Saturday, July 27, 2013

Introverts Excel at 10 Steps of Job Search Planning

Many introverts and shy people excel at organizing and planning. These activities take time, careful thought, solitude, and diligence. Some extroverts have a difficult time staying quiet long enough to create a plan and to organize a complex project.

So when it comes to developing a strategy for an effective job hunt, introverts have the advantage (again!).

Shy Job Seeker Blog: Introverts Excel at Job Search Planning
Plan your job search
for optimum success.

l0 Steps for Effective Job Search Planning

Here are the key parts of an effective employment search:
  1. Identify what you are good at and target what you want to do. Don't mold yourself to the opportunity. Reflect on your strengths, on how they can help employers, and on which jobs match your skills.
  2. Identify employers for which you'd like to work. Research organizations and companies that share your values, that offer work settings and schedules that suit your needs, and that provide opportunities for people with your background.
  3. Connect with people who can introduce you to employers. It's much easier to get organizations interested in you if a current employee or other contact recommends you. Now don't break out in a sweat when I use the word "networking." Just search for contacts on LinkedIn and talk with people you know--everyone from your neighbors to your minister to your hair stylist. Ask who they know at the company. You can also contact employers of interest directly by email or call them on a day when you're feeling braver than usual.
  4. Develop a resume and cover letter that appeal directly to the employer's needs and that explain how you can meet those needs. Notice this step is number 4 in the process. Most people start with a resume. But you can waste lots of time writing a resume that doesn't target any employer or job in particular. You are better off writing your resume to your desired job and company. If you do it right, you may need to only write your job search material once. Really!
  5. Request an interview. You can request an interview via email, but making the request by talking to someone is best if you can muster the courage. Make your request seem like a foregone conclusion: "I am interested in the job, and my skills and background match your requirements. When can we meet to discuss your needs?"
  6. Prepare for the interview. Be well-dressed, come armed with questions, and be ready to discuss how your skills will solve the employer's problems. Preparation is key to job search success! Read more in this earlier post.
  7. Slam-dunk the interview. Build yourself up to be the most prepared and most enthusiastic candidate the interviewer will meet. Take some courage vitamins. Tell the interviewer you want the job.
  8. Thank the interviewer and follow up with a thank-you email. Also call in a few days to ask about the status of the job and to reiterate your interest. Write a little script to help you through it.
  9. Get ready to negotiate an offer. Know the salary for similar jobs and bracket your salary request. Let facts be your friend and keep your comments short while emphasizing you want the job. Let the employer make the first offer if possible.
  10. Accept the job. Saying "yes" is easy for introverts and shy people. Congratulations.

Execute Your Plan Well to Get Hired Quickly

Using the steps above, you will plan a successful job search strategy. Remember to stay positive. Work on your job search every day without delay. If you create a plan for every stage of the job search and then execute it well, you will get hired quickly.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Introverts: Supercharge Easy Job Interview Parts

Job interviews can be full of stress and terror for introverts. Meeting new people, saying all the right things, answering questions well, and not becoming tongue-tied are difficult for us.

But if we dissect the job interview, many of its elements become easier for shy and introverted individuals to handle.


Pinpointing Easy Job Interview Elements

Here are some job interview aspects that rank "easy" on the introvert difficulty scale:

Researching the job and the organization. Learn all you can about the job and the organization before your interview. Review the company's website, marketing, enewsletters, blogs, social media, history, annual report, product information, and anything else you can find. This information will help you understand the organization's purpose, direction, and culture. You can also search LinkedIn for information about the interviewer's background. If you need to learn more about the job's typical duties, research it in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Preparing questions for the interviewer. As you do your research, make a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the organization. Avoid basic questions such as "What does your company do?" Create in-depth questions that show you've done research such as "How does your merger with XYZ Company affect the future of this department and the company?" Also include questions about the job and the ideal employee for it.

Dressing up. Dressing well and conservatively for job interviews will give you a professional edge and a confidence boost. 
Shy Job Seeker Blog--Creating Great List of References Is Easy for Introverts
Creating a great reference
list is easy for introverts.

Showing soft skills. It's easy for introverts to be on time, shake hands, and show good manners. Remember to smile and make eye contact. These soft skills will go far in a job interview.

Presenting an impressive portfolio and reference list. From the comfort of your home, you can organize and develop a physical or online portfolio of your work that will help you stand out. Include examples, certificates, awards, and recommendation letters. In addition, an impeccable list of references will impress any employer.

Telling the employer you want the job. It's painless to say, "I'd really like to work with you and with the organization." Plus, it's a great way to reinforce your interest in the job and to end an interview.

Thanking the interviewer. It's not difficult for introverts and shy people to give a sincere thank you and to shake hands at an interview's conclusion. Ask for the interviewer's business card so you can follow up.

Sending a thank-you note and following up by email. Send a thank-you email immediately after the job interview. Then send a follow-up note a few days later to ask about the opening's status. Most job seekers don't take these steps, so they could move you to the front of the hiring line.

Boosting Your Job Interview Performance

If you keep the job interview elements above in mind and give them extra emphasis, you will boost your job interview performance.

What other parts of job interviews are relatively easy for you? Please share your thoughts with other shy and introverted job hunters.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Don't Underestimate Introverted Entrepreneurs

In a video on Inc. magazine's website, Angie's List founder Angie Hicks discusses her shyness.

It's inspiring to hear how Ms. Hicks mustered the courage to do door-to-door selling (explained in another video on the site) and to give TV interviews to help her business grow.

People are surprised to learn she is shy, but Ms. Hicks says she has to "get up every day" and face it. 

"The quiet person in the room is often underestimated," Ms. Hicks remarks.

She states being prepared is key to building her confidence to speak up and to give presentations. She also says listening is important and helps her deal with shyness.

Angie Hicks is proof that introverts and shy people can become hugely successful entrepreneurs. Other introverted entrepreneurs include Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Are you a shy or introverted job seeker who is interested in entrepreneurship? Or have you already made the transition to business ownership? If so, how did you manage your introversion and take the leap? What main issues do you face as an introverted entrepreneur?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Exploring Introvert Careers That Avoid Phone Use, Conflict, Public Speaking

Most introverted and shy people would do best to steer clear of careers that mandate heavy phone use, interaction with angry customers, much conflict, and public speaking.
Going to work every day as an introvert can be tough enough without the stress that such jobs require. 

Discover Jobs with High Frequency of Activities You'd Rather Avoid

So how do you avoid such jobs? A big step is knowing which jobs have a high frequency of activities you'd rather not do.

O*NET OnLine helps you rank
jobs by human interaction.

Research Careers by Work Context

A great free online tool from the U.S. Department of Labor ranks jobs by tasks that turn introverts' stomachs. 

The tool is called O*NET Online. Here's one way to use it: 
  1. Go to Under Advanced Search, scroll to Work Context. Then click the arrow.
  2. Then click Interpersonal Relationships. "This category describes the context of the job in terms of human interaction processes," the site explains.
  3. Scroll down and review various activities, such as the following:
  • Deal with Unpleasant or Angry People--How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations--How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
  • Telephone--How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
     4.  Click an activity that sounds distasteful to you.
     5.  Then review the jobs that require a lot of the activity.
At the bottom of the list, click Show All Occupations to eventually get to jobs with the least amount of the activity or situation. 

Introverts Wouldn't Enjoy Work As Correctional Officers or Arbitrators

So if you fear angry people, don't become a telephone operator or a correctional officer. Instead, go to the bottom of the  O*NET list and consider work as a mathematical technician, rock splitter, or etcher and engraver.

If conflict scares you, don't work as an arbitrator or a gaming supervisor. Rather, look at farming or proofreading.

Of course other factors in addition to work context are important when choosing a career path or an occupation. But the O*NET tool is one way to explore career options for introverts.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Introverted English Majors Have Job-Market Edge

Many introverted and shy people I know are English majors. Drawn to reading, analysis, and a love of words, introverts find stimulation, beauty, symmetry, refuge, and inspiration in language and literature study.

In a recent column, author and USA TODAY columnist  discusses how he loves hiring English majors for small business.

Shy Job Seeker Blog--English Majors Are Prized in Business
English majors are prized in business.
"I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity. And I love their bold choice for a major. Most of all, I love to hire them," Strauss declares.

English Major Traits Prized in Business

Strauss cites the following English major traits as important in his hires:
  • Smarts. English majors "know how to think, to think for themselves, and how to analyze a problem....English majors are used to getting a tough assignment, figuring it out, and getting it done," Strauss writes.
  • Boldness. Strauss states English majors can spot problems and boldly identify solutions.
  • Writing ability. English majors are great at writing blogs, emails, and enewsletters--all important in business today, Strauss explains.
  • Easy to work with. Strauss says English majors are easy to work with, which makes them great assets in organizations.

What Other English Major Traits Are Important in Business?

Based on my experience in hiring English majors, I agree with Strauss! Are you an introverted English major? What other traits do English majors possess that are prized in the business world? Have you seen renewed interest in the hiring of English majors as content needs grow?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Quiet Time Helpful for Introverted Job Seekers

Many introverts enjoy quiet surroundings. Loud noises, including music, chatter, ringing phones, TVs, barking dogs, lawn mowers, and traffic, can be annoying and nerve-racking to introverts.

While extroverts may gain energy from talkative people and the buzz of life, such noise drains introverts.

Earplugs provide quiet during
an introvert's job hunt.


Introverted Job Hunters Benefit from Quiet Time

Introverted job hunters can benefit from quiet time to think, to organize a job search, to do employer research, to tailor resumes and cover letters, and to recharge. As an introverted job seeker, you will find it helpful to pursue your employment search in a quiet place. Busy households and clattering coffee shops are not your best job-search environments. Even libraries can be distracting.

Pursuit-of-Silence Suggestions

Here are some pursuit-of-silence suggestions when you can't get away from noise:
  • Use earplugs. Although earplugs may not drown out all noise, they can minimize distracting sounds.
  • Create white noise. A fan, air purifier, sound machine, or white-noise app can create a subtle background sound that soothes and helps you concentrate.
  • Close windows. Shut the windows to muffle outside noise.
  • Move to a different room and shut the door. Create a job-search  space in a quieter part of the house and close the door.
  • Take children to day care or a sitter. It's not in most kids' nature to be quiet. Ask someone else to watch your kids when you really need to concentrate.
  • Ask others to turn down the noise. As an introvert, I don't like asking others to be quiet. But sometimes I just have to--in a nice way, of course! (I've also turned down the TV when no one is looking.)
How does noise affect you? How do you find the quiet you need for job searching in a noisy world? Share your suggestions with other quiet-loving introverts!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Courage Vitamins for Introverted Job Search

Don't you wish you could take a daily vitamin for courage during your job search?

Although you won't find such fortifiers on a drugstore shelf, here's the next best thing: Tips that will help you feel and act more bravely in your employment quest.

Shy Job Seeker Blog: Take Courage Vitamin for Your Job Hunt
Take a courage vitamin for your job hunt.

Taking Courage "Vitamins" Before Phone Calls, Meetings, and Job Interviews

Making contact with others can be the most frightening part of an introvert's job hunt. The next time you need to call or meet with a potential employer or a network contact, take a few of these courage vitamins:
  • Set a goal. Decide what you want to accomplish during the interaction. Do you want to request a job interview, ask for an informational interview, or follow up on your application? Being single-minded with a goal will keep you from worrying about other possibilities and from getting off track from nervousness.
  • Do your research. Who will you be meeting with? What are their backgrounds? What are the hiring organization's goals, accomplishments, and plans? Knowing this sort of information will empower you.
  • Prepare key points. List what you want to say; maybe write a short script. Perhaps you want to emphasize your job skills during an interview or point out why you're worth more money during a salary negotiation. A list will help you stay on track, will minimize your anxiety, and will keep you from rambling or being tongue-tied.
  • Prepare questions. What do you need to learn? Maybe you need to ask about the job's main challenges or how much overtime will be required. Write down your questions so you won't forget them out of fright.
  • Rehearse. Practice what you want to say. It will help you feel more natural and more prepared.
  • Use small talk. Start out by talking about the weather or giving a compliment. Small talk will help you warm up to the conversation.
  • Smile, make eye contact, and shake hands. Introverts and shy people can come across as unfriendly or stuck up, even though we aren't. So make an effort to be friendly.
  • Take notes. Taking notes during job interviews and phone conversations will give you something to do, will help you focus, and will help you in your follow up.
  • Avoid biting your nails and other nervous habits. Nervous habits are unprofessional, so practice keeping your hands folded when you're not taking notes.
  • Slow down and breathe. Try to speak slowly, to pause occasionally, and to let others talk.
  • Dress well. Dressing up will give you a confidence boost.

Fortifying Yourself for Job Search Action

Calling and talking with employers aren't easy for introverts. But taking the courage vitamins listed above makes the job hunt process easier to swallow.

What other courage vitamins work for you in the job hunt?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Shy Job Seekers Need Self-Confidence to Think Big

Most shy and introverted job seekers could use more self-confidence. This video provides some good self-confidence hints for your life and career.

As the video explains, you should start acknowledging and giving yourself credit for your accomplishments. In addition, you should start visualizing what you want to do or what you want to be. You will begin to grow in confidence, which will help you say "yes" to opportunities.

One of my favorite techniques for strengthening my confidence is to keep a running list of goals met, skills developed, and successes achieved. I like to review this list periodically to lift my courage and confidence, especially when I need to do something out of my comfort zone.

Start your own list of successes today, and be sure to review it frequently during your job hunt.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Aggressively Using Your Introvert Strengths in Job Searching

Your job search probably looks something like this: 
  1. You sit at a computer and search for job openings.
  2. You complete an online application.
  3. You hit SEND.
  4. You wait for the employer to call.
  5. And wait.
  6. And wait.
  7. Then you repeat the process.
Shy Job Seeker Blog: Don't hide out during your job search
Hiding won't help you stand out in the job search.

Comfortable Job Searching Won't Get You Hired

Many job seekers--not just introverts--take this same send-and-wait approach. It's passive job searching and not much different than in the old days when job hunters snail-mailed dozens of resumes and completed dozens of job applications.

As an introvert, you most likely find passive job searching pretty comfortable. You feel as if you are accomplishing something.


Standing Back Won't Help You Stand Out

The problem is, as you may already know, sending resume after resume often results in no response. Employers receive dozens and even hundreds of resumes for open jobs. You can't stand out when your resume is in a big pile--virtual or physical--with many others. It took me three years to find a job using the docile approach.

So you need to stand out. Ugh. You don't want to stand out. Blending in is much easier. And the thought of having to be more assertive makes you feel downright ill. 

Aggressively Using Your Introvert Strengths in Job Searching

How can you stand out without pain? Consciously and aggressively use your introvert strengths, such as these:
  • Attention to detail
  • Good writing and spelling
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Effective research skills
  • Good manners
  • Diligence
  • Concentration
  • Perseverance
It sounds like an oxymoron to be an aggressive introvert. But using the strong points you possess as a shy or introverted person can help you craft a compelling cover letter and a tailored resume to the right employers--and to keep going when others give up. Plus, using your introvert strengths is not painful.

What other strengths can introverts bring to the job search? It's time to use them all to get hired.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shy Job Seeker: New Blog for Shy, Introverted, and Just Plain Scared Job Hunters

Job searching is scary and overwhelming for most people. It's more difficult if you are shy or introverted. This blog's goal is to help individuals like you do the following:
  • Discover the best career paths
  • Define your ideal work environment
  • Find and apply for jobs
  • Get hired
Shy Job Seeker: New Blog for Just Your Type
Shy Job Seeker: New Blog for Just Your Type
I'm not going to try to change you. I'm going to work with your strengths and use them to help you get happily employed or reemployed. 

As you may have guessed, I'm an introvert too. I'm also experienced in helping others find employment. Finally, I've managed despite my introversion to have a pretty good career, with some mistakes and missteps along the way.

So now I'm taking your hand. Let's go where no shy or introverted job seeker has gone before.