Introverts tend to gain strength, energy and confidence through spending time alone, unlike extroverts who tend to recharge their batteries in social settings. Introverts can be intelligent, calm, thoughtful, and creative. They just don’t find social contact as energizing as extroverts do.
But even though introversion can support a highly successful personal and professional life, introverted tendencies can create obstacles to the traditional job search. Networking events, interviews, and job fairs are venues that seem to bring out the best in those who like to talk and have no difficulty approaching strangers. To introverts, these things can seem far more intimidating. If you struggle to enjoy some of the activities that lead to connection and opportunity on the job market, try these tips.
Job Search Tips for Introverts
- Recognize that you aren’t doing or feeling anything inappropriate, or even uncommon. There are plenty of people out there like you—plenty of successful people. Just accept who you are. Embrace it. And learn to use it to your advantage.
- Don’t schedule too many meetings and appointments back to back. If social contact drains your resources and time alone recharges them, make sure you leave a replenishing gap between one event and the next. That way you won’t feel rushed and exhausted.
- Each day, cross the most difficult or dreaded tasks off your list first. If you need to make a potentially awkward call or have a meeting with a contact that might cause some stress, arrange the meeting and make the call before you do anything else. Don’t let tasks become more of a burden by allowing them to hang over your head.
- Be careful about the jobs you choose to pursue. If you pretend to be more extroverted than you are and land a job that requires constant socializing, you may take yourself off the job market…but you probably won’t be happy in the position for very long.
- Plan out topics of conversation ahead of time. Making small talk at career-related events can be challenging, but the task gets easier if you think beforehand about questions you might like to ask and topics that might make good grist for the conversational mill.
- When you attend an event—from a holiday party to a seminar to a networking meet-and-greet—don’t be tempted to leave early. Some introverts like to duck out the door as soon as they’ve made an appearance. Try not to do this. Instead, give yourself at least one or two hours to settle in. Establish a minimum time limit for yourself before you go.
Above all, keep in mind that job searching means reaching out, facing the possibility of rejection, and talking about your most impressive skills and accomplishments. All three of these can seem especially unpleasant to introverts. But if you can find a way to navigate these challenges without betraying who you are as a person, you’ll be on your way to a new job that fits your working style and personality.
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