I have the pleasure of working with clients from a multitude of industries, all with their own unique personality types. Some of my clients have expressed to me that they are naturally introverted and believe that when they are interviewing, networking, or contacting employers, they come across as shy or not as confident as they would like.  Some of my clients have even gone so far as to refrain from aggressively seeking opportunities because they were in fact too shy and afraid to leave their comfort zone. Even if you are qualified for a position, if you don’t know when to turn on what I call “the switch” and let the employer know how you will personally bring value to their organization, it will be difficult to obtain your dream job.

One of the most important things a person must know when conducting a job search is what they personally bring to an organization—and they must convey this to the potential employer. If you know what skills you possess and practice telling others about your brand, it will make it easier when the opportunity presents itself with an employer.  This topic is one that is personal to me since I once struggled with networking and knowing how to sale myself.  Naturally, I shy away from the spotlight, but I have learned that inhibition won’t lead to obtaining employment. Being too reserved can come across as a lack of confidence, and that’s the last message you want to send in an interview—so practice is crucial. Go over your self-selling skills with a professional if possible, or rehearse with a friend.

Here are a few tips that helped me overcome my fear of networking, and building key relationships related to obtaining employment.

1.       How Bad Do You Want It?

You must develop a “whatever I want, I will get” attitude. By this I don’t mean doing anything illegal or shady, but you have to have determination; I have always been determined to reach the goals that I set for myself. I quickly learned that being afraid to approach others and reluctant to step outside of my comfort zone would only lead to not reaching my career goals or my full potential. I began to understand that many interviews were obtained through referrals and that meant expanding my network. Even if an interview is secured using traditional methods, it still requires you to tell the employer why you are the ideal candidate. Being an introvert isn’t a negative, it simply means that you draw energy from within. Once you understand who you are and exactly what you offer, with practice, even the most introverted individual can turn on their “switch”. So it goes back to my original question: how bad do you want it?  We all know that it is an employer’s market, hone the characteristics that will set you apart. Relentlessly go after your goals and don’t allow set-backs or misconceived personality traits to stagnate your progress. 

Practice

Getting to know what I was good at and realizing the skills I possessed that would bring value to an organization did not come over night. For me, it took years of working for various organizations before I really knew what I wanted to do. However, this allowed me a lot of time to get better at my craft and to practice networking and interviewing. I practiced with friends, family, professionals, and even on actual interviews. The more I practiced and actually took the time to understand what I had to offer and what companies were looking for in potential employees, I grew better at marketing myself and became more comfortable speaking with employers. Many people will tell you to develop an elevator pitch which can be useful when telling people about yourself. However, I tend to stick with knowing the basics of who I am as well as what I have to offer so I don’t sound boring or programmed. In all things, I prefer to be natural and authentic. Just because you are an introvert does not mean you are not confident. If you are not naturally an outgoing person, you need to distinguish your brand and practice telling others about what you have to offer so that when the occasion arises you will be more than ready.