Moving out of your comfort zone can be daunting, but the workplace rewards are worth the risks.
By Heather Huhman
Reposted with permission from Personal Branding Blog
In the workforce, having a successful career can often be about personal branding and forging connections with others in the industry. But these things can be tough for introverts, who are naturally prone to desire time alone, prefer personal reflection and thought, and are often very shy.
This can be intimidating when entering a professional world where you must compete with extroverts, who are typically very sociable and draw their energy from other people. Still, the workforce doesn’t have to be a daunting place for those who aren’t as comfortable spending a lot of time around others.
Here are seven tips to get introverts on the path to personal-branding success:
1. Speak up about your accomplishments
Introverts often don’t get the recognition they deserve because they have a difficult time promoting themselves or bringing themselves attention. But it’s unwise to rely on others to speak up about your accomplishments, and letting them go unnoticed could get in the way of opportunities for promotion. Think carefully about what you can say about your accomplishments, and to whom, to ensure you receive credit where credit is due.
2. Forge strong relationships.
Many introverts may find it helpful to have a mentor or trusted supervisor to help them succeed. Forging strong relationships with those who are more apt to speak up on your behalf can be beneficial when you need someone to vouch for your abilities.
3. Share your ideas.
You don’t have to force yourself to be a chatterbox, but when you have a new idea or opinion, share it. This is one way that a boss or superior will really recognize your contribution to the organization. It can often help to mentally lay out what you’re going to say before you say it.
4. Don’t over-analyze your performance.
Introverts can be particularly hard on themselves because they often become self-conscious when on public display. Remember not to dwell on “mistakes.” Focus on your successes, and don’t over-analyze your situation.
If you have an interview or presentation coming up, practice a few times in front of the mirror or in front of a friend. The more you do something, the less foreign it becomes.
6. Have a plan.
Prepare for networking events by having a plan laid out. Have a few conversation starters ready, like comments about things most people can discuss, such as current events, movies or books. Making small talk comes more naturally when you find common ground. Or, prepare a 60-second elevator pitch as a quick way to forge relationships.
Take advantage of your strengths.
Many introverts find that they communicate much better online than in-person. Make sure to take advantage of online networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other site for young professionals to gain contacts in a stress-free environment.
Remember, although the workforce can seem overwhelming to an introvert, anyone can learn proper networking and interviewing skills. Good luck!
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Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships(2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.