Many key activities in a successful job search - namely meeting new people, initiating conversations with people, asking people for information or support, and calling people we don't know, are not easy for many of us. For introverts - people who recharge with time alone - they can be extremely challenging.
Here are 13 tips for making your active networking tasks a little bit easier:
- Meet people individually or in small groups whenever possible.
- Build confidence by talking with mentors and other people you know personally first.
- Read a lot so you'll have something to say. You'll have more to contribute, will be better prepared and will feel more confident if you're up on the latest news about your industry, the companies you're targeting, and the news in general.
- Plan for time alone in between social occasions or networking events to recharge.
- At a large event, find the person who's alone. Chances are they hate to work a room, too and may be interesting person to meet.
- Think of what you're doing as research or work - anything but "networking".
- Practice reaching out online first (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) But realize that face-to-face meetings are part of any effective networking strategy.
- Plan what you'll say and practice before you say it. This applies to networking events, phone calls and job interviews.
- Support other people. Often the process of reaching out to contacts with, say, a lead or a link to an article feels less intimidating and is still an essential part of networking.
- Value your listening skills. When you're searching for a job and reaching out to others, you'll do this much more effectively if you're a good listener.
- Do first the thing you're dreading the most - that call, that email - get it done by 9:00 am.
- Acknowledge all of your small successes and build on them. You may not become an expert networker overnight, but every small step helps you increase your confidence and improve your skills.
- Be yourself. Although you do need to push yourself out of your comfort zone at times, you don't have to pretend to be someone you're not.
OK introverts, what has worked for you? How have you put yourself "out there" during a job search? What are you currently struggling with as an introvert in your job search?