The job search is a major struggle, and for introverts, that process can be overwhelming and very much out of our comfort zones. I spent almost 8 months actively looking for a job after graduating from college, and honestly, that was grueling. I felt like I was putting on a mask every time I went to an interview, and answering my phone every time it rang, ready to sound enthusiastic and professional, was absolutely exhausting. Interviews riddled me with anxiety and my one job fair experience was an introvert’s worst nightmare!
I had to remind myself frequently that my skills and experience were enough (thanks for the confidence, imposter syndrome…) and that the right job was out there. Thankfully, I did find a job that I love, and although I do have to endure an open office (I found a helpful article on Introvert, Dear about this topic.), I know I am fortunate to be enjoying what I do at work. So here are a few things to keep in mind as you dive into a job search.
1. Realize it’s going to take longer than you think.
As an INTJ, I tend to look at things in the big picture and focus on where I want to be, rather than where I am. This means I sometimes set unrealistic goals and expectations for myself that usually backfire. I was unemployed for a lot longer than I had planned, and I wish someone would have better explained to me how long it could take. The job search for your “dream job” will not happen overnight. It won’t even happen in a month or two. Understand this from the beginning, and you’re off to a good start!
2. Stay positive.
I’m definitely a “glass half-empty” type, and keeping the little voice in my head from spilling out all of the negative, overwhelming thoughts was a challenge. My natural instinct as an introvert is to isolate and keep my emotions to myself, so I had to constantly remember to keep a positive attitude and surround myself with positive influences. I can’t stress how important it is to stay connected with family, friends, and your church group. The quickest way to beat those overwhelming thoughts is to talk it out with someone you trust.
3. Keep organized.
We introverts love our routines and organization processes, so why not apply that to the job search! Having an organized file system and saved bookmarks and passwords for job sites on your computer is key. I also recommend setting reminders to send follow-up emails and thank yous. Nothing soothes the heart of an anxious introvert more than going through a process and making it more efficient!
4. Give yourself time to recharge.
Allow yourself some space between interviews, job fairs, and other events. There were some weeks that I felt so overwhelmed about being unemployed, so pushed even harder to get more interviews. I ended up completely falling apart and was socially and emotionally exhausted. Once I gave myself “time off” from the job search, I was able to recharge and move forward. Even if it’s just coffee with a friend or a movie night with your significant other, give yourself a break. I also took some time away from all technology at one point, and almost instantly felt less stressed.
5. Take advantage of professional services.
I was so hesitant asking for professional help from a career counselor. I didn’t want to admit that I needed help (another lovely INTJ trait), and asking a complete stranger for help was terrifying. I really dislike revealing my life to people I don’t know, so this was a huge step for me personally. Although I didn’t get my job that I have now as a result from meeting with a professional, I still value that experience. What I learned was so helpful in interviews, and meeting with a counselor helped me gain a little confidence. Sometimes, we introverts need that extra push and encouragement to put ourselves out there.
So I hope some of this helps my fellow introverts. Happy job hunting!
Share your job search story in the comments! I’d love to know how you, as an introvert, dealt with the stress of the job search. Click here for my Introvert content!