Between one third to half the population is introverted. Unlike extroverts, introverts draw their energy from internal resources and find interactions with other people draining. This means parts of the job hunting process, like interviewing and networking, can be uncomfortable and exhausting for an introvert. But introverts shouldn’t feel at a disadvantage in their job search; instead they should be leveraging their other valuable traits to help them land their dream job.
The first question to ask yourself is: Are you applying to a job that suits your personality?
In the workforce, introverts tend to be great thinkers who like to innovate and strategize but are not necessarily comfortable with the limelight. Does your work reflect your strengths? That’s not to say introverts don’t make good leaders, but their leadership style is different and you should apply for a role that reflects that.
Beyond the type of job, what do you know about the company environment? Will it suit your workstyle? Would you feel more comfortable with a workplace that encourages personal innovation rather than constant collaboration? Perhaps a flexible workplace that allows you to work at your own speed is a high priority? Think about your work preferences and what environments will allow you to flourish.
Cover Letter & Resume
Most introverts shy away from self-promotion. This is especially challenging when it comes to writing cover letters and resumes which are supposed to be self-promoting. Luckily numbers speak louder than words in this instance and ‘show don’t tell’ is far more compelling than simply spouting how wonderful you are.
So your resume doesn’t need to be written with fillers like “hard-working professional who achieves results”. Instead just include your real accomplishments and give the HARD FACTS. For example, “increased sponsorship revenues by 42% in my last role” is far more convincing than filler fluff.
Introverts like to think before they speak so the key to acing your interview will be all preparation, preparation, preparation! Stave off any interview nerves by preparing the following:
- Prepare answers to common interview questions.
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
- Have a list of accomplishments, as well as challenging situations you’ve overcome that can be used for storytelling during behavioural interviews.
- Preparing yourself with a mock interview can also be useful.
When it comes to networking, extroverts do have the natural upper hand as they are more at ease with approaching strangers and making small talk. Here are a few simple tips to help you conquer those networking fears:
- Give yourself a goal – “I am going to make connections with 3 new people tonight”. This will give you something to aim for instead of wondering what you should be doing. Once you’ve completed your goal, you can feel free to retreat into a more comfortable zone.
- Do your research. Avoid the awkwardness of starting conversations by research attendees before the event. Pinpoint people you want to meet there and look them up on LinkedIn and social media. Find out if anything interesting has been happening at their company or in the industry that you can use for questions and conversation starters.
- Give yourself a break if you need it. Better to re-energize and go back out there fresh and ready than struggle straight though. Take a five minute time out or speak with someone you already know.
- Get in line for something. Whether it’s a line for food, drinks, registration or the washrooms – doesn’t matter. Find the longest one possible and tack yourself at the end of it. People tend to naturally strike up conversation when queuing together.
Introverts shouldn’t fear the job hunting process. They have just as much chance of being hired as an extrovert does. At the end of the day, employers want to hire the candidate who is going to bring the most value to their business, not the candidate who speaks the loudest.