Search Results for: introvert

Climbing the Corporate Ladder When You’re Shy and Introverted

corporate ladder getting a promotion when shy or introvertedIt’s hard enough to find a job when you’re shy, but it can seem just as hard to become a team player within a group of strangers you’ve just met and position yourself to move up into management.
Here’s how you can overcome being just shy of a promotion.

Talk Big About Your Co-Workers
Introverts internalize all of the information that’s given to them, from casual conversation or presentations, to internet research and books. While introverts don’t have to be shy, it can be very easy for them to constantly think about how the outside world correlates with them, instead of how the outside world correlates with itself. Take some time to step back and acknowledge your co-workers’ achievements. Colleagues love a sincere pat on the back, an email full of kudos, or a card with congratulations. Management will see that you’re a team player with eyes on the company’s goals.

Shy workers may feel like sleazy used car salesmen when dishing out random compliments, but there’s a great way for you to give sincere acclaim while giving yourself a little credit too. If working on a project and a team member goes above and beyond the call of duty, tell your boss, “I couldn’t have done the project without (co-worker’s name). He/she made things so much easier for me.”

Tell Your Boss How You’re Doing, Really
We have a culture of asking the obligatory “how are you?” question when first talking to other people. Most of the time, we don’t really mean it since it’s just a formality. This is a perfect opportunity for you to self-promote. Next time your boss walks by and says “what’s up?” or “how are you?” instead of being unprepared and saying “not much” or “good” make it an opportunity to talk about the progress of your latest project or of a recent accomplishment.

If randomly bringing it up feels too awkward and sales-pitchy, you can wait for more opportune times when it’s ok to talk about yourself. Wait until you have your annual review with your boss and present a list of all your accomplishments and achievements you made during the year. If presented in a structured and thought-out manner, it can make a good impression on your supervisor.

Just Say it
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and speak your mind. While it’s good to be cautious of what you say and self-censorship can be a useful skill, for those who are shy, it can be a hindrance. Shy workers can kill their own best ideas because they’re too self-critical. Rather than getting held back by negative thoughts, focus on what co-workers and managers are saying, then use that as a basis to elaborate. When you stop focusing on yourself and instead focus on the ideas being presented, you start to brainstorm and provide valuable input for your employer.

Building relationships and getting noticed by management doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time to build trust and demonstrate how valuable you are to your employer. Luckily for us introverts, our strongest abilities are patience and planning, which can give us an advantage when the word “promotion” starts floating around the workplace. What are some tricks you’ve used to help step outside of your comfort zone while at work?

Interviewing for the Shy and Introverted

Shy introvert waiting for interviewThroughout the year, we’ve covered different aspects of the job search through the eyes of job seekers who are introverted and shy. From networking to searching, there are strategies and methods to help bring out the talents and strengths introverts have.

One aspect of the job search that can be the most dreaded for shy job seekers and the most draining for the introverted seeker is the interview. Taking 30 minutes or more to be asked questions, talking about yourself, and trying to promote how much better your skills and accomplishments are than the competition can be enough to make anyone shudder in terror. But, take confidence in knowing that introverted and shy job seekers can shine their brightest during the interview.

Embrace Your Inner Strengths
Outgoing and assertive job seekers may seem like they’re the total package, but the more internal and quiet job seekers have talents that are just as appealing to employers, especially in an interview. Introverts often give deeper and better answers to interview questions because they tend to be better listeners and observers. Instead of rattling off the first thing that comes to mind, you can internalize the answer and insight into situations and people that the extroverts don’t catch, which boosts your presentation.

Make a List and Check it Twice
It’s important to make a checklist of everything you need to have and do when interviewing. Having it written down will keep you focused without wasting time and energy storing it all in your head.

Make sure you have your clothes, résumé, company fact sheet, route to the interview, parking spot, and traffic and travel time ready. You’ll want to leave nothing to chance so you don’t have to rush. Feeling rushed can make an introverted person lose valuable energy quickly, or cause a shy person to stumble on their confidence.

Keep Expectations Reasonable
Shy people tend to put too much pressure on themselves when doing activities or actions most consider routine or normal. When it comes to an interview, especially for a highly desirable job, it’s easy for someone who’s introverted or shy to have a “do or die” mentality. Introverts can stop listening and focus more on trying to guess what the interviewer wants to hear instead of the honest answer. You’re trying to see if the employer is a good match for you, not get an instant job offer after every interview.

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Extroverts are generally more confident when they are out of their comfort zones. Confidence is a huge issue with shy job seekers and the insecurity can make your body language appear standoffish and cold.  Next time, take a good friend out to breakfast or lunch before the interview and then hang out after. Having someone providing encouragement can go a long way in helping you keep your nerves from fraying.

Out-Prepare Your Competition
A shy job seeker’s self-consciousness is often their downfall. One of the best ways to build confidence is to practice interview questions. There are several resources full of different questions that can help you prepare. Figure out answers that fit your goals, in your voice, and put them on note cards to help you remember and practice. It may feel silly, but knowing the material helps calm introverted and shy job seekers and helps you sound better than anyone else who could be winging it.

There is interview success for shy and introverted job seekers. What are some ways you have built your confidence or displayed your strengths as an introvert when interviewing?

Trying to Find a Job When You’re Shy or Introverted

Introvert_feb2012_webLast month, I posted a blog about networking for the shy and introverted. It seemed to strike a chord with several readers, and I’ve received many requests for further information and advice on different aspects of the job search for the shy or introverted job seeker.

Luckily for us introverts and shy people, those who aren’t afraid to or find energy in  getting themselves in the spotlight tend to create their own clutter and static out of their own messages. That’s when we use our greatest strengths: our patience and brains. Here are some ways you can use your shyness or introversion as an advantage when looking for a job.

Blame Is Not a Game

First things first; don’t blame yourself. If you are introverted, you are normal. There is nothing wrong with you, so don’t use it as a crutch. For many people, it’s easy to say, “I won’t go there today. My energy level is a little low and I just don’t think I can make it the whole time.” It’s time to stop blaming your condition and use it to your advantage.

For those who are shy, it’s much easier to blame any social shortcomings on their shyness. Like any skill, finding jobs and following up after sending a résumé will get better over time. It’ll be difficult, but you won’t succeed at all if you keep telling yourself, “I can’t. I’m too shy.”

Have a Plan, Stan

Introverts generally have acute attention to detail. Those details can help you make a more efficient job search. Go the extra mile and find the hiring manager at a prospective employer and do some research on this person before calling the employer at random. You will become a strong, valid, and desirable candidate when you appear prepared and interested, just by using your strengths.

It’s important for shy job seekers to be prepared. Being ready can give you the boost you need to go out on a limb when finding a job. This means breaking out of your comfort zone and asking others for input. Shy people tend to be more self-critical than others, so having second or third opinions can give you an idea of what really works and a boost of moral support.

Write With Might

A friend once told me, “Writing is something for shy people who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while telling it.” Those who are introverted are often good writers. This is where the power of social media can play to our strengths. 

Try starting your own blog about your industry. You can get your thoughts and opinions out if you are a better writer than speaker, and you can use it to connect with other industry-related bloggers who can help you with your career.

You can also engage with specific people who can help you find a job instead of building a large personal brand following. Find someone who works for an employer you are interested in and start a conversation.

Some of the most influential people in history have been introverted and dealt with shyness every day, like Steve Martin, Albert Einstein, Julia Roberts. Even Thomas Jefferson, was said to have only spoken publicly during his presidency at his inauguration and while delivering legislative proposals. Don’t let the grandeur and flare of extroverts get you down. What issues of introversion and shyness have you dealt with and used it as a strength?

Job Hunting for the Shy and Introverted: Networking

Shynetworking_jan2012_webThe outgoing and extroverted population dominates U.S. society. While various studies show different numbers, introverts in America average about 25%. Businesses are run on relationships and trying to find a job on your own can be difficult because employers tend to hire those they trust instead of taking a risk with a relative stranger. Just because you’re intimidated by the prospect of interacting with large groups of strangers or find long periods of small talk exhausting doesn’t mean you have to be at a disadvantage at finding a job. Here are some helpful hints to better understand yourself and use your strengths as a shy or introverted person to connect with others.

There’s a Difference

There is a difference between being shy and being introverted. Shyness is the fear, discomfort, or awkwardness experienced when a person is near, approaching, or being approached by other people. Introversion is a matter of energy. An introvert internalizes and processes everything around them in greater detail than extroverts, so social activities and busy schedules can greatly drain introverts. There are many different degrees and types of shyness and introversion. To many, these traits can appear to overlap, but they require different approaches when it comes to networking.

There’s a Time

For introverts, time management is key, because you shouldn’t treat networking like a marathon. Know what time of day you feel most energetic and upbeat, and schedule your networking interactions around that time of day. If you are going to a meeting or social event with several people, clear out time before and after the event to keep your energy levels up. Try relaxing on your favorite couch and listening to music, or visiting a quiet museum that’s nearby after the job fair.

For the shy person, being ready to boost confidence is crucial. Practice your elevator pitch, develop talking points, or practice with others so you can feel confident meeting with others or going to an event. Planning ahead of time will let you go at your own pace and help you move out of your comfort zone with ease.

There’s a Place

Where you choose to network can make a big impact on your networking success. For those with a more extreme case of introversion, consider making small, intimate encounters with individuals of interest instead of trying to meet as many people as you can at a seminar. It’s about making a few solid relationships and avoid thinking you have to connect with everybody. If you’re going to an event, show up early before crowds arrive to help manage your energy. This will help you meet and get to know individuals instead of trying to mingle your way into a small group or conversation.

For the shy job seeker, make a list of professionals, influencers, and peers who you feel would be great sources during your job search. Next, list them in order of difficulty to meet outside your comfort zone. When prepared and ready, you can slowly work your way from the easiest to hardest. You’ll realize most people in your desired profession enjoy helping others and are flattered when someone is interested in them and their job.

If shy job seekers attend group events, it may seem impossible to approach a circle of people talking and force yourself into that conversation. Try going around the direct method by asking the host or organizer to introduce you to people. If you know someone you’d like to speak to is attending an event, contact him or her ahead of time. If you can, bring a friend with you to the events so you can have a sense of comfort and familiarity, and someone who can encourage you to meet others.

There’s an Advantage

Whether you’re shy, introverted, or both, you have an advantage when interacting with people: listening. Use your listening talents to engage others in conversation and identify their needs. You’ll be surprised how many of the fast talking, super outgoing extroverts you meet love having someone who will just listen to them. Your listening and loyalty to their conversation can help build relationships faster.  You can then find commonalities to later follow up with to keep the relationship going.

There is nothing wrong with if you prefer to spend a quiet night curled up with a book and music. You have a long list of skills and talents that are valuable and needed at the workplace. If you are shy or introverted, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your perspective when looking for a job.

Interviews and Your Personality Type

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

We’ve all heard it before. Be assertive and social in an interview. Show that you want the job and are easy to talk to. You want to show how great it would be to work with you, and how valuable your sense of teamwork is.

However, what do you do if you’re an introvert? You would love to come off as talkative and social, but that’s just not who you are.

It turns out that your personality type heavily affects how you approach an interview. You want to cater to your strengths and cover your weaknesses. As such, introverts and extroverts both need to approach interviews differently.

Introverts

An introvert, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “one whose personality is characterized by introversion; broadly: a reserved or shy person.”

An introvert doesn’t hate people—he or she just doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone, and sometimes can only handle social situations for a short amount of time.

How are you supposed to act in an interview? By focusing on your goals and preparing. Most introverts are critical thinkers—they spend more time alone, and thus more time in their own mind. Use this time to anticipate all the questions an interviewer might ask, and to develop an action plan. If improvising in the moment isn’t your strength, simply prepare a suitable response for every possible situation.

In the actual interview, rely on your preparation. If a question comes up you didn’t prepare for, don’t be afraid to ask for a moment to reflect on the question. An interview is not a race—you don’t have to answer as quickly as possible to show you’re the right person for the job.

Extroverts

Merriam-Webster notes that an extrovert is “one whose personality is characterized by extroversion; broadly: a gregarious and unreserved person.” So, someone who likes to talk, and isn’t afraid to state their opinion. Although it might seem like interviews would be a breeze for people like this, that’s not always the case.

Extroverted applicants need to be especially wary of oversharing or taking over the interview. Your answer to a question should never exceed three minutes. When asked about your overall experience and interest in the job, have a prepared speech planned. Standard questions (where do you see yourself in (blank) years, tell me about a time….), should be answered in 90 seconds or less.

Be aware of body language and the personality type of your interviewer. If your answers and their questions are flowing rhythmically, you’re probably dealing with another extrovert. That’s more in your wheelhouse. However, if they’re taking a bit of time to process your answers and taking detailed notes, you might be dealing with an introvert. Take that to heart, and consider your words more carefully. Speak slowly and succinctly. Give them time to process what you’re saying. Know when to speak, and when not to.

It’s important to note that your personality type lies on a spectrum. Some people are extroverted introverts, while others are introverted extroverts. Know yourself, and adapt your own unique personality to the interview process.

How has your personality type affected your interview style? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Should You Quit Your Full-Time Job?

Is the gig economy right for you?

Close-up of business people hands shakingWhen you’re working full-time in a position that isn’t your favorite, it can be tempting to take on a short-term contract job that pays more than what you’re currently making. The same thing applies to those who are fed up with the gig economy and want to try out full-time stability. But each type of work comes with its own set of challenges. The perfect choice for you depends on your personality and current economic situation.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key pros and cons of gig work (aka contract work). Tune in next month to see what we have to say about full-time work!

Contract Labor

Pros

1.       Flexibility

Contract work doesn’t lock you into a company long-term. It provides the freedom to try a company and a career on a trial basis. Maybe you find out customer service isn’t your thing, or maybe a family-owned company is too small for you. Instead of being trapped in a full-time job, you’re free to try something else as soon as your contract ends.

2.       Less Cultural Pressure

When you’re in it for the long haul, you need to forge relationships and ingrain yourself in the company culture in order to be successful. Otherwise you’ll be seen as a loner, and will most likely not progress.

Although being a contract worker does not give you the right to be apathetic or rude to co-workers, it does allow for a bit of freedom from the hustle and bustle of the office. You can limit your socialization to contacts needed to perform your job, since you won’t be there forever.

You’re also already seen as a bit of an outsider, which allows you to set yourself up as an observer. Introverted or just not into socializing? Contract work can help you gain valuable skills without the need to build a “work family.”

3.       Gain a Wide Skillset

Becoming a member of the gig economy means setting your own career goals. Decide what you want to learn on your schedule. Think of it as a continuing education—each job is like a class, where you are free to learn new and interesting skills from a wide variety of disciplines. One day you might be learning an in-demand website building program, the next how to excel in Microsoft Excel.

Cons

1.       Can Be Difficult to Set a Career Path

When you’re constantly doing contract work, there’s no prototype career path to follow. You won’t get quality of living raises or promotions. The burden is on you to figure out what your ultimate goal is, and work different jobs towards that goal.

Not setting an end goal puts you at risk of floundering from job to job, staying stagnant in your skillset. If you keep taking the same type of job and aren’t being challenged anymore, it may be time to make a change.

2.       You Might Feel Like the “Other”

As a contract worker, you may sometimes feel left out of office situations or events. This can be great if you like your space, but awkward if you’re a more social person. Usually it’s nothing personal—there may be various laws or regulations that prevent the company from letting you come on certain business trips, for example.

Other times your co-workers may not take the time to get to know you purely because they know you won’t be there very long. Again, it isn’t anything personal—you just might not be there long enough for them to get close to you.

3.       Lack of Stability

In order to have a dependable source of income, you need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to contract work. Since you don’t know in advance where your next job is coming from, you should get in touch with your contacts or recruiter about six weeks before a job ends. Otherwise there may be periods of unemployment between jobs. Meaning contract work might not be the best choice for those with families to support.

Contract work also necessitates finding your own insurance and retirement account, as those will not be offered by companies. You will also miss out on other potential company perks such as profit-sharing or paid childcare. And if you’re ever let go, there won’t necessarily (depending on the contract) be unemployment to fall back on.

So, who is gig work best for? Someone who wants to explore what’s out there without being tied down. Someone who isn’t always looking for their next raise or a chance to climb through the ranks of a company. Or even someone in the military whose spouse could move at a moment’s notice. Basically, someone who wants the flexibility to do what they want or try jobs on a trial basis at the cost of job stability.

Have any opinions on gig work? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Climb the Ladder: 5 Ways to Get That Promotion in 2017

ThinkstockPhotos-120488598Earlier this month, we published a post revealing what our readers predict the job market holds in store for the coming year. For the most part, responses were optimistic with 28% of respondents predicting that the job market will improve and they “will definitely get a job offer or a promotion in 2017.” So we thought we’d offer a few suggestions to snag a promotion and climb the company ladder in the coming year.

Be Dependable

This one seems obvious, but a lack of dependability is one of the top complaints of many bosses. So show up on time. Call or text if you realize you’re going to be delayed. If you’re too sick to make it to work, give the boss as much advance notice as possible so he or she can make arrangements to cover your absence. Complete your assignments and tasks on time. Don’t schedule personal days during particularly busy times or in the middle of time-sensitive projects. Want to really make a positive impression? Be the go-to person for your boss or supervisor. Volunteer to take on additional responsibilities.

Be Coachable

Learn from the wisdom of people who have “been there, done that.” A good coach dispenses guidance and feedback to help you improve, not to ridicule you and point out your flaws. Condition yourself to accept constructive criticism, and don’t take it personally. Make it your goal to become a better listener. When someone gives you instruction or advice, give your full, undivided attention. Don’t try to formulate your response until the person speaking finishes their thought and you’ve taken a moment to process the information. Ask follow-up questions to show that you understand and to clarify anything that may be unclear. Seek advice and guidance from trusted sources. Learn more about being coachable here.

Think Like a Boss

While you’re on the job, take on a corporate mindset. Consider how your job fits in to the big picture. How does what you and your department do affect the other employees and departments in your organization? Be proactive. Try to anticipate situations that may affect your job or department. Be mindful of when particularly busy periods occur in your workplace and recognize the challenges that come along with it. You don’t have to be the first person to raise your hand when the boss needs someone to work an overtime shift, but at least you won’t be surprised when she asks.

Speak Up

Voicing your opinion shows your boss and co-workers that you’re engaged and interested in solving problems. There are many reasons people are reluctant to make their voices heard. Maybe you’re an introvert or you’re afraid your ideas will be rejected. Whatever the reason, if speaking in front of a group stresses you out, you’re not alone. When it comes to gaining self-assurance, remember to project confidence, make eye contact, and keep your comments short and to the point. Read these tips for building your speaking muscle.

Read More

First, learn everything you can about the company you work for. Hopefully your employer has a website. Refresh your memory by reading the About Us section to brush up on company history, their mission statement, and corporate leaders. Be aware of the products and services your employer provides and of the types of customers your company serves. Second, keep up with the news and trends that affect your line of work. Read books, blogs, and websites that focus on your industry or business. The ability to intelligently discuss the state of your business or industry will definitely set you apart from the competition.

How will you stand out in the coming year? Do you have any tips or secrets for rising above the rest? Tell us in the comments section below.