"I used to be an introvert." Several people have said that to me in the last few weeks, and the phrase makes me cringe.
First of all, it's not possible to "get over" being an introvert, any more than it's possible to "get over" being right-handed or left-handed.
But second, and most important, introversion isn't an affliction or a disease that you need to get over.
Introversion is an innate preference, an indication of where you get your energy from, and it brings with it some strengths and advantages that introverts can be proud of and extroverts often admire and appreciate.
In a job search, introverts are likely to be able to…
…form strong one-on-one relationships. This is a skill that goes a long way in the job search process, as you demonstrate your ability to connect with people in all of your networking encounters and job interviews.
…provide carefully-thought-out answers. You may need a little extra time to organize your thoughts, but you probably won't put your foot in your mouth or provide a half-baked answer.
…perform appropriate background research about jobs and prospective employers. You can use that information to customize and target your communications to specific opportunities and find areas of common ground with interviewers.
…project a calm manner (even as the job search process raises your anxiety level!) and not appear overly excitable. Being cool in a crisis, or the perception that you can stay on an even keel, is a trait that inspires confidence in others.
…be productive in your search despite the relative isolation of the job search process. You don't need the presence of other people to energize you and keep you focused, and you may actually be better able to concentrate.
And these same characteristics help introverts succeed in their jobs and careers, too.
Both introvert and extrovert personalities bring strengths and challenges to the job search process (the grass isn't greener for extroverts). If you are an introvert, capitalize on your strengths, and be proud of the introvert qualities you have.
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 [email protected]