Even for the most outgoing, extroverted types, a job search can be a stressful time riddled with anxiety, For an introvert, the process can be downright paralyzing.
Even though introverts are often creative, thoughtful and work well with others, it often seems that extroverts have the edge in the job search process. But introverts can make the job search easier and more successful by focusing on their best traits and emphasizing their strengths to prospective employers.
Here are 10 tips to overcome - and even take advantage of - your shy, reserved nature.
1. Be honest about yourself and your strengths
This doesn't just apply to introverts. Every job seeker should candidly assess his or strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures when job hunting.
The most important tip? Don't pretend to be someone you're not, says Rona Borre, CEO and Founder of IT hiring, staffing, and consulting firm Instant Technology.
In interviews, be up front and honest about how intimidating the process is, and how it's difficult to break the ice with new people, Borre says. It can actually help you forge a connection with whomever you're speaking to.
2. Emphasize your strengths as an introvert
While you don't have to label yourself as an introvert, make sure you understand and can emphasize the strengths that introverts often share creativity, focus, dedication, and an ability to work well with others are all common traits of introverts, and all of these traits can make you a great employee. Another tip: let your passion for your work shine through, Borre says.
"One way to ease the pressure and anxiety of a job interview is to shift the focus from the personal to the professional," says Borre.
"Try and steer the interview toward talking about your work, what you've created, and your accomplishments rather than talking about yourself, and your passion and your love for the work you do will shine through," she says. Having a professional portfolio also can help give you some concrete examples to point to, and some instant talking points if you're feeling nervous, Borre says.
3. Focus on finding work that will energise, not drain you
There are plenty of examples of introverts working in sales and other customer-facing positions, but for most introverts, these kinds of jobs are mentally and physically draining, Borre says. Focus on searching for work that will let you use your intrinsic strengths and that's more introvert-friendly.
Especially in the IT field, many introverts find they've had to hone their business communication and collaboration skills to foster close working relationships across departments, says Borre, and that's a great area to highlight to potential employees, she says.
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