Looking for work is hard for everyone, but for people who recharge their batteries by spending time alone, job searching can be particularly overwhelming.
If that sounds familiar, these job search tips for introverts are for you. Bottom line: you have a lot to offer employers. Learn how to play on your unique strengths and find a job that will help you shine.
7 Job Search Tips for Introverts:
As an introvert, you likely know that you do best when you allow yourself to approach things in ways that work for you.
You’re just as capable of landing a fantastic job as an extrovert. But, if you try to approach the process the way that they would, you’ll end up feeling energetically and intellectually depleted pretty quickly. So, it’s important to remember to honor your own needs and preferences during your job search. Here are a few specific tips:
1. Know that you can be yourself
When you’re beginning a job search, it’s important for you to feel confident in who you are. It helps to feel like you’re ready to take on an adventure. But, sometimes this can be difficult for introverts to do because the world often values and rewards extroverted traits and behaviors. However, know that you can, and should, be yourself during this process. You should feel confident and secure in who you are.
Introverts bring a lot of unique strengths to the table that more extroverted folks often can’t. First of all, people who lean more toward the introverted side of the spectrum are generally better listeners. This serves them well in the workplace and beyond. They’re also often great creative thinkers, good writers and they are more self-motivated and independent than most people.
So, be sure to enter into your job search with your head held high. Know that you have a lot to offer. And, because of that, also know that you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not in order to be hired. It’s okay to just be yourself.
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2. Take it one step at a time
The process of looking for a new job can be complex and challenging. And, it can be easy for introverts to get overwhelmed in the noisy, busy world as it is. So, it can feel like a lot if you have these tendencies and then you add a job search on top of your regular routine. It helps to remember to take it just one step at a time.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. As an introvert, you do better when you allow yourself to relax and focus on just one thing at a time. If you’ve decided you’d like to look for a job, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Know that you don’t have to figure out every possible scenario upfront. Just focus on what you have to do this week, or even just today, rather than looking all the way down the path.
3. Schedule rest/breaks
Introversion is often misunderstood. Introverts aren’t necessarily shy, for example, they just crave time to themselves.
“Shyness is about fear of social judgment,” said Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, in her 2012 TED Talk. “Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So, extroverts really crave large amounts of social stimulation. Whereas introverts feel at their most alive and switched on and capable when they’re in quieter more low-key environments. Not all the time. These things aren’t absolute. But, a lot of the time. So, the key then to maximizing our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that’s right for us.”
There is often quite a lot of this type of “social stimulation” to grapple with during a job search. This might not be a big deal for an extrovert. But, introverts would be wise to take it seriously and to get ahead of their needs a bit.
Be sure to schedule time off to be quiet when you’re looking for a job. Plan to curl up alone with a good book the night after an interview, for example. (Perhaps building in some similar time the day before a big interview would make sense, too.) Also, be conscious of the other social commitments you make while you’re going through the hiring process. You might need to spend a little less time hanging with friends during this time, just to give yourself the opportunity to really rest, recover and replenish your energies.
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4. Prepare diligently
It’s always helpful to feel prepared. Knowing that you’ve done your homework can help you to relax and feel more confident and present during your job search. For introverts, preparing diligently might be even more important than it is for most people.
Introverted folks do best when they’re in a calm environment. Too much social stimulation can feel overwhelming. But, some of these effects can be minimized through preparation.
Do your homework before an interview. Research the company and learn about the role you’re applying to fill. Also, be sure all of your materials, like your resume and cover letter, are in good working order and printed out beforehand. Have your directions ready to go, too. You don’t want to have any extra stress the day of your interview. So, be sure to attend to all important details in advance.
5. Find the job that’s right for you
Everyone’s different, but there are some jobs that make the most of what introverts do best. For example, introverts are often good writers, so something that plays to that skill and strength might work well. If you enjoy time outside, as well as time alone, the job of park ranger might also be appealing, as another example.
As an introvert, it’s extra important to take the time to identify the job that’s right for you. Pay attention to your feelings. Everyone enjoys working within a company culture that fits well with their personality. If an environment makes you feel off, or uncomfortable, or like you won’t be able to be yourself, take note. It’s worth taking the time to find the right job during your search. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to look again sooner than you’d like.
6. Keep listening
Never forget that it’s important to lean into your strengths during the job search process. Introverts are often excellent listeners. This trait would serve anyone well when looking for work.
Being a good listener helps you to take in information and process it thoughtfully before responding. Sure, extroverts might jump in with a faster response, but that doesn’t mean they’re more likely to hit the mark.
One of the things that can be challenging for introverts about the job search process is that it requires a lot of talking and sharing. But, don’t forget to be yourself. Sit back, listen and take it all in before responding. The folks doing the hiring should be impressed by your thoughtfulness and your careful consideration.
As a good listener, you’ll be able to learn about the mission of the company, and how your role fits with those goals, faster than others. And that can help you show that you’d be able to get the job done. Plus, people like feeling as though they’ve been heard. A lot of folks forget that when they’re being interviewed. Being an excellent listener can definitely help you to make a good impression.
7. Stay positive
Change can be scary. This is especially true if you’re the kind of person who likes a routine and a calm and peaceful lifestyle. All of this can be shaken up quite a bit during the job search process. So, don’t forget to be kind to yourself throughout this time period so that you can keep going and so that you can stay positive.
Positive thinking can be really useful. It’s essential to stay grounded in reality, though. Deluding yourself into thinking that things are going well when they really aren’t won’t serve you. But, looking on the bright side is good for your health, your skills and your performance. So, try not to let the job search process get your down.
Also, remember that looking for work isn’t easy for anyone. But, it’s an essential part of a thriving career. The alternative, staying in a job that no longer serves you well, would feel a lot worse.
Take good care of yourself and be patient. Always remember that you bring a lot of valuable and unique skills to the table as an introvert. Remind yourself that there are tons of employers who would be lucky to have you.
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