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Job Networking for Introverts

Even during these tough times, networking continues to be the most successful way to find new employment.  Different studies conflict as to the exact number, but somewhere between 50-80% of job seekers report that it was their networking that helped them land their current position.  This is especially true for professional, leadership, and technical positions.  But what if you just don’t like or can’t network?  This is a common source of fear for many who feel that networking or self-promotion is seedy, sneaky, or just makes them feel uncomfortable asking others to help them find work.  In the December, 2009 issue of Psychology Today, the article “Self-Promote (The Introverts’ Edition)” makes some recommendations from the book “Self Promotion for Introverts”, by Nancy Ancowitz.

They include some of the following ideas:

  • Sell Yourself: Instead of looking at bragging about yourself, see it as finding a link between what you have to offer and what others need. Another way of thinking this is that you are merely letting people know about what you have to offer as an employee.
  • Write: Introverts are more likely to rely on writing. As an expert on a given subject or industry will help you highlight your knowledge and expertise. Blogs, Twitter, Cover Letters, and Thank You Notes are great ways to let people become aware of your achievements, skills, and perspectives.
  • Host: By coordinating an event immediately makes you the “go-to-person”. Charities, government organizations, and community groups are always looking for someone to coordinate an event and this is a great way to quickly expand your reach.
  • Speak Publically: Yes, I realize this is one of the biggest fears people have, but it does give the introvert time to prepare and present in a very organized way which takes the pressure off. An easier type of communication as compared to one-on one-conversations which tend to be more spontaneous.
  • Preparation for Networking Events or Situations: Being well prepared allows you to be more confident when it comes time to act. Write and rehearse opening lines, perhaps based upon the news (please not politically polarized or religious). Keep them open-ended, positive, and simple.
  • Say Hi: Be visible to people around you by regularly exchanging this simple way of connecting. I have to admit, this is my favorite. It’s amazing how much positive “buzz” you get in any environment, by just walking by and saying hello. This is especially good in environments where you frequent like work, church, clubs, or other organizations. It obviously won’t work in places where people don’t know you.

There you have it.  Some simple ways to get your name and face out there instead of being the wall flower.  Remember that networking, like all things, takes practice and will be uncomfortable at first.  Take your time, realize you will make mistakes, and learn from each experience.  Remember the purpose you have in networking and you will likely find yourself having fun at the same time.  Go Get Em.    -Rick Baron

Rick is a Florida-based Human Resources and Career Strategist.  You can find more advice and insights at http://www.rmbaron.com or contact him at rick@rmbaron.net).

Want to make a quick networking move?  Include Rick in your Linkedin Network at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rmhbaron