Are you shy?
Do you feel awkward in social settings that involve
people you don’t know, or perhaps even people you
do? If so, then a job search is probably not your
favorite project, requiring as it does networking, cold-
calling, follow up with strangers andtelephone or in-
person interviews where you’re required to talk about
– TA DA! – you!
A job search can be stressful for just about
anyone. For someone shy or uncomfortable
when engaging in social interaction, a job
search can be a daunting experience. It
doesn’t need to be however. While it’s
unlikely that you’ll ever become the “life of
the party”, there are certainly some things
you can do to minimize the effects of your
shyness while attempting to change your
“Wait,” you say, “this shouldn’t be an issue.
I’ll be interviewing with one
person, maybe a few at most, and it’ll be
quiet and I’ll have the opportunity to just chill
and let them know what I’m all about.” Um,
yeah, no, not so much. Not as a general rule,
Remember that the ‘he/she/them’ interviewing you are doing so
because they have a problem (maybe a BIG problem) that they need
to solve as quickly as possible, which means finding the right person
for the job ASAP so they can return to their daily mission-critical
Given this scenario, you’ll have a very small window in which you
can demonstrate how outstanding you are. You want to stand out
based on merit, not “stand apart” by being so shy that you’re
perceived to lack confidence, competence or worse (e.g., being
completely socially inept, which is doom).
things to consider as you conduct your job
What are your boundaries?
People are constantly referring to the notion of
stretching the envelope or getting out of a comfort
zone. In general, we know what that means. But do
you know what it means in relation to
Work your network.
Reconnect to those with whom you’ve fallen out
of touch. Strengthen ties with those in your
existing circle of contacts. Link in to LinkedIn and
look at each of your contacts with a new
perspective, one by which you attempt to
identify what value you can add to their
relationship with you rather than the other way
around. And then provide that value.
What are you sorry for?
Don’t apologize when you ask for
help or information during your job
search. You’re building a
relationship by demonstrating that
you consider the other person
important. Because it’s important
to you. You’re not imposing.
Be biographer, not autobiographer.
Of course, we always recommend that you have
your resume professionally written. Professional
resume writers bring not just expertise, but an
objective perspective to the development of your
resume. This is important, since people who are
shy will often have trouble recognizing and
writing about their career achievements and
Pick me, pick me!
One job search tool often overlooked is
volunteerism. Most volunteer activities
provide ample opportunity to engage with
others (especially strangers) in a comfortable,
productive setting. You’ll expand your
network, hone your communication skills and
gain confidence while working with others
towards a common goal. Communication is
much more comfortable when it’s about
making a contribution.