By some estimates, one out of every three people in an introvert. A crowd of people will drain an introvert’s energy and make them feel anxious. They would just rather avoid highly social situations.
So how do they network? The usual association with networking is that it takes place at functions where people meet and greet. Cards and introductions are exchanged but because of its similarities to crowds and parties, it doesn’t sound like an environment where an introvert could thrive.
1. One-On-One. Not all networking is accomplished in large groups. One effective way to network is to set up informational interviews. An informational interview is a short session (20 to 30 minutes) to ask specific questions of someone who, for example, has a position in an industry you want to move into, or started in a job similar to the one you’re looking for. You ask them for their time and offer to meet for coffee. If they’re busy, it can be done by phone or e-mail. The advantage? Minimal social stress. It’s only one person! Plus, you’ll have a chance to be as intelligent and thoughtful as you are.
2. Volunteer. Many introverts are uncomfortable in unstructured social situations. That stress can be relieved if they have a specific role. Volunteer for a worthy cause and network as you connect with the community.
4. Online Networking. Many job search groups have an online presence. Do they have forums where people can post and exchange information? If so, become active because it’s an opportunity for you to become engaged in a more different environment.
5. Social Network. Everyone has a social network. The old adage holds: you never know who might know someone who knows someone who knows someone who…is looking for someone just like you. If you have some gregarious extrovert relatives or friends, enlist them to tell everyone they know.
6. Think Strategically. Sometimes networking will work for introverts if they focus on measurable wins. Is a job fair in your region and area of expertise coming up? Think strategically about networking when you attend them. Consider attending a job fair planning and set a goal. Perhaps, attempt to reach out to at least five companies in order to expand your network.
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