Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Following these tips can pay dividends for years!
During my 30 years in corporate America, I utilized these tried & true methods for job searching. Though my searches involved postings within Shell, they transfer to external job searches as well. Many may apply to introverts and extroverts alike. But I've found them especially helpful for those of us less enamored with the social lifestyle and gregarious networking!
1 Out-perform in your current role including going above and beyond, developing and implementing new ideas, task leadership, and communications. Sometimes these don't come naturally, but find your passion and use your own style to make it happen.
2 Maintain a networking spreadsheet of contacts, past and present, their department and roles, and when you talk to them or are scheduled for your next discussion. Even introverts develop networks. Ours actually tend to be fewer but deeper. Lean on your organization skills with this tip.
3 Reflect on what roles and tasks you have the most passion for. Be honest with yourself and honest with the hiring managers. If they don't like it, it's not the right role for you. Self awareness will be your guide throughout this process, and will be sensed and appreciated by hiring managers. If you skip this tip, you may pay the price for years to come!
4 Think BROADLY about where you might apply your skills and passions. We tend to narrow our choices to what we are familiar with. Don't seek a specific job or title. Seek a role that has tasks you are qualified for and will enjoy. You might be surprised at the kinds of jobs that pop up!
5 Update your Resume/CV to be concise (1 page), highlighting skills and outstanding projects that make you unique and strong. Expose and flaunt your introversion by sharing skills like creativity, listening skills, organizational skills, work ethic, and empathy. Hiring managers that see these as valuable are the managers you want to work for!
6 Solicit 5-6 enthusiastic references. Use 3 for each application, selecting those most appropriate for that job. Update references on your strengths and interests and provide them with a heads up when you are posting. Occasionally you may ask one or two to proactively send an email to a hiring manager to support your candidacy. This is not always an enjoyable tip for introverts, but it is critical and strong references will be happy to help!
7 Prepare your answers to anticipated questions (why are you interested, what are your strengths/gaps) and prepare examples of successes, integration, difficult conversations and decisions, as well as your vision and plan for your first 30 days on the job.
8 ALWAYS meet with the hiring manager, ideally as an "informal" meeting early in the process. Remember, this is a two-way street to find the perfect fit. Ask to meet with prospective teammates as well. Check out the company and hiring manager on social media (they are checking you out!). You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Prepare your own questions about the job, the team culture, and the manager's style. A good fit will pay dividends for years!
9 Send follow up "thank you" emails after meetings and interviews, extending your appreciation and remind them of your unique strengths, experiences and passion for the role, if you remain interested.
10 Keep a positive attitude. This process may be difficult and humbling. Seek feedback for those unsuccessful applications. Job search is very competitive but there are "great-fit" roles out there. Apply for those. Pass on others. And you will find that next great role for YOU.