5 Tips on networking for introverts
If you’re an introvert, then networking can be even tougher than usual. After all, getting through university as an introvert can be difficult, so the idea of spending time around even more people in the networking arena can be quite daunting.
You can’t really keep your cards close to your chest in this situation. When you’re networking, people want to know who you are, what you can do and what you get up to. Unfortunately, being an introvert in this situation is challenging, but you can make it easier on yourself.
Consequently, here are 5 easy tricks to help introverts with networking.
The right roles
Networking becomes extremely tedious when you cast your net much too wide. Suddenly, you may find yourself sitting in on talks for careers you’re not interested in. Additionally, you could be persistently contacted by randoms and recruitment agencies who are eager for long conversations that will, frankly, lead nowhere.
Drowning out this noise can really help you as an introvert. When you’re only interacting with the right people, it’ll be much less draining than dealing with people you know you’ll never see again. Each chat is a productive conversation that takes you forward, rather than sending you through the motions. In the end, there’s nothing wrong with being choosy with your company.
Therefore, if you really understand what kinds of roles interest you, then you can remove some of the ‘grind’ aspects out of the networking process. After all, you’d be effectively minimising the amount you need to network. There are many roles out there perfectly tailored to an introverts demeanour, so narrowing down your search can save you a lot of bother.
As cheesy as it might be to say, many of us would be nowhere without our friends. They lift you up when you’re feeling down and have your back though thick and thin. If networking is more on the thicker side for you, then by all means ask your friends for some help.
You more than likely have friends with jobs, or perhaps they who know someone else with a job on offer. The point is, your friends are certainly credible as a key part of your network. They can fire out your name to their own contacts with some warm compliments and recommendations, and sell you and your skills to an employer with just as much gusto as a recruitment agency.
More to the point, they more than likely know about your introverted nature if you are good friends. Additionally, they may be introverts too and are having success with it, able to impart some key wisdom on how to succeed. In any event, your friends know your strengths and weaknesses and can give you that extra push with them all in mind.
Some introverts struggle to fully engage in conversations. Of course, others manage just fine and just need the occasional break to recharge their batteries. Whatever the case may be, if keeping the ball rolling in a social interaction doesn’t come easy to you, then this next point should work fine.
Networking online is a surefire way to go. No doubt you’ve heard of websites such as LinkedIn, where you can build your connections online. These kinds of sites are brilliant for boosting your profile, and also help you to interact with professionals from the comfort of your own home. You can reply to messages in your own time, and have multiple chat histories to review and learn from too.
Additionally, the web in general is a tool to be used. It can help you discover new opportunities, new fields of interest you hadn’t previously encountered, new contacts and more. All in all, the online world is great for connectivity and actually provides great support for your more introverted preferences.
When you’re gunning for a job, you do need a slight pinch of performance. This is especially true if your networking efforts are taking you to real world settings and opportunities, rather than working exclusively with online correspondences. When push comes to shove, you don’t need to be in a profession to be professional.
In the working world, people frequently adopt a professional demeanour to see them through the day. Subsequently, you should apply this attitude when you’re in networking mode. While it might be exhausting for you, it is somewhat necessary if you want to make any traction. After all, most people just want to work with a focused colleague, rather than a class clown who peaked in high school.
Extroverts have the same issue to address too; politely laughing at jokes you didn’t quite find funny or just listening to someone you’d rather ignore. It’s not sucking up to people, it’s just easy ways of getting on with others to make everyone’s day easier. Staying quiet can leave room for others to interpret your behaviour. Remove all doubt and maintain a professional decorum, and you’ll be fine.
Of course, being professional doesn’t mean fundamentally redefining who you are. As an introvert, the best thing you can do is be yourself. People appreciate that level of honesty, and there is dignity in simply being yourself rather than putting on an elaborate act.
When you’re networking, no one is impressed by lies or exaggeration. Recruiters want to know you. That means your skills, likes, dislikes and sometimes even your hobbies can be discussed too. As an introvert, you’re more likely to avoid rhetoric and overhyping what you can offer. Your CV will be more concise. Cliches and hyberbole won’t be found anywhere in your speech, and everything that comes out of your mouth is important. This is what employers love to see in potential hiring candidates; people who get to the point fast and easy.
By being yourself, you’ll come to be respected for saying only what you percieve to be truly relevant. You’ll also be avoiding all the fluff that many employ to try an impress recruiters and managers. In the end, a straightforward attitude can make you much more notable when you’re networking.