“Hey everyone! I’m out of a job! Let me know of any opportunities you think would be a perfect fit for a super-fantastic employee like me!”
Imagine that post on Facebook. Is your introvert skin crawling yet?
Introverts may not want to announce their unemployment to the whole world, and they don’t tend to love traditional networking. Guess what though? Job searches require networking and telling others you’re in the market for a new job. But never fear, introverts. We spoke to Mary Faulkner, an HR expert, public speaker and self-identified introvert, about how introverts can find a great job, even when the process is daunting. She has some great tips.
The First Steps
Many introverts like to have a plan. Start your job search from a place where you feel in control. To accomplish this, Faulkner suggests making sure you have all your other business taken care of. Steps will vary depending on how you left your last position, but here are some basics: Apply for unemployment. Make sure your severance is all lined up. Update your résumé.
Next Faulkner recommends some introspection. Why did you leave the last job? What conditions led to your layoff or separation? “Be clear on what you absolutely will not do, but be open to most everything else. Don’t write off an employer or position too quickly,” she says.
Then, get to work. Faulkner suggests you treat your search like a job. She says she used to go to Panera every morning, get some coffee and spend four hours searching for jobs, working on her résumé and writing cover letters. And it worked.
A 3-Pronged Approach to Networking
If you left your job willingly, by all means, announce it everywhere. If you didn’t leave willingly, haven’t left yet and need to be discreet, or just aren’t one for big announcements, Faulkner says you will need to embrace every introvert’s biggest nightmare: networking. She recommends a three-pronged approach:
Your Existing Network:
- Tell a few core people about your job search and ask them for help.
- Ask a mentor or trusted associate to review your résumé and cover letters.
- Go to professional events that you know are job-seeker friendly. Pick up applications or leave your résumé with others.
- When people ask what you do, mention your job search but try not to sound desperate, Faulkner says.
- “Offer to help others before asking for any favors or connections yourself,” she says. Show your value and they’ll be more likely to help you later.
- Faulkner isn’t one for a lot of online connections. If she likes a particular company, she’ll search LinkedIn for someone she knows there who can make an introduction and will reach out to them via email, but that’s about it.
The Dreaded Phone Screening
An initial phone interview before a person-to-person interview is commonplace. Faulkner recommends you take the call in a spot where you have access to Wi-Fi so you can have the company page open online. Also have handy the job posting (copied and pasted earlier in case the company took it down) and a copy of your résumé.
In addition, interviews typically have some classic questions, so make sure to practice your answers to lessen nerves, she says. Some classics include:
- “Walk me through your résumé and tell me about your background.”
- “What do you know about the company?”
- “What caught your eye about this job posting?”
“Make sure to ask your interviewer some questions too,” Faulkner says. Ask why they joined the company or why they stayed. “The recruiter will remember you reached out and made a personal connection with them,” she says.
Interviews for Introverts
Interviews can be exhausting for introverts. It’s a new situation with new people and you are literally being judged. Fortunately, it probably won’t be as bad as you think and you can position your reserved nature as a plus, like Faulkner does.
While she doesn’t go out of her way to highlight her introversion in interviews, if asked, she can make it known and position it positively. When asked about her work-style preferences, for example, she’ll say something like “I think a team works best when everyone gets together, understands the goals, expectations are set and then they break away to work and come back together to see where we are. I need time to process things, but you’ll get a great, focused response once I’m done thinking,” she says.
Also, depending on the workplace and level of the job, you may encounter different types of interviews, some lasting an entire day or more. At Faulkner’s office they frequently conduct panel interviews to reduce both number of interviews and unconscious bias. They alert people to this fact beforehand so they can steel themselves and prepare.
And no matter what, she recommends taking some down time after it’s over to recharge. “You won’t get the job without the interview, so just press onward and recharge after,” she says.
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