ADHD presents itself in many different ways. Understanding your strengths and challenges as an introvert with ADHD is the key to finding the right job.
ADHD adults are often stereotyped as outgoing, high energy and talkative individuals. While extroverted traits like these are part of the ADHD experience for some people, they're not everyone's experience.
In fact, many people with ADHD identify with introverted traits. Whether that's needing time alone to recharge, spending lots of time in their own head or feeling overwhelmed by external stimuli.
If you're looking for a job, or struggling to cope in your current role, understanding your unique strengths and challenges is the first step. In a previous blog post, we looked at the best jobs for people living with ADHD. In this guide, we take a closer look at good jobs for ADHD introverts – and where to get support to find work that's right for you.
Can you be introverted and have ADHD?
Absolutely. People with ADHD have a diverse range of presentations and personality traits. This 2017 study of children with ADHD found that 58% of participants were introverted.
Introverts typically recharge on their own, prefer one-on-one interactions and think before sharing their thoughts. While some introverts feel overwhelmed and anxious in social settings, others feel comfortable and confident. Many introverts prefer working on their own, and can feel burnt out by long periods of social interactions.
Some introverts with ADHD may experience conflicting characteristics. For example, they may be cautious in some situations and highly impulsive in others. They may find it hard to focus in some situations and experience periods of hyper-focus at other times.
Understanding your own unique set of characteristics is the first step to finding a job that's a great fit for you.
Different ADHD presentations
There are three main types of ADHD: hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive and combined. People with ADHD who present as primarily hyperactive and impulsive tend to be more energetic, talkative and spontaneous. They often struggle with self control. This presentation of ADHD is often more easy to recognise.
People with primarily inattentive ADHD find it difficult to stay focused, remember instructions and follow through with projects. This ADHD presentation can be harder to spot, and is often misdiagnosed.
Many inattentive ADHD behaviours share similarities with introversion traits. A person with inattentive presentation may be overwhelmed by stimuli, find themselves withdrawing from others or feel burnt out from social interactions.
ADHD and mental health conditions
ADHD often co-occurs with mental health conditions such as social anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. Comorbid conditions can also have an impact on the types of careers and work environments that are right for you.
Read our other guides:
What are the best jobs for ADHD introverts?
Good jobs for ADHD introverts tend to have manageable amounts of social interaction, while providing variety and flexibility.
Although everyone's needs when it comes to work are different, here are some factors to consider on your job search:
- What level of social interaction is manageable? If you are easily fatigued by social interaction, you might prefer a job where you can work independently. On the other hand, working in a team might help you feel more motivated and supported.
- Does your brain love variety? If staying focused is a challenge, consider job types that allow you to switch between tasks more regularly.
- What pace is right for you? If you're a quick thinker, fast-paced environments or highly creative careers might be a good fit.
- Are you a big picture thinker? If small details aren't your strength, look for jobs where you can use your big picture thinking.
Job ideas for ADHD introverts
Here are some job ideas for ADHD introverts:
If you're a creative person who likes variety, photography could be a good fit for you. Photographers tend to have many different projects to work on and may need to travel for their work.
If you're passionate about helping others but prefer one-on-one interactions, counselling might be a good fit. Work closely with individuals, using your own life experiences to bring empathy and understanding to the role.
If you're a great communicator, but not keen on a large classroom setting, consider tutoring instead. Tutoring sessions tend to be shorter, allowing you to take breaks when needed. You’ll get to make a big difference for individual students.
4. Fitness trainer
If you're looking for an active, hands-on career, fitness training or personal training could be a good fit. Work one-on-one with clients or teach group sessions.
If you love the outdoors, and don't mind working independently, consider a career as a ranger. Rangers monitor wildlife, carry out surveys and patrol natural areas.
6. Chef / kitchen hand
If you thrive in fast-paced environments, but prefer to be in the background, working as chef or kitchen hand could be a rewarding job. Use your creativity and quick thinking to prepare meals for customers.
Looking for tailored career advice? Speak with an APM consultant. We can help you discover career paths and job opportunities that are the right fit for you.
Workplace accommodations for introverts with ADHD
Workplace accommodations are changes in your work schedule, environment or tasks that help you do your job well. The right accommodations can help you feel more confident in your role and manage stress better.
Examples of workplace modifications for introverts with ADHD include:
- Work from home
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Private workspace or facing your desk to the wall
- Scheduling and organisational apps
- Regular breaks
More tips to thrive in the workplace: Living with ADHD and holding down a job.
Find work that's a good fit for you
Everyone has different strengths, skills and challenges when it comes to work. The best jobs for ADHD introverts are jobs that empower you to use your strengths and skills while allowing you to manage your challenges.
If you're living with ADHD and finding it hard to get a job, you could be eligible for support through Disability Employment Services. When you register with APM, we'll get to know your situation and take time to understand what you want in a job.
Our employment consultants will help you find job opportunities that are the right fit for you. And we'll support you to overcome any challenges you might be facing in the workplace.
Ready to get to work? Find out how we can help by calling 1800 276 276.