careers for emotionally intelligent people

There are some careers for emotionally intelligent people that require certain personality traits these people possess.

In the past, people would assume that I.Q. was the best way to measure human intelligence and that those with a higher I.Q. were more likely to succeed by virtue of being more clever. Yet in some industries, this commonly held belief is challenged, as people with an average I.Q. regularly outperform those on the higher end of the I.Q. scale.

This is where the concept of emotional intelligence comes in. The criterion against which E.I. can be measured was mainly developed by Daniel Goleman although has since been adapted in numerous ways. Goleman made a distinction between the kind of intelligence which allows someone to solve complex mathematical problems or process large amounts of information and the kind of intelligence which allows someone to understand the emotional complexities of people’s behaviours and accurately read their feelings.

Daniel Goleman defines the primary traits of emotional intelligence as:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

It’s not surprising, therefore, that those with higher E.I should be more successful than those with higher I.Q. in a number of jobs. A lawyer doesn’t have to calculate number sequences or visualize mathematical shapes in order to succeed at his or her job; the lawyer needs a perceptive insight and understanding of human behavior if he or she is to argue persuasively to a jury. Similarly, a manager doesn’t need to be familiar with geometry – he or she just needs to know how to influence people.

Emotionally intelligent people are typically happier than the general public because of their ability to identify and deal with negative emotions in a logical and responsible way. They are grounded in reality; thoughtful, observant and typically more compassionate. Many historic figures we have come to admire exhibited strong signs of emotional intelligence – Abraham Lincoln, for example. High I.Q. or not, these emotional intelligence traits are a recipe for success, especially when applied in the right fields…

So, what are the best careers for emotionally intelligent people?


Educating is a huge responsibility. Conveying information is not the difficult part. The hardest aspect is ensuring that you are catering to your student’s particular ‘learner types’ and educational needs. Not an easy task when you have a class of twenty people. Teaching, therefore, requires someone with keen observational skills, sympathy and appreciation of different personality types. Teachers who are able to accurately perceive and understand how their students respond to their teaching methods will be able to use this insight when developing their teaching style. It also allows students to view their teacher as more sympathetic, and subsequently, be more honest in admitting when they are struggling.

Team Manager

On a similar note, team managers also need the mental composure to confidently lead a team, whilst balancing all the numerous responsibilities which form management. It’s a job which requires patience, composure and an understanding of how to motivate and inspire people. Above all, managers need to be aware of how they are viewed by others, and how to relate to their subordinates, in order to earn their respect.

Poker Player

Though having a high level of emotional intelligence is less useful if you play poker online, professional poker players who prefer live tournaments benefit significantly from being able  to pick up on ‘tells’ (minor changes in facial expression and body language) in order to gain an edge over their opponents. There’s a reason you see famous players like Jason Mercier and Chris Ferguson conceal their face behind over-sized sunglasses – they don’t want other players calling out their poker face. The highest-cashing poker player of all time, Daniel Negreanu, ascertains that it is psychological insight and reading of other people’s emotions, above any odds calculation or strategy,  that has helped him progress in poker.


Psychology is perhaps the most obvious career for someone who excels at handling their emotions – for two important reasons. Firstly, if you are good at defining your feelings and identifying their root, then you are more likely to be able to help others in doing the same. Advice and sympathy will come naturally as you have plenty of it. Secondly, people working within psychology need great emotional strength in being able to deal with other people’s mental health issues. It’s important to maintain a degree of emotional disconnect if one is to act professionally in this field. Since emotionally intelligent people are good at managing their feelings and thinking logically – this makes them especially suitable for a career in psychology.

Customer Service Representative

Emotionally intelligent people don’t let themselves get easily frustrated or stressed – a desirable trait for those working in customer service, where tensions can run high in dealing with dissatisfied customers. Being able to express genuine sympathy and sincere apologies will also make someone more equipped to handle the sometimes unpleasant experience of talking to clients and customers. Emotionally intelligent people will realize that a customer’s negative comments aren’t an attack on them personally, but on the wider issue at hand, and will therefore not take any rudeness to heart.


The best politicians have an understanding of their people’s concerns. They are able to balance an emotional sense of loyalty to the people they represent, with others concerns and matters of practicality within a political establishment. Emotionally intelligent people typically make decisions only after considering all the information at hand – the ability to make impartial and well-informed choices will, therefore, make them a better politician. On the other hand, there’s also a lot to be said for leaders who are less emotional too…

Funeral/Wedding Planner

Whilst wedding and funerals are on either side of the spectrum in terms of the emotions they induce, the planning for either event should be done by someone who is considerate and respectful of other people’s concerns, wishes and preferences. To truly emulate the vision of a client in organising their event, you would need to take the time to properly understand what they want. The preparations for both funerals and weddings can be stressful – it’s important to keep a level-headed and considerate approach – which is why this job is one of the best careers for emotionally intelligent people.

Marketing Analyst

By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and taking the time to really consider their needs, you’ve already got some of the essential skills for marketing. Emotionally intelligent people are better able to consider what will fair best for which particular audiences, and more easily identify potential target markets to tap into. They’ll typically be better at predicting responses to a campaign, which puts them in a good position when thinking about how to promote a product or service.

Unsurprisingly, the careers for emotionally intelligent people are jobs which involve dealing with people in a respectful and considerate manner. If you’re a person with high E.I., it’s worth considering how you can best apply your unique skills at work.

Do you have any other careers for emotionally intelligent people to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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