3 Networking Questions For Shy & Introverted Job Seekers, Part 1

Question 1 — Why do career advisers spend so much time talking about networking?
Because networking is more likely to get you good job leads than applying for a bunch of openings online. Whether you are actively job searching or employed and looking to advance your career, expanding your Professional Community is key to helping you find opportunities that match your goals.

Question 2 — Isn’t “introvert” just another way of saying “I’m shy?
No! And as an introvert and a formerly shy person, that assumption annoys the heck out of me. For a very long time I thought that my nervousness and fear of people was just a part of me, and I’d never get over it. The truth is, being shy or having social anxiety can be overcome … but that’s another blog for another day. 🙂

Introversion, however, does not change — nor should you want it to. I was born an introvert, I’ll die an introvert. I would tell everyone I know about my Introvert Pride, but that would go against my nature.

Introversion is one of the personality preferences used in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introversion and extroversion refer to how people get and direct their energy.

According to the surprisingly-accurate-for-a-free-assessment-site, PersonalityType.com

“Extroverts’ energy is directed primarily outward, towards people and things outside of themselves. Introverts’ energy is primarily directed inward, towards their own thoughts, perceptions, and reactions. Therefore, Extroverts tend to be more naturally active, expressive, social, and interested in many things, whereas Introverts tend to be more reserved, private, cautious, and interested in fewer interactions, but with greater depth and focus.”

It’s not an either/or sort of thing; every one of us fall somewhere along the extroversion/introversion spectrum. Here’s any easy way to find if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert:

It’s Thursday evening. You have worked full time and are tired. You are so worn out that you’d like to call in sick tomorrow, but you can’t. How will you “recharge your battery” tonight? Would you rather stay at home and chill out with a good book or your favorite TV show, talking to no one except a few short conversations with your family? Or would you rather call a few friends and go out for dinner so you can talk about what’s happening at work?

If staying at home alone after a full day sounds dull and confining, you might be an extrovert. If the thought of socializing and having to be “on” when you are already tired sound like your idea of hell, you are probably an introvert.

Both the Myers-Brigs Foundation and PersonalityType.com can explain introversion and extroversion a lot better than I.

Question 3: So, Why do introverts have trouble networking and what can they do about it?

Originally published July 2009

10 thoughts on “3 Networking Questions For Shy & Introverted Job Seekers, Part 1

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  4. Denise, thank you for adding your voice and some additional clarity to the discussion about introversion/extroversion. As you said, Introversion and shy are not the same thing (although to an outsider looking in, the behavior sometimes looks similar, as both the shy person and the introvert may sometimes retreat from more social activities). And I’m glad you pointed out that there’s no reason to want to change, if you’re an introvert. It’s a lot like being right- or left-handed. Neither is right or wrong. And there are advantages and disadvantages to both (just ask tennis players how challenging it is to play against a lefty!). As Pat noted, we use both sides of our personalities, just as we use both hands in many activities, even though one side is dominant. So it’s good advice to appreciate and celebrate your authentic personality and learn to capitalize on your strengths.

  5. This is a wonderfully simple explanation of the introverting/extroverting spectrum.

    It’s also worth noting that we all introvert and extrovert all day long – we just have tended over the years, since Jung identified i/e as personality types, to only use it as a verb.

    But take your Job Seeking context:

    an introverting part is – researching jobs that are in demand
    an extroverting part is – being in the interview

    an introverting part is – writing a follow-up thank you note
    an extroverting part is – continuing to network for more job opps.

    You can take any job or pursuit and you will find people have preferences – they either like the introverting parts or extroverting parts and that is BECAUSE we are born with a hard-wired brain to predispose us toward one or the other. And we’re going to go with the ones that energize us, fuel us, give us our stamina.

    Again, thanks for the post Denise.

    Patricia Weber
    Blogging Business Sales Ideas for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant

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