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Overcome Shyness During Your Job Hunt

Overcome Shyness During Your Job Hunt

Social skills can be taught, according to Brooks

Dr. Katharine Brooks | Career Transitions

June 28, 2010

How might introversion hold you back?

•Do you avoid certain types of social situations?

•Are you more likely to avoid phone calls?

•Do you feel awkward at parties or other gatherings?

On the other hand, where does your introversion work well for you?

•What are your hidden strengths?

•Are you a good listener?

•Do you observe and analyze people and situations well?

•Are you thoughtful and careful in decision-making?

•Are you a good writer?

Know your strengths and play to them in the job search. If you’re a great writer, then craft a resume and cover letter that will get you the interview. If you don’t enjoy using the phone, focus on emails for communicating. But keep practicing those phone skills— you’ll need them for a phone interview.

Be prepared to tell the employer your strengths. You will feel like you’re bragging— but if you don’t, who will?

Tell the employer the aspects of the job you will excel in. Introverts sometimes assume that people know what they’re thinking or how they feel, so don’t make that assumption. Interviewers don’t know unless you tell them.

You’ll notice I haven’t given you a list of “careers for introverts.” (Well, OK, here’s one.) While on the surface, certain career fields lend themselves to introversion, it never hurts to try playing against type— you never know what talents you might find in yourself. Common sense would say that an introvert shouldn’t go into sales— but that’s not always true. An introverted salesperson might have to overcome some initial discomfort around that cold call or first meeting, but might also be very good at listening to the customer and building up the one-on-one relationship that will ultimately lead to long-term sales. Not all customers want an extraverted salesperson and might actually be more comfortable with the soft-sell approach.

Challenging yourself to take on some extroverted traits in the job search may actually open new doors to skills you didn’t know you possessed and maybe even lead to careers you would never have considered.

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