For introverts, job searching comes with a unique set of challenges. After all, introverts are known for feeling sapped after group gatherings, are frequently described as reserved, and can find making small talk a bit of a struggle.
People with this personality get more out of solo experiences than group events, according to Psychology Today. If this description sounds familiar, you may be an introvert yourself.
Possessing this combination of characteristics can make interviewing particularly difficult.
As with any job seeker, finding a work environment and job that's comfortable and allows you to flourish is important for your happiness and success.
How to Identify a Job That's Right for You
Laurie A. Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, writes that "…any environment that consistently leaves you feeling bad about who you are is the wrong environment." It's important for introverts to find a company culture and work responsibilities that fit well with their personality.
What does that mean in practice? If you are an introvert, a company that has an open work space and makes progress through in-person meetings may leave you feeling run down and not stimulated to do your best work. While working can often be challenging, it should not make you feel miserable.
As You Search, Look Carefully at Listings for Clues
The job and company description, as well as the requirements mentioned in the posting, often reveal a lot. Does the listing describe employees as "working and playing hard"? Or does it mention a weekly employer-sponsored social get-together? Introverts often avoid group gatherings, preferring solitude or one-on-one socializing.
Be aware that while participating in work-related social activities may be voluntary, opting out may limit your ability to flourish at the company.
As you review job postings, think back on all the jobs you've had so far. What characteristics did the roles you enjoyed have? What were some of the characteristics of jobs that you did not enjoy as much? Consider writing a list of these characteristics and then seeking out job ads with the characteristics from the jobs that you enjoyed.
Bottom line: Try to seek out a job that matches your qualifications at an organization with a company culture that's a good fit for your personality.
Seek Positions That Cater to Your Strengths
Introverts do well working independently, but they also typically flourish on collaborative projects. A listing looking for "a team player" might be a good fit. Jobs that need people who are "detail oriented" are also ideal for introverts. Look for positions that are a strong match for your qualifications for a job.
Emphasize Your Qualifications in Your Cover Letter
In your cover letter, you will want to highlight your relevant experience and accomplishments. But a cover letter is also an opportunity to emphasize your particular personality traits and soft skills.
As an introvert, you may do well working independently, have high attention to detail, and possess the ability to focus and get through even the more tedious aspects of a project. Give examples of ways these abilities—or others—have been beneficial to your former projects or employers.
Preparing for an Interview as an Introvert
Ward off interview jitters with advance practice and prep. Learn tips on how to prepare for an interview as an introvert, including advice on scheduling interviews and how to answer unexpected questions. A panel interview may be particularly challenging for you, but with some advance prep, you can handle it.
Keep in mind one major advantage introverts have in interviews: typically, introverts are excellent listeners.
Use this ability to get a sense of the interviewer's wants and needs for the job and tailor your answers accordingly. During the interview, you might even explicitly mention that you're an introvert and use it as a lead-in to discuss some of your on-the-job strengths.
Interview Your Interviewer
Regardless of personality type, you should always interview your interviewer. A job interview is not a one-way conversation.
Ideally, you will leave the interview with a clear sense of the responsibilities of the position, what you would do on a day-to-day basis, the structure of the team, and the company culture. As with your analysis of the job posting, look for signs that the position is a good fit for your personality.