Networking for Introverts

Are you an introvert? Many technical people are introverts – and many struggle to network because it feels uncomfortable. Do you remember when you were trying to get your first job? Remember the advice and maybe even a class on writing a resume? Did anyone teach you HOW to network?

Networking for Introverts

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons/Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung)

When I was in college they taught me to write a resume – but they NEVER taught me how to network. What they did tell me about networking seemed to have limited success.

  • advice – Go to professional meetings to meet people.
  • result – Ended up standing around knowing few people or meeting people in the same situation I was in.
  • advice – Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.
  • result – Limited success. I did get to meet some people who were the hiring managers – but it seemed my own network was not enough to get me in the doors I needed to get into.
  • advice – Use the college career fairs and career counselors.
  • result – Again, limited success. Problem is I was limited to those companies looking for people like me. Instead I was looking for something else.

Playing the Game

After many years of “playing the game” in job searches and having many jobs I have made some other observations.

  • There are more opportunities than you can chase. Most people are looking for just one, but so many people see none!
  • People with a network have more opportunities. Let me state that again People with a network have more opportunities.
  • People hire people – not resumes.
  • Resumes are an after thought for many companies. My last few “jobs” did not really require a resume. In fact, more than once it came up that the resume was needed from me AFTER the decision was made to hire me. One company told me to forward my resume to HR since they needed on file – weeks after I was hired.
  • Networking is a skill most people do NOT have. Perhaps this is why my professors never taught me how to do it – they did not know either.

So what works?

I am going to give you some tips in the next few post which will tell you HOW TO NETWORK. These are networking skills that REALLY work – even for introverts. And I mean the REALLY work – powerfully!!! But you can start by using one of the tools I have already blogged about – the Reverse Interview.

Note: These post are part of my upcoming book on taking control of your career!
So let’s get started on building your network! Yes – even if you are an introvert!

Exercise: List the people in your network.

  • Who do you go to lunch with?
  • Who can you call on if you are looking for a new job or opportunity?
  • What group do you hang out with which presents new opportunities to you on a regular basis?

 

Find Your Calling

One way to make networking easier is to find those people who have a similar passion. To do so, you need to know what your calling is. For help, download my FREE ebook on How to Find Your Calling.






Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Diana Ross

    Wow Dale. Did you come up with all this on your own? This is nothing but pointless drivel and common sense.

  • http://dalecallahan.com Dale

    Did I come up with it? I do not think it is really that new.

    Since you say useless I assume you mean
    1) it does not work — and if so I would say this advice does in fact work. Have tons of examples of results.

    or

    2) It is totally obvious to most, such as “do not step in front of a moving car.” If this is what you mean – I tend to agree except that I spend a great amount of time coaching people on just these simple concepts.

    I guess you could mean a third – that this is way below the level of intelligence for people like me and you to discuss. And if this is the case, you just do not know me very well;)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/t-cassells/38/93/480 T Cassells

    The advice received that you’ve noted above is also the advice I’ve received when it comes to establishing a network – and you are right; it’s not really very effective advice.

    Perhaps the real thought for me is to explore what makes me an introvert and work my network from that angle. I personally don’t want to change my introvertedness, but there are many introverts who are painfully introverted and would like to change. What I mean is that maybe there should be levels to this networking thing. Maybe someone should go about building professional-social media exclusive to introverts – techies – eggheads – engineers. Maybe there’s growth in that. Perhaps the focus should be off of “changing” the individual’s personality for a second and forcing them into the extrovert’s activity of networking. Instead maybe the focus should be on seeking a way to change the scope of introvert networking to make it fit the introvert. Maybe there’s some half-brained idea out there that can be fully developed to inspire introverts to perform “soft networking”. I’m not sure, but I do know that just hearing the word “networking” is enough to make my stomach ache :)

  • http://dalecallahan.com Dale

    Perhaps we should just call it something different;)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brendan-mcgovern/37/640/a57 Brendan McGovern

    In undergrad I also had a class that was all about resume writing and professionalism. Nothing about how to network was taught. At an event I tend to talk to the one or two people I know. Even with advice on how to network, it is still hard for me to actually go out and do it. I think struggling with figuring out what it is I want is a big factor.

  • http://dalecallahan.com Dale

    I still hate it! Well – hate is a strong word here – but I shy away from networking events. Usually I am glad I went after the fact, but going in is never fun for me. Knowing your goal is the hardest for everyone!!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=guest_home_login Pamela Noble

    I have been extremely introverted. So much so, that it has impacted my desire to move in many directions in my life. During an 18 month period of unemployment, i attended a few job fairs. I was excited about going, but would get knots in my stomach. I FORCED myself to engage in conversations with the company reps only to walk away thinking ” did I show how nervous I was” and “did I sound desperate?”. As a matter of fact, i force myself talk people a lot!

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