I connected with Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D., the author of a wonderful book called The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength.
We met on Twitter, spoke on the phone, and subsequently met in person. The principles in her book focus on succeeding in an extroverted business world, but they apply just as effectively to the process of finding and landing a job.
This article is my adaptation of her "4 P's Process" to the job hunt.
The 4 P's Process contains four components that enable introverts to improve performance on the job and in the job search. Here's how it works.
Preparation means having a strategy and a plan, and it provides the solid footing that can boost an introvert's confidence. For example:
It's easy as an introvert to get lost in your own thoughts. Being "present" means being in the moment, being focused on what's going on around you - in other words, focusing on the outside world. Doing so enables you to connect with others - which is a key part of the hiring process - and to share with others some of your internal activity that they're not aware of.
In those moments during a job search that stir up some nervous energy, such as a job interview or a networking encounter, focusing outwardly decreases the anxiety.
Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. This doesn't mean you should be something you're not. (The message applies to extroverts, too.)
You'll be more successful in both professional and personal endeavors if you are able to more fully develop the skills that don't come most easily to you. Having the versatility to select the skills that are most effective for a given situation simply gives you more tools in your toolbox.
Not only does repetition improve your skills, it also reduces the anxiety associated with activities that feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Using the 4 P's Process can help you capitalize on your strengths while building those "muscles" that are less well developed. As you continue to master those skills, your confidence will grow, along with your effectiveness.
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., is a workplace and careers expert and author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength (Berrett-Koehler, $19.95). Founder and president of AboutYOU, Inc., an Atlanta-based leadership consultancy, she is an executive coach and corporate speaker. Contact her on the Web at AboutYouInc.com and JenniferKahnweiler.com.
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.