Your resume is flawless, your cover letter is a work of art, and you’re the perfect fit for the position you’re applying for. But if you’re an introvert, there’s one terrifying hurdle standing between you and gainful employment: the job interview. You’re not necessarily shy or socially anxious just because you’re an introvert (some introverts are, some aren’t), but it costs you a lot of energy to meet new people, make small talk, and speak off the cuff. Interviews are full of all of these things, as well as many others that make introverts uncomfortable, and the high-stakes nature of the situation — a job is on the line! — makes it all twice as stressful.
When you feel that kind of stress, you might start to feel like you’re never going to get a job that reflects your skills and talents, or maybe even that you don’t deserve a good job. But don’t worry — just because interviews are a challenge doesn’t mean you’ll never get hired. The seven tips below can help you nail your next job interview, no matter how introverted you are. And the better you do at interviews, the more confident you’ll feel, and the easier they’ll become.
3. Highlight Your Strengths As An Introvert
This doesn’t mean you have to blurt out that you find meetings overstimulating or that you get grouchy when people interrupt your work. You don’t even have to use the word “introvert.” Just point out all those fabulous qualities that make introverts such an asset in the workplace, like excellent written communication skills, independence, and creativity. As Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, told Scientific American, “introverts are comfortable spending time alone, and solitude is a crucial (and underrated) ingredient for creativity.” Discussing your strengths is always more effective when you connect it to specific examples of your experience or accomplishments, so mention that project your previous boss trusted you to handle all on your own or how productive you were on a two-person team.
4. Apply For Jobs Well Suited To Introverts
Bills don’t pay themselves, and sometimes you have to take whatever job you can. But whenever possible, steer your job search toward positions that involve more quiet alone time than interpersonal interaction: data entry over answering phones, social-media managing over publicity, maybe even a job that lets you work from home a few days a week. You’ll be able to make a stronger case during your interview that your skills make you perfect for the job, and your interviewer will be better able to see how great a fit you’d be. Plus when you do get hired, you won’t be stuck in a job that makes you feel like you’re feeding your brain into a paper shredder.
7. Schedule Alone Time Before Or After The Interview
The defining feature of introversion is that you find social interactions — even pleasant ones — draining and need some time to yourself to recharge. So a job interview is going to be stressful, no matter how well it goes. Counteract it with one of those activities introverts tend to love: read a book, do a crossword puzzle, or just sit alone in a cafe and sip a soy chai latte. If you do it before the interview, you’ll go in feeling fresh and clear-headed. If you do it afterward, you’ll get to unwind and recover some energy. If you’re unemployed, look on the bright side: you might even have time to do both!
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