS.
… And Lots of Other Clerks
Gap in women’s favor: 2 to 11 cents more per dollar This is admittedly rather vague, and that’s because, according to BLS, female clerks of all types — billing and posting clerks, reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks, office clerks, production, planning, and expediting clerks, and receptionists and information clerks make more than men. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks saw the biggest payoff — the ladies there make an average of 11 cents more an hour. The problem here is that none of these jobs are very high paying to begin with.
Gap in women’s favor: 3 cents more per dollar Female wordsmiths are making a few cents more per dollar than their male counterparts, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that, in 2018, women editors made an average annual salary of $59,176 to the men in their same profession, who pull in $57,408.
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar The study of body movement, a college major similar to exercise movement and one you might pursue if interested in becoming a personal trainer or physical therapist, is one of Glassdoor’s lowest-paying majors, tied with criminal justice. Still, the wage gap here is in women’s favor according to the website’s 2017 economic study — women’s $43,000 annual average salary to men’s $41,000. Take that with a grain of salt, however, as BLS’s 2918 statistics note that male physical therapists are paid more by a margin of 2 cents per dollar.
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar It’s not surprising this STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field is lucrative. It’s also one that typically attracts more men, although women who pursue it excel, making an average $63,770 a year in chemical engineering to men’s $60,480, according to Glassdoor.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar The BLS notes that women’s average weekly pay in this career, where workers perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents, is $953 versus men’s $917.
Advertising Sales Agent
Gap in women’s favor: 10 cents more per dollar The gap among advertising majors is in women’s favor by an average $54,756 to $49,400. Women also hold 60% of professional positions in advertising, says Avi Dan, a contributor to Forbes, but black employees are poorly represented and still make only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a white colleague.
Clinical Laboratory Technologist and Technician
Gap in women’s favor: 10 cents more per dollar Women who have a passion for the laboratory and can stomach bodily fluids can earn more than men in this profession, BLS reports. They make an average of $47,372, nearly $5,000 more per year than their male counterparts.
Food Prep and Food Service Worker
Gap in women’s favor: 14 cents more per dollar It might not be the loftiest of career goals, or pay the most, but women who work in food prep and service, which includes fast food workers, make a fair bit more than their male coworkers.
Gap in women’s favor: 93 cents more per dollar This is one job where the wage gap is completely reversed. Female models make quite a bit more than male models. Looking at a Forbes report released earlier this decade that compared the 10 highest-paid female and male models over two years, women made a total of about $105 million while the men clocked in at about $7.6 million. Women’s fashion is a bigger market, and the work is higher-paying and more abundant. However, as French model Baptiste Nicol noted in a Huffington Post story: “You have to take into account that a male model will have his best earning years between 30 and 50” — by which time, the outlet went on to write, “most female models’ maximum earning potential is behind them.” Sigh. But, it should be noted, that this is an industry in which even the non-super contingent of female models are paid about $13,000 more per year than the rank-and-file male models.
Critical thinking skills truly matter in learning. Why? Because they are life skills we use every day of our lives. Everything from our work to our recreational pursuits, and all that’s in between, employs these unique and valuable abilities. Consciously developing them takes thought-provoking discussion and equally thought-provoking questions to get it going.
Here is a simple infographic offering questions that work to develop critical thinking on any given topic. Whenever your students discover or talk about new information, encourage them to use these questions for sparking debate and the sharing of opinions and insights among each other. Together they can work at building critical thinking skills in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.
How Does It Work?
Critical thinking is thinking about purpose. It’s clear, rational, logical, and independent thinking. It’s about practicing mindful communication and problem-solving with freedom from bias or egocentric tendencies. You can apply critical thinking to any kind of subject, problem, or situation you choose. We made the Critical Thinking Skills Graphic for you with this in mind.
The Critical Thinking Skills Graphic includes categories for Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Each section has eight questions that begin with their corresponding word. The questions are meant to be versatile and broad, and applicable to a range of topics.
In these questions, you’ll find great potential conversation starters and fillers. That said, this is obviously not a definitive list! Let them inspire your students to come up with their own questions for critical thinking skill-building.
One way confidence is judged is by an individual’s behavior, especially verbal behavior. That’s according to Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Professor Tannen has been researching the influence of linguistic style on conversations and human relationships since 1974. She has also studied how ways of speaking learned in childhood affect judgments of competence and confidence in the workplace for several years.
How we speak, she says, determines who gets heard, who gets credit, and what gets done. Tannen gives the following example: one publishing company executive said, “I’m hiring a new manager. I’m going to put him in charge of my marketing division,” as if he owned the corporation. In stark contrast, women were saying “we” when referring to work they alone had done. One woman explained that it would sound too self-promoting to claim credit in an obvious way by saying, “I did this.” Yet she expected—sometimes vainly—that others would know it was her work and would give her the credit.
You might think that your way of speaking is natural, but the words you use and how you use them can determine how your confidence is judged. While there is no such thing as right or wrong words—results vary depending on the context—some common words we use in conversation really just put us at a disadvantage because they are weak and make us seem less confident.
1. “Um” and “Ah”
Many people throw in an “um” whenever they are temporarily lost for words. But there is a reason you won’t hear these crutch words, as they are known in public speaking, in news bulletins and TV shows. “Um”s and “Ah”s make people seem not only less confident, but also dumb. If you are guilty of this habit, stop it. Instead, take a brief pause when you are temporarily lost for words.
2. “Like” and “You know”
Some other people can’t go three sentences without appending a “like” to the beginning of a sentence. This is not a good if you want people to take what you say seriously. “Like” and “You know” are close cousins to crutch words. They make you look silly and incompetent when overused.
Saying things like, “Just wanted to ask a question” or “Just checking in” weakens your statements and waters down your requests. You seem less sure of yourself and less confident than you probably are. Drop the extra word and speak like a boss. Talk like you know what you want.
4. “Kind Of”
The words “kind of” or “sort of” used in conversations make you come across as vague and ambiguous. You look like you have no idea what’s going on or are afraid of committing. Unless you want people to think you are timid or clueless of what’s going on, don’t misuse these words.
If you are always saying “hopefully” to everything in conversation or that you’ll hopefully get something done, you’re actually telling people that you don’t have control over situations. This can backfire on you because it can communicate that you are weak, powerless or even unreliable.
“Actually” has become the new “basically” or “literally.” People use it even where it doesn’t stylistically make sense. For example, the phrase “but actually” is terribly misused. This particular usage is often unnecessary (fluff) and can make you seem uninformed and pitiful.
99% of the times people use the word “sorry” in conversations where no apology is necessary. Saying things like, “Sorry, can you come visit me?” or “Sorry, can I take you out?” can be misinterpreted to mean you’re not confident. Drop the “sorry” and say what you mean confidently. If you want to apologize for something, say sorry like you really mean it.
Dropping the occasional f-bomb (curse words) can add emphasis to what you are saying. But, often curse words are unnecessary and plain offensive. They suggest you are insecure about what is being discussed or are simply a rude and brutish individual. Cut curse words from your conversations.
Possible solution for glitches in conversation
Admittedly, getting rid of these communication glitches is not easy. The mistakes creep into your conversations before you realize it. However, a technique you can use to curb these errors (suggested by improvement thinkers like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins, and also bloggers like Scott H. Young) is to keep a rubber band around your wrist. Every time you make a communication blunder (say, using um’s and ah’s), switch the rubber band onto your opposite wrist. If you can go seven days with the band staying on the same wrist, you’re making progress.
Today’s job prospects are a far cry from early 2020 projections that the year would put job seekers in the driver’s seat of finding new work. Across the country, tens of millions of Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits seven months into the pandemic-induced economic freefall. And according to the latest available data, there was roughly one job opening for every two people out of work in August.
Studies have shown that extended unemployment and underemployment can have a longstanding impact on a job seeker’s physical and mental health. And during a triple health, economic and racial justice crisis in America, the stress of being without a job and steady income can feel even more staggering.
CNBC Make It spoke with experts for guidance on how to manage feelings of burnout while job searching during the pandemic.
Limit your job-hunting hours
There are plenty of things out of your control that are probably contributing to everyday stress: the economy, the job market, news of the election, enduring examples of racism in the country — not to mention the presence of the coronavirus itself.
While these issues can’t be ignored, Austin-based therapist Melody Li and founder of the Inclusive Therapists community says it’s crucial to focus on what you can control in order to ease stress and burnout. When it comes to the job search, while you can’t control how long it will take you to find new work, you can control how much time you give to the process on a daily and weekly basis.
Dan Black, global recruiting leader for the consulting firm EY, recommends spending between 1 and 3 hours a day during a typical work week actively job hunting. Block out a time of day when you’re most productive, whether that’s first thing in the morning, or in the afternoon when you’re done caring for kids doing virtual learning or another time. And like other experts, he says sticking to a routine — making your bed, showering, getting dressed — can put you in a more focused mindset.
Give yourself a ‘win’ every day
For the remainder of your day, Black recommends you schedule in tasks to complete that can give you a sense of accomplishment. That could mean doing another hour or two of career-related tasks, such as completing an online training course or attending a virtual conference. Or it could even be things you need to get done around the house.
“If you spend an entire day doing something and it doesn’t yield results immediately or soon thereafter, it’s a blow to your ego no matter who you are,” Black says. “Carve out pieces of your day that you can count as successes.”
Pay attention to your surroundings
Another part of your job search you have control over is your environment. Sending off emails from your couch in front of the TV for hours on end isn’t sustainable and can be hard on both the body and the mind, Li says.
“Some people may think, ‘This is temporary, so I don’t want to invest the time to create a nice environment,'” Li adds. However, she explains that this kind of thinking can put undue stress on your expectations that you’ll find a job immediately. Being intentional about your surroundings “will help with your sustainability and general energy while job searching.”
Improvements can be simple: Try putting on some joyful music during your job search hours, lighting a scented candle, wearing something that makes you feel good and setting up your laptop so you have something nice, such as the view outside a window, to look at.
Plan something to look forward to every week
With much of daily life now relegated to online activity, Li says it’s crucial to break up the monotony mentally as well as physically.
“Our minds are not wired to thrive on monotony. Our minds are wired to thrive on variety,” she says of being constantly attached to devices. “So when we start to starve out parts of our mind, like creativity and activity, which is common now during Covid, we may feel sluggish.” This, in turn, can make an already depleting job-search experience even worse: “We may feel our brains aren’t as sharp or we’re having a hard time finding words during an interview.”
Instead, make a commitment to yourself to do something active and creative at least once a week, such as going on a long weekend hike or adding a new plant to your garden. Plan it in advance.
“Give yourself something to look forward to every week,” Li says. “Some folks are holding out on kindness to themselves until they find a job. They think they’re not deserving of joy, but that’s self-punishment. On top of feeling rejected, that accumulates and can become anxiety or depression.”
Instead of feeling guilty that you’re taking time away from applying to jobs, remember that prioritizing your well-being will help you feel recharged when you get back to it.
Build a job-search buddy system
For many people, a paradox of the pandemic is that they need support from friends and family more than ever, yet interacting in person brings its own set of risks. And with so much going on, you may feel that you don’t want to burden others when they have their own struggles to deal with.
Still, there are other ways to find support from people in a similar situation as you, says Claire Wasserman, founder of the Ladies Get Paid career-development community and author of a forthcoming book. She suggests forming a group of five or so people, whether in your own network or through an online platform, to talk through your experiences job searching during the pandemic.
Sharing your experience can keep you from shouldering the challenge, and burnout, on your own. Wasserman says being honest can help others feel less alone in their experience, too.
“Being transparent about what you’re going through is helping another person,” she says. “Shift your mindset and know, it’s not about demonstrating weakness or like you’re being a burden. Everybody at some point has to figure out how to find a new job or negotiate your salary.”
The positive reinforcement of others in a similar boat can also keep you motivated when constant non-response — or flat-out rejection — can feel like a reflection of your self-worth.
Additionally, such networks can help you power up your job-search process by providing networking opportunities; resume and cover letter help; interview feedback and so on. Regular group check-ins on progress can also keep you accountable to hitting your job-search goals.
Remember that none of this is personal
As bleak as things are across many parts of the job market, it’s hard to not take it personally when you don’t hear back from a hiring manager. But each expert reiterates that it’s crucial to try and get out of this mindset. The outcome of your application is dependent on the complex ecosystem of the job market, down to how each organization has changed its hiring process in light of the pandemic.
Also remember that, if an opportunity outside your normal field presents itself, how you earn income isn’t a reflection of yourself.
“If you need money and need it now, there’s absolutely no shame in that,” Wasserman says. “Maybe on your resume it doesn’t make sense, but no one will look at your job in this year and think, ‘Why did you work this random customer service job in 2020?'”
Li says it can be helpful to write out a list of the things you’re good at and display it as a reminder. Check in with friends and family about non-work-related things.
And finally, “Take into account this is a tough time for a lot of people,” Black says. “But just because you haven’t heard back yet doesn’t mean you’re not qualified, or that you’re never going to find a job, or that you’re no good. Give yourself some forgiveness.”
I believe these strengths are the best guide to finding a happy career for an introvert. Here are my top nine recommendations for careers for introverts:
1. The legal profession
When you hear “lawyer,” do you picture a strong-voiced extrovert who’s always up for public debate? That image is far from accurate. According to the data, the majority of attorneys are introverts. And that makes sense: Even trial lawyers spend most of their time researching, writing, and preparing for cases — all of which are areas where introverts excel. (Plus, many practice areas don’t involve arguing in front of a judge at all.) Introverts also make great paralegals, a detail-oriented profession that’s big on research and writing, keeping you out of the spotlight.
2. Business-to-business sales
Most salespeople sell to consumers, forcing them to be “on” to hook people with their charisma. But business-to-business (B2B) sales is a very different profession. While personality still matters, no profitable business is going to spend tens of thousands of dollars (or millions) just because you made them laugh. Instead, it’s all about listening to their needs, customizing what you offer, and working with them to get a solution that fits. Introverts can be amazing in these positions; it’s a job that prizes knowledge, listening skills, and meaningful discussion — and it’s often heavy on written communication.
3. Creative professions
We live in an age fueled by content, whether it’s video, photo, or written. That means there are more jobs than ever before for full-time professional creatives, as well as endless freelance opportunities. Since introverts tend to be creative in general, any of these can be a fit, but photographer, video editor, and animator can be particularly good positions — all involve a lot of solo work. Just look carefully at the company culture when applying, because some agencies focus entirely on collaboration, while others understand the need for focused work time.
4. Researcher (any kind)
This is a broad category, because there are researchers in just about any industry. While each field will have its own idiosyncracies, all researcher positions require two things that are introvert strengths: written communication and extensive solo work. In some cases, these positions can be easy to transition into from your existing career, which is a godsend for introverts who feel “stuck” doing something draining. Just be aware of your preferred work style: some research positions, like marketing research, are likely to involve big-picture thinking and spotting trends, while others (medical researcher) will be much more repetitive, requiring you to follow the same procedures every day.
A huge number of introverts have found happiness simply by making the switch from regular employee to self-employed. This can take many forms, whether you’re an entrepreneur striking out to start a new business (which isn’t for everyone), or you’re a freelancer doing work on a project-by-project basis. Introverts thrive as freelancers because they love working independently and getting to use their own insights. It also means you can set your own schedule, control your environment, and lower your stimulation level (no more introvert hangover, at least from work). If you’re looking to transition into self-employment, it’s often easiest to keep your day job while you build up clients as a side-business, then go full-on freelance once the numbers make sense.
6. Working outdoors
Anytime you see a list of professions for introverts, you’re likely to see at least one or two “nature-y” positions — and for good reason. Whether it’s landscaper, park ranger, forester, or botanist, outdoor work tends to involve a lot of long quiet periods. There’s no question that some jobs involve working with teams, but with the physical and unconfined nature of the work, it’s easy to be the quiet one or to simply stay lost in your thoughts. In many of these jobs, you’ll also be surrounded by natural beauty, which is good for mental health and helps imbue a job with a sense of meaning.
7. Anything IT
The burgeoning technology field is still a growth industry, especially in roles like systems administrator, software engineer, data analyst, or web developer. But these jobs aren’t just in demand (and generally well-paid); they also involve plenty of focused, individual work — often with an emphasis on creative problem-solving or building something new.
8. Social media marketing (SMM)
In most of history, it’s been almost impossible to command a large audience without putting yourself personally in the spotlight. Social media marketing has changed that, however, and it’s a highly valued skill that creative introverts excel at. SMM combines business sense, creativity with words and pictures, and the ability to pay attention to an audience and their needs. It’s also a career path that you can either get formally trained in or simply master through practice and offer on a freelance basis. As a bonus, this is a skill you can easily apply to your own projects or causes you believe in, so it can help introverts pursue their own passions as well as build a career.
Out of all the caring professions, working as a counselor or therapist might be one of the most perfectly suited to introverts. While it requires people time, much of it is one-on-one or small-group — a situation where introverts are at their best. Likewise, much of the therapist’s role is to listen, listen, listen, then put those deep-thinking introvert skills to work by helping someone come to their own realizations. Almost nothing is more meaningful than helping others and seeing the result.
Of course, there’s no one “best” career for introverts. Even in the right field, your job happiness will depend on the culture, your boss, and your coworkers — as well as simply knowing what you want in life. One of the best ways to do that is to think about what energizes and drains you, and narrow career options down from there.
Studies have found that about 40% of one’s time spent communicating is spent listening, and by a wide margin more time is spent listening to others than reading, writing, or speaking.
Treasure recommends practicing focused listening as much as any other communication skills. He offers five simple exercises to become a better listener.
Immerse yourself in silence.
Treasure says the brain develops filters for sound so that it doesn’t become overwhelmed by stimuli. For example, if you’re at a noisy party, you’ll still likely be able to recognize someone shouting your name.
In order to “re-calibrate” your ears, Treasure recommends a period of meditation in complete silence, even if it’s only a few minutes each day. You may as well use the opportunity to quiet the cacophony of thoughts in your head, too.
Break soundscapes down.
Treasure recommends taking a moment to think of your mind like an audio mixer, breaking down every sound you hear in a setting in the same way a producer would isolate different instruments and vocals when working on a song. You can try selecting different channels of sound in a café, the office, or even in a song itself.
The exercise will allow you to enhance your selective listening.
Enjoy the mundane.
Focus your mind on sounds you would normally ignore, like your washing machine or a car driving by. This can help you break a habit of drowning out sounds around you when you become distracted.
Adjust your listening positions.
Treasure says this exercise is by far the most effective.
In the same way you imagined your mind as a sound mixer, practice jumping among each of the sound channels around you. If you’re listening to a song, try listening only to the drums before listening only to the bass line, for example.
Similarly, practice jumping among different perspectives. Try listening to a speech from a critical perspective, rapidly processing the validity of statements and their meaning, and then try listening from an empathetic perspective, focusing more on the emotion of the words and how the speaker is delivering them.
Practice engagement with another person.
And finally, learn how to be a better conversationalist.
Treasure says to remember the acronym “RASA.”
“Receive” by making eye contact with and focusing on the other person; “Appreciate” by giving indications of acknowledgment through cues like head nods or short vocal replies; “Summarize” by getting the other person to clarify the point of anything that doesn’t register; and “Ask” by giving follow-up questions to whatever you just learned.