Can you be an INTROVERT and have a successful JOB SEARCH?

August 3rd, 2011

It seems like:

introvert + job search = failure

Doesn’t it?

Doesn’t all the advice point to networking?

And doesn’t networking mean you have to meet people, smile, be happy and excited and positive?

WAIT!!!

STOP!!!

Yes, your relationships can and should play a big role in your job search, and the success of your job search.

But if you are introverted, or scared to death to be an extrovert (or fake being an extrovert), there is still hope for you.

Lots of hope.

Social networking is a powerful tool for introverts because they are not in a high-pressure social environment.

But introverts can thrive at non-social networking, too.

They can definitely thrive.

Take what you think networking is all about … you know, all the stuff extroverts seem to thrive at, and discard it.

Networking is more about developing real relationships than it is knowing everyone your city, or industry.

Networking is more about one-on-one than it is collecting dozens or hundreds of business cards and email addresses (and then doing nothing with them).

Networking is more about thoughtfulness and follow-up than it is blasting general emails and updated to people who really don’t feel like they know you (and don’t really care about you).

Can an introvert thrive at that stuff?

Definitely.

Do not hide behind the title/stereotype of being an introvert to think you cannot network.

Want a book recommendation?  Here you go: The Successful Introvert, by one of my favorite introverts, Wendy Gelberg.

Wendy is the real deal.  She’s introverted.  She’s quiet.  She’s not the one who is at the network meeting shaking everyone’s hand, smiling at everyone and pretending she’s the host.

She might walk away from the meeting only having had one or two conversations.

But those conversations will have been really good. The people she talked with will have felt cared about.  She will have worked on breaking beyond a superficial relationship and getting to a deeper relationship.

She is an introvert who walks her talk, and she’s someone you should listen to. You can pick up her book here.


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9 responses to “Can you be an INTROVERT and have a successful JOB SEARCH?”

  1. stephen says:

    First time visitor to your site (and I am not so sure how I found it!) and already I am flabbergasted – in a good way! I remember being an introvert in my teenage years – and I remember the day I decided to be an extrovert. The funny part is that some days I am still an introvert – particularly when I realise I know NOBODY in a crowd of people. So I like this article that says that I CAN NETWORK online and offline effectively.
    I’m going to check out that book, just so I can nod my head knowingly or find some interesting tidbits to reinforce my thoughts!

  2. Being an introvert does not mean you are also socially dysfunctional. Introverts generally flourish in social settings when they are engaged in a conversation on topics they have passion for.

    And if you’re searching for a job in an area you aren’t passionate about, then maybe rethink that.

  3. Robert D. Lu says:

    I have to agree with Brandon. I’m introverted and tend to avoid small talk, but when it comes to subject of my passion, I let it rip. Introverts have a better chance experiencing their thoughts with the modern IT innovation. There is so much more opportunities for an introvert in the information age.

  4. […] Then, read my post: Can you be an INTROVERT and have a successful JOB SEARCH? […]

  5. Brad Merrill says:

    Once an Introvert always an Introvert…..

    True or False? I believe True. Let me explain.

    I am an Introvert- always have been. My Myers Briggs rates me INTJ. I work well in small groups. Once I get to know someone, or the topic is something I am passionate about? I look very much like an extrovert. I think we all have qualities of both in us. (I am also a first born) It is how we use it. One of the reasons I became an adjunct faculty member at a local career college is to help me overcome that. It has helped some.

    Some people may be considered extroverts yet be painfully shy.

  6. Jason Alba says:

    Brad, I don’t think it’s bad to be an introvert, and know that the book isn’t telling introverts they have to become extroverts. I know Wendy, who is an introvert, and a wonderful person.

    My take (not necessarily/just for Brad):

    It’s plenty fine to be an introvert. Nothing wrong with it. But that doesn’t mean you are at a disadvantage… I think too many introverts have an attitude of “well, if I were only more outgoing then I could (network, be successful, make that call, etc.).

    Don’t confuse introvert with weakness, or use is as an excuse to not do things you need to do. And don’t think extroverts have all the advantages – everyone has challenges and concerns and problems…

  7. Brad Merrill says:

    Oh, I agree with that Jason. We introverts just have to work harder at those things that come more naturally to an extrovert.

    Even in my teaching, I work better with small class sizes than larger ones. But going in, I knew it would help me develop in some areas where I perceived I had a weakness. (speaking in front of groups of people for one) My very first class I taught had about 20-25 students. That was hard. Later most of my classes were 5 students or less, and most of those were 1 or 2. My style worked better in that environment.

    Although introversion in and of itself is not a weakness. (IMHO)

  8. Jason Alba says:

    Brad, your willingness to teach like that reminds me of a personal hero I have, named Tom… shy in front of groups (or, not passionate about public speaking), now heavily involved in Toast Masters. Probably still introvert, but worked on skills. Super cool guy.

  9. Tom Kenny says:

    I’ve been reading a great book by Susan Cain titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a Word That Can’t Stop Talking.

    She also has a TED video at http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

    Just in case you’re not sure The Guardian has an introvert quiz at http://t.co/EoB3cknL

    Although I’m an introvert I’ve found ways to improve my professional networking and public speaking skills. One of those networking methods I’ve learned from Don Gabor, which is to ask questions. It helps since two thirds of the population are extroverts and they love to talk :-)



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