Job Searching for Introverts
We all have that one social butterfly of a friend for whom everything just seems to come easier. They have a knack to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. When you are at a social gathering, they are the first one to make people laugh with their witty banter. Out on a date? They always seem to know just the right thing to say. Even your mom asks you to bring them around more often they are that, well, charming.
These extroverts have an especially easy time, it would seem when it comes to career-building as well. From all-important networking events to the interview room, those with a gregarious and outgoing nature have an easy ability to interact with others. Once they are in the door, asking for a well-deserved raise or promotion is a piece of cake. For the rest of us mere mortals, however, taking those initial first steps can seem like a daunting task. If you don’t quite fall into the category of the social butterfly, all hope is not lost. Job searching for introverts doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Preparation is Key
One of the biggest hurdle’s introverts can face during the interview and job seeking process is the fear of failure. Just the idea of having to strike up a conversation with a total stranger can leave a person paralyzed with anxiety. The trick to overcoming these feelings and to avoid freezing up is a hearty dose of preparation.
First off, if you find it difficult to interact with others you should set yourself up for success by initiating contact via the internet before any face to face interaction. Be sure that your resume is up to speed and start getting it out there in front of decision makers. Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and SimplyHired.com are great places to park your professional cv and let the recruiters and hiring managers come to you.
The critical aspect here is to ensure your resume has the most relevant information including your job history, skills, and experience. The more your resume can help sell your candidacy the less personal interaction you will have to do at the outset to land an interview or job offer. Sure, you will eventually need to have a real-world conversation or two, but a little bit of time and effort at the outset can help skip any unnecessary Q&A and get you straight to the substance.
From the time you first entered the workforce, you’ve probably heard about the importance of networking in order to help build a career. If you watch popular television shows or listen to the more gregarious among your friends, however, you probably think this always involves chatting up others in your field over drinks in a bar.
If the idea of mingling with complete strangers in a social setting to land a job leaves you with a serious case of the chills, never fear. There are plenty of ways to network efficiently that don’t involve small talk about the weather or delving into the latest celebrity gossip. The best and most effective networking events are those that pull double duty when it comes to information and connections. Instead of a social mixer, seek out opportunities to attend speaker series luncheons or conferences that provide continuing education. At these targeted events, you’ll have the opportunity to both learn and interact, providing a better reward for overcoming your social fears than a simple social mixer.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to jump both feet into the networking game either. In order to work your way up towards larger events, consider asking a colleague to coffee or lunch. These personalized meetings can often accomplish more than larger get-togethers and can help introduce you to networking without being overwhelmed by the prospect of shaking hands with hundreds of strangers.
Last but not least, networking in today’s modern digital age doesn’t have to be in person. Plenty of professional networking websites host forums and group conversations virtually. The ability to communicate via keyboard and mouse is often a great way to break the networking ice and can help an introvert overcome their fears by providing an initial introduction and communication of ideas.
The bottom line is to keep your network growing, even if the pace seems slow. Start small with your efforts and build both your comfort level and contact list. Set goals for networking over a week or month and watch your ability to interact and individual connections grow.
Put Your Interview Game Face On
Prior to scoring an interview, the introverted job seeker can get away with little to minimal social interaction. Once the big day arrives, however, it’s game on. Personality and the ability to fit in with “company culture” is often one of the biggest considerations for employers when meeting with a candidate in person. While the inclination may be to cover up your discomfort with meeting numerous strangers, this can often lead to overly gregarious gestures and an overall appearance of nervousness.
Instead of focusing on “fixing” your personality traits, introverted candidates should instead focus on the numerous positive skills and experience that they bring to the particular job opening. Your individual skills and experience are, after all, the reason you scored that call back in the first place. Focus on your knowledge and prepare for questions that are commonly asked for positions in your specific field. A trusted friend or family member will often be able to help you prepare for the interview in a trusted environment which can make all the difference when it comes to confidence on the big day.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to note that savvy employers realize that it takes all types to build a successful employee workforce. While many interviewees will be social butterflies, its the individual candidate qualities that will lead to job offers and long-term careers. Preparation is critical if you fall on the introverted side of the applicant scale.