9 Tips for Navigating a Job Search as an Introvert
The job search process can be an introvert’s worst nightmare. Regardless of the position, candidates are often being evaluated on if they can respond to questions on the fly, how well they navigate conversations and how bubbly and personable they appear during the interview.
Job searching requires candidates to meet new people in new places while discussing new possibilities; all of which can be extremely draining for introverts. So much so that they may even have a slight disadvantage compared to others who thrive in unfamiliar settings with lots of people.
Here are tips for introverts who are trying to land their dream job:
Leverage Your Strengths
Introverts are often labeled as shy, antisocial, awkward and several other not-so-positive adjectives. However, look closer and you’ll find thoughtful, analytical, insightful, empathetic, introspective, observant leaders. But it can be challenging for introverts to outwardly market their skills to employers, so employers might miss out on the great qualities they have to offer.
If you’re an introvert preparing for a job search, set aside time to reflect on your strengths and remind yourself how much you bring to the table. Then practice sharing your skills out loud with a trusted friend so it feels more natural when you share them with employers.
Ace the Resume and Cover Letter
Application materials are an introvert’s time to shine. This is the portion of the job search process that will most likely feel the most natural for an introvert, so don’t waste it! Introverts tend to prefer carefully laying out their thoughts and written materials allow them the opportunity to do just that.
Showcase your personality and strengths as much as possible in your resume and cover letter to pique the employer’s interest and show them all you have to offer in a format that is more comfortable for you as an introvert!
The digital world can be an introvert’s best friend. Platforms like LinkedIn offer opportunities to virtually make connections that are much more appealing to introverts than stuffy and draining in-person networking events, but offer the same amount of career-boosting potential. While it still might feel uncomfortable to reach out to professionals online, having the security of your computer screen allows you to recharge when necessary, carefully type out your responses and pause to process as you go.
Avoid Draining Work
When deciding what jobs to apply for, it’s important for introverts to read job descriptions very carefully. Introverts can feel burnt out from too much external interaction without enough internal recharging time.
So when you’re reviewing job descriptions and notice that one includes extensive team collaboration and social gatherings with very few independent tasks, that might be a good one to move to the “no” pile. Even if you love the purpose of the work or the company, if the daily tasks don’t align well with your personality and strengths, you might feel drained before you even learn everyone’s name.
Do Your Research
Introverts tend to feel more confident when they have time to process and prepare information. When it’s time for interviews, make sure you prioritize researching the company and people you’re interviewing with. And take notes along the way! This will help you start conversations, form excellent interview question responses, and feel equipped for success.
The dreaded interview. Interviewing can pose the biggest challenge for introverts who aren’t very comfortable thinking on their feet, engaging with new people, and being upbeat and energetic for long periods of time. The key to success here is simply to practice.
When you talk through responses and prepare questions and key talking points ahead of time, you won’t feel so pressured to pull composed and professional words out of thin air in a setting that isn’t very comfortable for you. Find lists of common and industry-specific interview questions and write out our responses so you can gather your thoughts. Then practice out loud. Answer questions out loud by yourself in the car, in the shower, or wherever you can. Finally, have a friend or family member ask questions to see where you still might feel unprepared.
Take advantage of every single opportunity to recharge during the job search process. Whether that means blocking off alone time after you have a phone interview or after you reach out to people online or saying yes to every single bathroom break that your interviewer offers you so you can breathe and be alone, frequently building your energy back up will help you go the distance. Take the time, the breaths and the breaks that you need. Your mind and body will thank you!
Assess the Company Culture
Just like introverts should avoid job responsibilities that are draining, the company culture is also important to assess and align with your personality. Observe the culture during interviews and ask these questions if you get a chance:
- What type of workspace will I be in?
- What is the lunchtime culture like? Do people eat together or separately?
- Are there consistent expectations and routines?
- How will I receive feedback?
- How are meetings typically run?
Clarify in the Thank You Note
As a result of focusing more on the social dynamics of interviews, introverts might feel like there are points they missed or didn’t explain well enough. Thank you notes are a great opportunity to clarify those things! Write a short and personalized thank you note to your interviewer within 24 to 48 hours after your interview and briefly explain anything that you feel is necessary now that you’ve had time to process and reflect.
Prepare. Practice. Recharge. Reflect. All of these things can help introverts power through the energy-draining job search process and come out on the other side with all of the information they need (and hopefully, a few job offers) after having impressed employers with their strengths and thoughtfulness!