Do you fret that your introverted personality will not help you land in the top contender list at job interviews? Or, that you will not be identified as a candidate for promotion because you just can’t seem to make yourself heard?
You may have reason to worry.
While being introverted is simply a way of being for about a third of the population in this country, introverts do have to work a little harder to get recognized for their achievements.
“The talents and strengths of an introvert are more hidden. They don’t tend to showcase themselves so they are more likely to get overlooked,” explains Carole Cameron, human resources specialist and author of Splash: An Introvert’s Guide to being Seen, Heard and Remembered. “The talents and strengths of an extrovert are on the outside, so they are more easily recognized and rewarded,” she adds.
And that can lead to frustration. “Introverts can feel like they’re missing out on great stuff just because they haven’t engaged enough — their good stuff isn’t out there enough for people to notice.”
Cameron describes herself as an introvert. She understands the frustration of having great ideas but not being able to come across during meetings and interviews. “I felt totally invisible,” she says.
But there is hope. Cameron’s own experience led her to write her book, which lays out a path for introverts “to make a splash, to be heard, to be remembered, to be visible.”
Especially during interviews, body language is extremely important, she says. Introverts are uncomfortable talking about themselves, and it shows. Get feedback from friends and family on how to appear more assured, or videotape and watch yourself and purposefully focus on changing the impression you make.
To appear more confident, make it your mission to smile, make eye contact, sit up straight, keep your hands from fiddling, and finally, practise that firm handshake.
As an introvert who does not take naturally to casual “off the cuff” types of conversations, make sure you formulate and practise in advance the answers to anticipated interview questions or crucial points of a conversation with the boss.
To be memorable during an interview, wear something distinctive (but tasteful) that the interviewer is likely to make note of — a beautiful handbag or briefcase, a bright red scarf, or an unusual piece of jewelry. Or tell the interviewer something interesting about yourself, something likely to make a connection.
Also keep in mind that networking is the most likely avenue for finding work. Search for strategies to make networking work for you, such as volunteering at conventions.
And once you are hired, make sure the bosses know about all the wonderful things you do at work. For example, send a friendly weekly email outlining status and achievements.
And if you end up in a meeting, accept the reality that introverts can easily get drowned out in the chatter of the extrovert majority. It’s best to identify the points you wish to make and concentrate on delivering them succinctly and with confidence.