Generally, introverts have issues with the parts of career development that require you to talk about yourself and meet many new people. Typically, these tasks are difficult for certain personality types, and they are a major part of the process.
But there are many other ways to make job-hunting work for you, regardless of your level of social energy. With some practice and adjustments to your job-search plan, you can make your reserved nature work to your advantage.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the job market as an introvert.
Networking as an Introvert
Many introverts are scared away from the idea of networking because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what networking is. There’s an idea that in order to get a great position, you need to connect with as many people as possible - drive up your LinkedIn connections like a high score.
In a sense, it’s true that your opportunities may grow with the size of your network. But at the same time, having more connections does not necessarily mean having better connections. It’s possible to have 1000 contacts that are doing you absolutely no good.
Lotte van Rijswijk
If the idea of connecting with a bunch of people makes you want to crawl into bed and hide, then it’s time to target your search more. Focus your attention on building one-on-one relationships with a handful of people (like recruiters) you really want to have in your corner.
Say you send out one purposeful LinkedIn message a day (just one!). By the end of the week, that’s five connections, and if only two or three people respond, then you can focus your energy on them.
These relationships will be more manageable and valuable to your search than competing for attention with hundreds of others.
Look At Listings
You can analyze the language used in job descriptions to get a sense of what the company culture is like. In this case, you’re looking for clues about how much intensive socialization will be expected to “fit” at your new company’s culture.
Phrases like “working and playing hard” and “regular (virtual) social gatherings” are often indicators that the team puts a lot of emphasis on group activities. This may not be your particular cup of tea.
On the flip side, introverts can often thrive in collaborative activities. If the description of the work itself describes you - if they’re looking for someone who’s “detail-oriented” and “a team player” - that might work to your advantage.
Lotte van Rijswijk
Think hard about the level of socialization you want within your work environment - especially during times of pandemic and quarantine. Then consider the qualities of other workspaces you’ve enjoyed in the past. Use these to identify a company culture and values that work well with your personality.
Identify Your Introvert Strengths
No matter who you are, you need to be honest about yourself in the job hunt. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
This means it’s okay to be honest during networking and interviews about how difficult it can be to make connections with new people, or how intimidating the process is. Odds are very good that they can relate.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an introvert, it’s worth identifying and emphasizing the strengths that introverts typically have - organization, focus, creativity, and others. Demonstrate how you show these qualities in your work.
Focus On The Work
If you’re still not completely comfortable with talking about yourself, then try steering the conversation back to your work. It’s often easier to talk about your role in a project than it is to talk about yourself as a person.
When in doubt, fall back on your resume. Your resume should be a list of facts about your work. Everything on there should be provably and demonstrably true, so you may have fewer awkward feelings about sharing it.
Practice answering questions about your work specifically, and build answers using the STAR method.