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Weddle's Syndicated Content:

The Introverted Job Seeker

Job seeking is all about putting yourself out there where employers and recruiters can spot you. It requires that you reach out and connect with strangers, both online and off. Finding a new job is fundamentally a social experience, so if you're an introvert, how can you succeed?

According to a source cited in Wikipedia, "introversion is manifested in more reserved, quiet, shy behavior." It also notes, however, that according to Myers Briggs and other experts in human psychology, introversion and extroversion are not mutually exclusive states. In other words, we all have both dimensions in our personality, but one is typically dominant over the other.

For the introverted job seeker, therefore, the key to success is to find a way to tap into your inner extrovert even as you remain safely within your more reserved comfort zone. In essence, you learn to act as an extroverted introvert.

How can you accomplish that feat? The following five steps are all it takes:

  • Step 1: Change what you say to yourself.
  • Step 2: Begin in a friendly place.
  • Step 3: Take one little step after another.
  • Step 4: Recognize warning signs and adjust.
  • Step 5: Get positive reinforcement.

Let's look briefly at each of them.

Step 1: Change What You Say to Yourself
Most of us know generally where we fall on the introversion-extroversion scale. So, that's how we describe ourselves to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we act this way or that because we are an introvert. And that self-definition limits us to that role. So, your first step must be to broaden your self-definition; to climb out of the box and start seeing yourself as someone who is quiet but confident or reserved but poised. Pick a description that allows you to remain an introvert without being locked into introverted behavior.

Step 2: Begin in a Friendly Place
Part of the challenge of stepping out is the anxiety we feel about how we will be received in a social setting, how others will react to our unpracticed social behavior. It begins with the giggles we hear as we stand in front of our elementary school classroom and continues in uncomfortable business phone calls and meetings. So, the next step in becoming an extroverted introvert is to set yourself up for success. Make your first foray in a setting that is likely to be friendly to you no matter how uncomfortable or out of practice socially you may be.

Step 3: Step 3: Take One Little Step After Another
What do we tell our kids when they face a seemingly insurmountable task? We tell them that there's no need to eat an elephant in a single bite. One reasonable bite after another or steady, methodical progress is far more likely to get the job done. It's wisdom we adults can benefit from, as well. So, this step involves setting up an extroversion plan that will have you taking a series of small steps toward that goal. Do one uncomfortable, but not overwhelming thing that gets you out there in the job market and then do another and another after that.

Step 4: Recognize Warning Signs and Adjust
Becoming an extroverted introvert is a journey. It takes awhile to happen, and there are often bumps along the way. It's only reasonable, therefore, that we will occasionally grow weary from the effort or see our commitment start to flag. Those moments are perilous for they can cause us to lose sight of our goal and give up. So, this step involves your recognizing the danger signs of fatigue and discouragement and then stopping what you're doing. Give yourself a moment to rest. It's only a pause, but one that will recharge your commitment.

Step 5: Get Positive Reinforcement
Making a personal transformation is often a lonely experience. We have to provide the personal resolve to stay the course; we have to do the hard work to make it happen. No one else can do that for us. They can, however, be there for us with their encouragement and support. They can reassure us if we falter and help us recognize our progress. So, the final step in becoming an extroverted introvert is to tell a friend or mentor what you've decided to do. Share your goal and progress with them, and they'll help you stay the course.

Job searching is inherently a social endeavor. For the introverted job seeker, therefore, the key to success is to become something they already are. It is tap into their inner extrovert even as they remain safely within their more reserved comfort zone.

Thanks for reading,

Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.

December 2012
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