Networking can seem intimidating to any professional, but introverts are particularly uneasy at the thought of interactions that seem forced. Therefore, many introverts never attempt to build a professional network. But the importance of networking cannot be ignored, because an estimated eighty percent of jobs go unadvertised. Even if the percentage of unadvertised jobs is lower, a network provides access to many hidden jobs that exist in every field. Fortunately, networking doesn’t have to be difficult if you learn to recognize good opportunities to make connections and prepare yourself for such encounters.
Networking should not be a concern only at work-related functions. Building connections can also be accomplished in more casual situations. In fact, many professionals obtain jobs with the help friends and family rather than through former colleagues. Simply talking to a friend of a friend about your work or job search counts as networking. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself, because you want to be remembered by people you meet. Self promotion isn’t bragging if you stick to relevant facts such as industry experience, education, and professional skills.
An Online Presence
Job searching online may not be easy, but you can use the web to your advantage. Create a professional profile and reach out to colleagues. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn allow you to tap into wider networks with ease. You can also ask for recommendations from co-workers, clients or supervisors. Read about our favorite resume and portfolio sites for more places to start building your online reputation.
The “Elevator Pitch”
Most career experts advocate having an elevator pitch prepared. This can be an intimidating concept for anyone, but particularly for introverts who often loath self-promotion. But the elevator pitch is meant to be brief statement that gets to the point, which should be ideal for introverts. Craft a sentence or two that states your position, what you do in your organization or field, and important projects. An example: “Hi, I’m Amy Jones, I’m a marketing intern working with Tim Smith on the Louis campaign.” Be prepared to answer specific questions about your responsibilities and accomplishments. The pitch is designed to open the door for further communication. You may need to initiate introduction in some situations, but it will get easier with practice.
For more information on introverts, read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking