7 Things Introverts Can Do to Turn Networking for a Job from Bad to Good
I once had a fellow Introvert tell me: “I’d rather clean the floor of Grand Central Station with my toothbrush than network.” I think that pretty much sums it up for the vast majority of job seekers with even the slightest leaning toward being an introvert. Statistically, that’s about half of all job seekers.
Yet, despite all that distaste for networking, and especially networking for a job, you have to do it, right?
Yes, you do.
Even with all that the Internet gives us, people hire people. You most likely won’t get a job without connecting your resume or you to a real person simply to get an interview. This is a fact of life that predates the Internet. We have to network and build relationships for jobs, resources and opportunities.
Before I get into some actionable advice, it’s important to understand a bit about how Introverts tick:
- Being around people sucks up our energy. We almost go into autopilot to save energy, which means we do avoid networking events or even parties.
- We tend to form relationships one-on-one. It helps save energy and allows us to focus, which we do very well.
- When we do speak it’s either because we have a purpose to speak or a context of understanding about the other person. (We know the other person and have enough background to know where to start a conversation)
To sum this up, events suck up energy, which isn’t fun; being around groups of people isn’t fun; and if I don’t know you or know what to talk to you about, I’m a deer in the headlights. Great.
Don’t despair; there are things you can do to work with your natural tendencies.
Tip #1: Expand Where You Are
Many of us fail to recognize that our place of business is one big networking opportunity. Introverts do tend to “hunker down” or focus on work rather than relationships, but schedule yourself to daily get away from the desk and get to know someone better. At work you have a number of workmates, but don’t discount customers, vendors and contractors. This will also allow you to develop the relationship one-on-one!
Tip #2: Look Up Former Workmates
The great thing about our jobs is that we do make work friends, even if we get out of contact when someone moves on. Use LinkedIn to locate some of your former workmates. They will love you for remembering them. Besides, it’s fun to get caught up. Once you connect – stay connected.
Tip #3: Don’t Work the Room
The worst advice for us is to try to meet as many people as you can. We hate it. It’s superficial and you really won’t get to know others with that strategy. By focusing in on just meeting 2 or 3 people, you will reduce the overwhelm and feel good about going because you got to spend time focusing on the other person. When you hit your target, leave.
Tip #4: Following Up Is Not Stalking
I hear this a lot. When you finish speaking to someone, ask for their contact information and suggest coffee. That way when you do make contact, it won’t be awkward for either of you.
Tip #5: Not Everyone Is Perfect for You
If you don’t feel some type of connection to another person, that’s ok. Not everyone you meet is going to be someone you will or can develop a relationship with. Take the pressure off yourself that you have to get traction with everyone, because it’s not realistic. (Tweet this!)
Tip #6: Give First
All relationships are like a bank account. You must deposit first before you can start drawing out any currency. Do not make demands until you have spent time nurturing the relationship.
Tip #7: Ask a Friend
This is a great Introvert strategy. Ask a friend to bring a friend of theirs to meet up for coffee. Explain that you are expanding your circle and you trust their judgment in people. This strategy gives you a context for talking to them and remains intimate.
As an Introvert, you have to start thinking creatively about how to network without overwhelming yourself. Start with one tip and master that before adding another one. Just realize we don’t all have to do things the same way.
Bonus Tip: Adapting is key to your career survival, growth and advancement. Get Free Instant Access to Video series The 5 Most Common Ways Introverts Commit Career Self-Sabotage and How to Avoid Them. Click here now: www.introvertwhisperer.com/careergoals
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.
What’s one thing you can start doing today to improve your networking? Let us know in the comments!
This article originally appeared at FlexJobs.