"I don't know that many people," introverts often say, as we defend our reluctance to incorporate networking into our job search campaign.
On closer examination, though, we discover that we know more people than we originally realized, and we really can network more effectively than we might have expected.
Unlike many extroverts, introverts are very selective with regard to the people we consider friends. We use the label "acquaintances" for the many other people in our world, those we don't know all that well, haven't really had a meaningful conversation with. Consequently, we sometimes overlook that larger category of people as appropriate networking contacts.
To effectively network, we need to understand who, exactly, are our acquaintances.
Naturally, friends and family come to mind first as the obvious members of our network. But look beyond that group and you'll find lots of other people.
Here are some to get you started:
And, as you go about your daily life, pay attention to the other people you interact with frequently - more acquaintances who make up your network.
[To expand your network, read How to Meet New People.]
Knowing a lot of people, even somewhat superficially, can lead to valuable networking opportunities. Think about the ways that you can engage with those people and reach out to them. Here are some possibilities:
A reasonable amount of effort can have a large payoff, strengthening and enlarging your network.
Remember that people do business with - and hire - those they know and trust; reconnect with and nurture relationships with the wider array of acquaintances in your world.
Additional advice from Wendy Gelberg to help introverts succeed with their networking, including (from the list on the right):
Wendy Gelberg is a Career Navigator at JVS CareerSolution in Boston and author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career. She is a certified career coach and resume writer whose expertise is in helping people who are uncomfortable "tooting their own horn." Wendy writes resumes, gives workshops, coaches individuals, and writes articles and blogs on all aspects of the job search process. Samples of her resumes and career advice appear in over 20 books. Wendy has been a career coach and resume writer for over 15 years. She has been an introvert her whole life. Contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.