"Hello entrefemmeurs! Can you give a piece of advice to an introvert who's trying to get a job? Thank you X" - Ioana Smeu
Claire: Applying for a job is nerve-wracking for everybody, but it is especially hard if you tend to be shy and have a hard time putting yourself out there. I am extremely introverted, so I'm going to go ahead and assume something about you - you probably tend to overthink EVERYTHING. We just can't help it. If that is true, don't worry, you aren't alone.
You also aren't alone in finding that a job search can be frustrating and stressful, you will have doubts about yourself and your abilities, and it's generally just a huge pain in the you-know-what. So here is my advice.
1. Practice makes for not-giving-a-sh**. Seriously. Practice doesn't make perfect, it just makes you realize that that thing wasn't as scary or hard as you had originally thought. You'll have good interviews and you'll have bad interviews, just take some time after each one to jot down what you think went well, and what you think you could improve on.
2. Preparation is key. Bring copies of your resume, know how you want to answer the generic questions (your goals, your skills, your hobbies) and research the company so you have questions of your own. Remember, you are also interviewing them for what the position is and if it truly is the right fit for both of you. Also, follow up with an email thanking them for the interview opportunity. Email and LinkedIn are great forms of communication if you are introverted so utilize it and don't ignore these small, important gestures!
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses. I have now been on the other side of the interview process and we end up seeing a lot of candidates in a short amount of time. The ones that stick out to me are the ones that are honest about what they are capable of, but also, what they hope to learn and strengthen in the position they are applying for. I'm a rambler and in my first interviews out of college, I would just start talking and hope that I would find the right words along the way. That didn't always work. If you don't know the answer to a question, just say you don't know but that you hope to learn!
4. Say yes and ask for help. It may be difficult to land an interview in the current job market. If you get an interview that might not be your dream job, or you're under qualified, or even over qualified, just say yes. Three things could happen: First, you might be surprised by the company / position and it could end up being the right fit after all. Second, you may meet someone who can guide you towards the right person or job opening, just remember to be honest with the interviewers (and yourself) about what you really want. If it isn't the right fit, they may be able to help in some other way. And if all else fails, number three is that you got some interview experience, which is never a bad thing!
5. Being an introvert is a gift, not a curse. I recommend the Ted talk by Susan Cain called "The Power of Introverts" and brag about it in the interview! You may be quiet, but you are also probably very reflective, deliberate, self-aware, analytical, creative, calming, and loyal. Celebrate it!
Also, check out "The Driven, Female Introvert's Dilemma" by J. Neuner.