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Job Search Tips for Introverts

Heather MundellHeather Mundell posted a terrific article on Job Search Tips for Introverts. Many introverts don’t even bother with networking because it’s so difficult for them. And even extraverts can become introverts when faced with a roomful of people they don’t, but should, know.

When I read this post, I thought Heather must have been watching me at SVASE meetings. I mean, most of what she says is exactly what I do. At first I felt guilty about my networking, but I’ve given myself permission to go to these events and not meet everyone in the room. I’ve always been good at mingling till I found somebody interesting, and then spending some time in deeper discussion with that person. Lo and behold, that’s one of her techniques.

Another thing I’ve found essential is research. I was running a small company until about a year ago. Like many small business managers, I didn’t have much time to look around at what was going on in the tech world. I was mainly interested in how we were going to make the next payroll.

When I started networking, I found that I didn’t understand much of what I was hearing deep in the heart of Silly Valley. So I started my immersion therapy. Incessant reading, trying dozens of new sites and software systems. Thinking, integrating my thoughts. Reading more blogs.

In my workshops, I make sure that everyone is set up on Google Reader with at least one RSS feed before they leave. For most this will be a job search category on Craig’s List. But I also try to get people set up on Techcrunch or Techmeme (or if they’re not technical, I might suggest the New York Times). I subscribe to 56 feeds, and I get hundreds of articles a day, most of which I ignore after seeing the title.

Deep immersion in all these articles got me up to speed fast. After about 2 months, I found that I could go to networking meetings and understand almost everything. By the 3rd month, I could participate in conversations, and frequently contribute something.

Dan RinkThat was my ticket to networking. I put in my homework, got some training from Dan Rink on the techniques of networking, and I jumped right in.

Do I feel comfortable? Not really. Am I functional in this setting? I think so. I’ve made some good connections, I’ve gotten enough knowledge to follow and contribute. And in turn, I teach other people how to do this, which is ultimately rewarding to me as a citizen of the high-tech community.

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  1. Heather Mundell says


    I’m glad my post was useful! Although I am an extrovert, I have many introverts in my family and am quite familiar with their preferences and strengths. I think your strategy of researching and practicing is a winning one.

    The research builds confidence because typically introverts prefer to think before they speak (if only more people would do that, right?) And practice makes the whole process more familiar and less intimidating because you’re building on successful (or at least not disastrous) networking attempts.

    What a boon that you feel functional in networking situations. Many people don’t bother to push themselves and spend a lifetime afraid of participating in anything that looks like networking.