In order to advance your career and find yourself in the job you were meant to have, you know that you need to be your own best advocate. I probably focus on the importance of networking more than any other concept on this blog, but that is because I cannot emphasize enough how crucial it is to establish and develop relationships. You never know when you are going to meet someone who could be the key to the next step forward in your chosen profession.
So, what do you do if you are naturally shy and reaching out to new people is an activity that you dread? First, know that you are not alone. For many people who make networking a regular part of their professional growth, the conversations have come with a lot of practice. There are steps that you can take to build your comfort level as well.
Anne Fisher is a regular contributor to the CNN Money website, and she recently offered some advice to a job seeker who admitted her shyness was stalling her career plans. Here are a few tips included in the piece:
1. Start slowly — She recommends that you make a list of all of your possible contacts and then call the ones who likely will make for the easiest conversations first. Some early successes will help build your confidence!
2. Ask for advice instead of a job — Your contact might feel put on the spot if you come right out and ask for work. But, most people are excited to share what they know they others.
3. Ask for more contact names — If you can begin a conversation by acknowledging the person you have in common, some of the anxiety will be removed.
Please read the entire article for some more great advice for job seekers who may be on the timid side.
With half of the population identified as introverts, I’m sure that some of you have fought with this same struggle. What is your advice for networking when you aren’t a natural extrovert?