By Larry Alton
Searching for a job in the competitive IT industry is difficult enough. Couple the stress of a job search with the challenges of being an introvert and you’ve got a nerve-wracking combination that leaves many feeling helpless and discouraged. The good news is that with a little coaching and attention to detail, even classic introverts can land the job of their dreams.
There’s a myth that only a small percentage of the population is introverted, when in fact, some research shows that up to half of the U.S. population is introverted. Since extroverted people get most of the attention, it’s easy to feel as if you’re an introvert living in an extrovert’s world.
Once you throw out this myth and begin operating under the premise that your introverted personality is in the mainstream, you’re free to proceed with confidence.
Here are some tips that will help you master the job search process and land the job you’ve always wanted.
1. Get to know yourself.
In order to be successful in a job search, you have to sell yourself. And in order to sell yourself, you have to know who you are and what strengths and weaknesses you possess. If it helps, you can make a list and spend some time writing down words that describe you. Go ahead and ask a close friend for some descriptors, too.
If you’re looking for a more formal exercise, try conducting a “personal SWOT analysis.” While typically used to examine businesses, this framework can help you better understand what you bring to the table in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once you’re aware of these factors, you’ll understand how to present yourself in an advantageous manner.
2. Leverage your online network.
As an introvert, your best networking may happen online. Don’t be afraid to look into this network and use it to your advantage. LinkedIn is one platform to focus on. Here are some pointers:
Treat your profile as a sort of personal billboard. It’s a visual representation of who you are and should come across as professional and approachable.
Join some groups that are related to your niche and become a regular contributor. This is one of the quickest ways to get your name out there.
Never spam people just for the sake of forming a new connection. If you’re going to message someone you don’t know, make sure you convey a clear purpose behind why you’re reaching out to them.
The more you use LinkedIn, the more you’ll get comfortable with it. Study what other successful professionals are doing and find ways to elevate your name.
3. Use your listening skills.
As an introvert, you’re probably a stronger listener than a speaker. This is actually a good thing when navigating through the application and interview processes. Carefully listen to all prompts and instructions and show prospective employers that you’re someone they can depend on.
4. Master your elevator pitch.
The job search doesn’t just happen within the context of applications, emails and interviews. Sometimes your best opportunities are the ones that pop up right in front of you and force a response. That’s why you need to have an elevator pitch ready to go.
A quick 30-60 second elevator pitch about your job search, what you’re looking for, and why you’re qualified for the position you’re seeking can go a long way toward making you look prepared and confident. This website has some good examples that can help you formulate your own pitch. Study the concepts they use and figure out how you can craft your own.
5. Create a game plan.
Whereas extroverts often thrive on being put in social situations and can think on their feet, introverts use a lot of their energy just putting themselves in social settings. In order to be prepared, you need to create a plan of action.
The good news is that introverts often thrive in the IT world. Most tech jobs require analytical thinking, good listening and comprehension skills, and one-on-one interactions. Get to know your talents and skills and use them accordingly as you progress in your career.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of online media outlets and news sources.