Introverts make up around a third of the population, yet most workplaces are set up exclusively with extroverts in mind, which becomes obvious when you look at the traits associated with the two personality types.
Extroverts can often gravitate toward groups and constant action, think out loud, and are energised and recharged by personal interactions and shared ideas. By contrast, introverts can typically dislike noise, interruptions, and big group settings, preferring quiet solitude, time to think, and focusing deeply on work.
Introversion is a personality trait based on patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviours. If you have an introverted personality, you will remain naturally introverted throughout life.
A study conducted by the BBC found that more extroverted people — those who were more confident, sociable or assertive — had a 25 per cent higher chance of being in a high-earning job.
However, there are certain sectors where introverts too can thrive - professions which require meticulous focus and deep thinking, such as Finance and Accountancy.
Employers have a role to play
As specialist Finance and Accountancy recruiters, we are keen to support candidates in their career progression. Our Managing Director, Chris Goulding, recently spoke with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) about introverts in the workplace.
He firmly believes that employers have a role to play in helping introverts boost their careers. In high-risk sectors such as finance and accountancy, observing before speaking and thinking before acting are positive attributes that should be recognised when it comes to promotion. Meritocracy is key in these roles, and Chris reminds us that employees can do well if they are task-focussed instead of becoming too embroiled in office politics.
What are introverts good at?
Introverts are often great listeners. They can build deep relationships, be skilled at hyper-focussing, and can be very adaptable. With an impressive ability to focus deeply on one activity, introverts can enjoy (and even thrive on) workspaces that are quiet and peaceful.
There are a number of positive steps that introverts can take to help boost their careers and move up the ladder.
Steps introverts can take to actively boost their career
Identifying gaps in your resume and investing in the time to upskill will help you progress. While not always easy, it is important to own your achievements, and to be innovative in getting noticed for them.
Quieter introverts could consider keeping a written note of positive contributions to share during appraisals and job interviews.
Having a mentor can be particularly useful in seeking professional as well as emotional support in the workplace - someone with whom you can quietly discuss things and bounce ideas around with.
Ensure you prepare well for meetings and go into each with a few things to contribute so that you are perceived as an active, rather than passive team member.
Make yourself visible and available to help out colleagues by supporting and volunteering.
Most importantly, take the time to work on your personal brand.
Developing your personal brand
Personal branding is about how you present yourself and how others perceive you – and is all you have to help you manage role changes, career breaks, and moves between employers. Awareness of the positive and negative signals across all aspects of your personal and professional life is important - from your physical appearance and how you conduct yourself, to what you involve yourself with and how you show-up online. Here are some recommendations when enhancing your personal brand.
Tidy up your appearance
How people view the way you look and behave and their understanding of you as a person can have an impact at job interviews, appraisals, and opportunities to work on specific projects.
Grow your confidence
Improve your confidence by networking online, writing blogs or hosting webinars. Use a social platform such as LinkedIn, which offers opportunity to do all of these things virtually. It’s important to remember that confidence comes from reminding yourself of your expertise.
Be a trusted colleague
Be known as someone who will do what they say they will do. Volunteer for things in support of your colleagues and in support of your company’s values.
Outside of work
What you involve yourself with outside of work can both negatively and positively impact your personal brand. It is important to have things outside of work that give you something to talk about other than work, and helps prospective employers and/or recruiters better understand what makes you tick. Social media can be helpful when building your personal brand, but also take care to curate your online presence so that it positively contributes to career progression.
Set yourself apart
Chris advises that “to progress your career, you also have to draw upon your unique strengths.”
If your downfall is public speaking identify areas where you do excel and other do not and direct your focus there. This could be around tax returns, auditing or data analysis.
“Word of mouth is powerful when it comes to career progression, so build one-to-one relationships with colleagues and clients. Introverts need to be proactive to carve out a successful career.”
If you are looking for your next move in Accountancy and Finance, get in touch with our team of specialists.