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Introverts, Here’s How to Get Ahead This Year

Topics: Career Advice
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Between one-third and one-half of the U.S. population are introverts. Despite this, our modern world is geared more toward extroverts. So, introverts can sometimes have a difficult time navigating the waters at work — especially when it comes time to ask for a raise or promotion.

But, it’s important to remember that introverts bring many unique talents to the workplace. If you’re an introvert, playing to these strengths, rather than trying to suppress them, could help you get ahead.

Here are some tips to consider:

Understand that introversion is not a curse

It’s always a good idea to walk into any kind of professional situation with a positive and confident mindset. Sometimes, that can be a challenge for introverts, who live in a world that more reliably rewards extroverted behaviors and qualities. So, the first thing you should do if you want to step up your game is to stop beating yourself up for being an introvert in the first place.

As an introvert, you are probably an excellent listener — careful, patient and reflective. These are wonderful qualities. Who cares if you aren’t comfortable pushing others around in order to get ahead? The world has enough of those types anyway.

Make others aware of your ambition

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says that sometimes people assume that quiet people aren’t ambitious. So, it’s important to be proactive about reaching out and discussing your ambitions with your employer.

Set up a meeting to talk about your goals with your boss. Prepare some notes in advance so that you can lean on them during the meeting.

Keep the agenda simple. You don’t want to take away from the central focus, which is your goals. Being sure that your employer knows where you’d like to go is an important step.

Get the facts

When the time is right to ask for a raise or negotiate salary, it helps to be prepared. This is true for everyone, but it’s especially the case for introverts, who enjoy knowing what to expect.

Preparing for your meeting will also help you to ask for what you want. It will feel like an easier process if you have data to support your position.

“When you have to negotiate a salary, one thing that you can always do is your homework to figure out what the market value is for this role that you’re applying for,” Cain tells CNBC.

Use PayScale’s Salary Survey to help you determine what professionals like you should be paid. Sharing these findings in a non-emotional way will help you negotiate the raise you deserve.

Be reflective

Introverts tend to be a little bit more self-reflective than extroverts. If you’re this way, it can help you when you want to ask for a raise or promotion.

Before the meeting, take some time to really reflect back on your time with the company. List your strengths and accomplishments. Also, think about how you’d like to contribute going forward.

A lot of people lack self-awareness, but introverts are often pretty skilled in this area. So, show off this strength during your meeting. You’re likely to impress your employer with your mature self-awareness.

Use quiet to Your Advantage

Many extroverted people need reminders to pause during negotiations. Silence feels uncomfortable to them. But, you are more familiar with the power of the pause. Use this to your advantage during your conversation with your employer.

Allowing for pauses during an important conversation is important. Moments of silence allow others to expand and further explain their thoughts, or even reconsider their prior contributions.

Be courteous but firm during your talk, and don’t worry if there are some pauses during the meeting. As long as you keep your head held high, these pauses will help you appear strong, confident and capable. And that should ultimately help you to get ahead professionally.

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