Introverts can make amazing employees. They’re often creative, work well with others, and take time to think carefully about what they say and do. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the traits of an extrovert are much more highly valued. That can make job hunting, already a daunting task for those who aren’t keen on talking to strangers, even tougher. Yet there are ways that introverts can make the job hunting process a little easier on themselves and perhaps even a little more successful. Where to begin? Check out these tips that can help introverts navigate the job hunt and show off their best side to prospective employers.
Having multiple interviews back-to-back is tough for anyone, but for those who need a fair amount of alone time to be at their best, it can be especially stressful. When possible, introverts should leave enough time between meetings to recharge in the car or on public transportation, and make sure they don’t feel rushed or unprepared for each interview. Too much of this kind of high-pressure interaction can wear you out, so take time to reflect, rest, and collect your thoughts.
For many introverts, making small talk or initiating a conversation is a challenge, which can make networking or interviewing difficult. In order to make things a little easier, introverts can plan out some conversation starters to use at networking events and questions for their interviewers ahead of time, so that there’s no stress to come up with something on the spot.
If you’re not the sort of person who finds networking events fun and invigorating, it can be a challenge to convince yourself to want to stay for more than an hour or even to go at all. Yet the more time you spend, the more doors you may open up. Compromise by deciding how much time you’ll spend at the event before you go. That way, you won’t feel stressed to stay the entire time, but will stick around long enough to meet some new people.
Introverts by nature often shy away from large crowds, but in the hunt for a job, this may not always be possible. The best way for introverts to feel more comfortable in these kinds of situations is to have a large-group strategy. What does that mean? Everyone’s strategy will differ but can include being able to define your role as a professional, having a bank of conversation starters and questions, and establishing goals for going up and talking to new people.
It can be nerve wracking to call to follow up on an interview or a resume submission (especially if you really want the job and are terrified of rejection) but even introverts have to suck it up and make the call if they really want to get hired. Or course, post-interview follow-ups aren’t the only kind you may need to make. After networking events, it can be smart to follow up with new connections, too. Just remind yourself that conversations only need to take a few minutes, so the terror will be blissfully short-lived.
While some introverts might thrive working in sales, the majority will find these kinds of jobs to be mentally draining. For that reason, job hunting will be much more successful for introverts if they tailor their search to work that’s more introvert-friendly. Not only will these jobs be healthier for introverts, they’ll also be easier to get with the intrinsic skill set many introverts have.
To take a little bit of the anxiety out of applying or interviewing, do research online before meeting up with potential employers. Introverted or not, this is just a smart move, as it’ll give you something to talk about, help you learn if a company is a good fit, and make you look incredibly prepared for an interview.
If the thought of interviewing or networking causes you to break out in a cold sweat, then you might need to go through a few dry runs of potential interactions ahead of time. Most of the time, our biggest fears about interactions are that we won’t be prepared for what happens, so put those fears aside by doing the most logical thing: preparing. Go through possible scenarios and questions ahead of time —script them if you need to— and pay special attention to issues that you’re most afraid of addressing.
Being an introvert isn’t the worst thing in the world, and being honest and up front about how intimidating you find talking to new people can actually help you make connections. Really! The next time you’re at a networking event, break the ice by admitting that it took all of your courage to go up and talk to that person. They’ll appreciate the effort and you’ll have something to immediately talk about.
While a resume can be a great asset in an interview, a career portfolio can take things one step further in the right direction. Plus, it takes some of the pressure off of you to remember all of your career highlights. Put together a binder or portfolio that outlines your accomplishments and/or showcases your best work from your previous jobs or college courses. It’s a great solution for introverts who need solid talking points and who also aren’t keen on bragging about themselves to employers.
While introverts may have weaknesses, they also have strengths that can be significant assets to businesses of all kinds. You don’t have to label yourself as an introvert, but don’t be afraid to highlight some of the introverted traits you have that can make you a great employee.
It’s never easy to hear no, but as scary and demoralizing as it may be, it’s not the end of the world. While introverts may know this in their heads, it still doesn’t always make it easy to put themselves out there. Yet risks are an essential part of what helps people get ahead. Introverts need to psych themselves up, make a call, send an email, or just get in touch with anyone who can help them. Hearing no stinks, but missing out on great opportunities stinks more.
Introverts who aren’t great at talking themselves up or reaching out to employers may want to work with a recruiter who can take care of some of these tasks for them. While this kind of approach may not work for every type of job, for some it could really make a difference, and help introverts get a foot in the door without feeling stressed about networking and cold calling.
Many of us, not just introverts, dread interviews because they are situations that are largely out of our control. But are they really? While you can’t control every question interviewers will ask you, you are allowed and even encouraged to participate in a two-way conversation with whomever is interviewing you. After all, you have to evaluate whether or not a company is a good fit for you, too, so don’t be afraid to speak up with questions or concerns.
Those who feel like they’re floundering in their job search or can’t quite nail down a career path could really benefit from talking with a mentor. This kind of one-on-one conversation can really appeal to introverts, and can give them confidence and information that can be a big asset in looking for any kind of a job.
Hate making calls? Dread the thought of handing out your business card at a networking event? One of the best things an introvert can do during the job search is to get those most dreaded things out of the way as soon as possible. It might not be easy to do them, but usually the experience isn’t nearly as bad as we think it will be, and once they’re done, we can relax and focus on other less onerous tasks.
While it can sometimes be wise to push yourself out of your comfort zone, there is a limit on what will help you to get ahead. Trying to be a person you’re not or to pretend you have traits that you don’t might help you to get a job, but you probably won’t like it. Just embrace being the best version of you that you can be instead.
Introverts may not have the inborn gift of gab or ability to feel comfortable in a crowd, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn it. There are hundreds of books out there that teach communication, networking, marketing and other essential extroverted skills and just as many classes on the subject taught at community colleges, business centers, or online. With so many resources, an introvert would be remiss not to take advantage.
When you’re trying to get a job, highlighting your successes at work isn’t bragging: it’s just smart. Many introverts don’t like to talk about themselves, but in an interview, it’s essential. So, let go of the modesty and talk yourself up.
You don’t always have to go out and make new connections to find a job. Many introverts can find leads for new work by capitalizing on their existing connections. That can be a much less stressful way to network for those who aren’t fond of career fairs and other networking events.
If you’re shy in person, at least with people you don’t know, then make the most of opportunities to highlight your potential as an employee on the web, where you have plenty of time to think of what you want to say and aren’t on the spot. Make a website, create a portfolio, and hone your resume in a situation that makes you more comfortable before bringing it out to the larger working world.
When you help others, they’re often much more willing to help you. Whether you pull together a collection of great job search sites, put in a good word with a friend, or pass along a resume, a friend you help can be an asset later on when you’re looking for a job yourself, so put forth the effort now.
The ever-growing role of web media in the job search is a godsend for many introverts who aren’t as adept at interpersonal interaction as their extroverted counterparts. Social media is a great place to start, so sign up for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social sites to show off your resume, expertise, and portfolio.
If you’re the type who tends to get a bit flustered in an interview, don’t sweat it. When you write a “thank you” note to your interviewer, you can simply revisit issues you might not have been clear about in the interview, giving you a second shot at making a good impression.
If you feel like you’re lacking in certain skills that are key to your job, then work on them. There’s no rule that introverts can’t be great conversationalists, salespeople, or public speakers. In fact, many introverts excel at these things, even if they don’t love doing them. Work on your skills on your own or take a class. You can even put any classes you take on your resume so your potential employers know you’re aiming to improve.
This article was contributed by OnlineCollege.org, whose blogs keep you informed about the latest higher education and online learning issues. Read their site to learn all you need to know about online college admissions, accreditation, student loans and aid, and more.