Introvert’s Guide to Career Success
In the perfect world career success would be logical. Raises, promotions, and job interviews would be based entirely on intellect and experience. Alas, we are humans and not Star Trek’s vulcans. As humans, career success is more often than not a combination of hard facts, personality, and networking.
As introverts, it can be tempting to simply rely on intellect and experience to progress your career, but that would be entering the career arena with a personally inflicted handicap. Why?
Personal relationships built through networking can open new opportunities far more efficiently than digging through job ads. According to NPR article A Successful Job Search: It’s All About Networking, networking is vital because:
- Companies can be flooded with thousands of applications.
- 70% to 80% of jobs aren’t posted online.
- Businesses tend to hire family and friends that they trust if they can.
Introverts, unfortunately, need to pro-actively include networking skills and activity into their daily work life to increase their chances of career success.
Social Media. Social media can be an easier method for introverts to begin the difficult journey of networking in and out of the office. This particular skill and activity don’t require face to face interaction, so it can be a far easier and less stressful means of social interaction.
Minor warning: If your job requires you to build a social media presence, ensure that your employer realizes that you have ownership of the account.
Individuals can begin networking via social media by:
- Regularly posting to one or two social media sites.
- Not just sharing, but engaging in conversations with people online.
- Engaging in Twitter Chats.
- On Twitter tweet utilizing trending hashtags.
- Pinpoint one or two influencers a week you want to begin building a relationship with. Interact with them and share their content.
For more information, you should check out this guide on how to make it big with social media.
Enhance Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence, also known as EI or EQ, is an individual’s ability to:
- Detect and respond to the moods, and motivations of others.
- Realize how your own values, beliefs, and moods are affecting your actions.
Why is EI important? Introverts with a high EI and a low tolerance for interacting with strangers can be just as effective as social butterflies. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s not the frequency, to some extent that you speak to individuals, but the quality of your words.
The good news is if you do have low EI that is a skill you can build. If you’re EI needs work, you can:
- Start to pay attention to the body language, facial expressions, and gestures of others.
- Monitor your own emotions, body language, and facial expressions.
- Reduce your stress.
Jump into Work Activities and Groups. I know, I at least, as an introvert often have a hard time building relationships with one-on-one social interaction. I have found that a willingness to jump onto new teams, new committees, and engage in after work group activities can be a safe way to gradually break the ice with new groups of co-workers.
While working with the same group can be comfortable month after month, continually throwing yourself into new groups allows you to eliminate the stress from approaching new people out of the blue to introduce yourself.
You can utilize this method by:
- Volunteer for or accept requests that you join new teams or projects.
- Apply to new positions or departments within the organization.
- Sign up for after work activities.
- Volunteer to be on work committees.
General Strategies to Interact With Co-Workers. There comes a time where you just need to take a deep breath, take a moment to psych yourself up and begin interacting with co-workers. Social media, high emotional intelligence, and group activities can only take you so far.
Here are some strategies to begin forming relationships with co-workers:
- Keep an eye out for ‘work’ ice breakers. Work related questions, advice, or issues are a great means of naturally introducing yourself to unknown co-workers.
- Use different mediums. No one said all your interaction with co-workers needs to be face to face. You can use any combination of face-to-face, social media, and chat interaction as you build relationships.
- Volunteer to be a mentor or train for new employees.
- Begin to learn how to interact with individuals as a group and during team meetings.
- Do fellow employees a solid. Favors can facilitate stronger ties. Often individuals might feel indebted to you, so they’re more likely to think of you if an opportunity arises.
Very few people succeed professionally alone. Career success, unfortunately, is an equal parts skill and networking. Introverts, while not always naturally inclined to network, need to seriously consider adding networking activities to their daily workflow. You won’t regret it.
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Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleashing your professional potential. Introvert Whisperer