If the mere thought of handing out a few dozen business cards to relative strangers at a networking event exhausts you, you’re not alone. About one in every four people is an introvert, meaning they gain energy from spending time alone and expend it when they engage with other people.
Although the business world is extroverted by nature, being an introvert doesn’t doom you to a lifetime of second-rate jobs. Here’s how to use your quiet strength to network in a way that works for you:
- Get online. LinkedIn and similar professional networking sites offer forums and similar methods for communicating and sharing information. Join a few LinkedIn forums in your industry, field or geographic area, and spend time reading the comments to get a feel for the conversation before you join in.
- Connect one on one. Skip busy networking events in favor of reconnecting with your own network. A few times a month, contact someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Get coffee together or just catch up over email. You’ll deepen your connections, and you might get interesting news or offers from unexpected sources.
- Build your own community. While existing online communities are a great place to start, you can also demonstrate your own expertise by building a community. Start a blog or offer to moderate a forum related to your professional passions.
- Working on your portfolio is a great way to keep your skills sharp and generate interest in your work. A number of online spaces make it easy to showcase your work and share it with others, no matter what your projects look like.
- Focus on your accomplishments. Many extroverts can chatter their way happily through an interview or networking event with strangers, but introverts may need more preparation to be comfortable. Don’t hesitate to think about your proudest accomplishments, and talk about what you loved about the process. True enthusiasm shines through, and it can make you as memorable as any social butterfly.
- Get people talking about themselves. If you’re not sure where to take a networking conversation, ask the other person an open-ended question like “What are you working on?” or “What’s your favorite part about working here?” Then give the person your undivided attention. It’s a great way to make a positive impression without having to carry the conversation.
- Ask for advice, not a job. Networking events get awkward when you focus on getting hired. Instead, ask other people for advice. How did they get where they are? What was the worst job-search mistake they ever made? What do they recommend you do better? Asking for advice helps both of you feel more comfortable, and it can gain you some valuable insight.
- Build quality relationships, not quantity. Reach out to a staffing firm that places candidates in your field and preferred geographic area. When you build a one-on-one relationship with a recruiter, you get an ally in your corner who can help you advance your career goals – and you only have to make one phone call.
At Burnett’s Staffing, our recruiters help connect job seekers to some of the best jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – whether you’re a social butterfly or a quiet achiever. Contact us today to learn more about our Fort Worth employment opportunities.