Ten Job-Seeking Tips for Introverts
Dr. Katharine Brooks
June 28, 2010
In my previous post, I discussed the challenges for shy (or introverted) people in the job market. I offered some general advice, but in this post I’d like to highlight ten things you can do (or think about) that might give you the edge in the very situations you prefer to avoid.
1. First, stop apologizing for what being who you are. Work with it— find your strengths and get to know them so well that they are all you think of when you are in the interview. You may never be comfortable in certain settings— but you can learn to function well in them, and then you can go home where you are comfortable. A small amount of discomfort and pain and “faking it” can go a long way. You are who you are— which means you are talented in a lot of areas and you can learn to extravert yourself when needed.
2. Don’t defeat yourself or argue for your limitations. Introverts can be particularly hard on themselves, analyzing every moment, being too sensitive to “mistakes” they might have made, etc., all due to being self-conscious when on public display. And unfortunately, unless you’re at home you probably feel like you’re on some form of “public display.” In his excellent book “Feeling Good” (which I highly recommend) Dr. David Burns warns about being a “mind-reader” or a “fortune-teller”— guessing what people are thinking and/or presuming we know how something will turn out. Remember, when you live inside your head, your head is the only information you’re getting— and it can be wrong. As Dr. Burns says, just because you feel something, doesn’t make it true. Or as Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as THEY are; we see things as WE are.”
So after an interview, networking event, or any other extroverted activity don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t over-analyze your situation and hyper-focus on those moments that make you cringe.
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Featured Author: Dr. Katharine Brooks
Dr. Katharine S. Brooks is the Director of Career Services for the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas in Austin, where she also teaches courses focusing on the connection between a liberal arts education and the workplace. She is a licensed and certified counselor, and is the creator of the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Career Coaching Intensives, highly successful sold-out training sessions for college career counselors. She has been in the career services field for over twenty years, is the author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career and writes a blog, “Career Transitions”, for Psychology Today. Brooks has a doctorate in educational psychology and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from West Virginia University. Her bachelor’s degree is in sociology and anthropology from Gettysburg College.