As an introverted job-hunter there are some fundamental challenges ahead which stem largely from the need to market yourself combined with your natural aversion to self-promotion.
I have two close friends running their own business and one spends considerable time putting together monthly newsletters, running promotions and other marketing campaigns, the other relies on word-of-mouth for new and repeat business. Both are introverts, and admittedly working in different fields, but it got me thinking that in the current economy where so many people are entrepreneurs and effectively professional one-man-bands, how do introverted job-hunters, or anyone else needing to market themselves or their products/services, do so effectively? Do they get drowned out by their noisier and flashier counterparts? (Interestingly, most marketing people are extroverts!)
What does this mean for introverts who are job-hunting? Is it harder for them to get noticed?
As an introvert myself, I know how excruciatingly painful self-marketing can be, and because there is so much information for potential ‘buyers’ to filter through, it is hard to really stand out. So what’s the answer?
A Few Ideas for Introverted Job-Hunters/Marketeers
I’ve taken an informal approach to my research on this. I’ve spoken to various people running businesses and active job-hunters, and have reflected on the learnings from my own experiences too, and there are a couple of recurring themes that are worth sharing here with you. Any job-hunters reading this should refer to the orange text in each section.
- Introverts find marketing exhausting! Conserve your (marketing) energy and focus on the things that are going to work for you. If your potential clients are only on Instagram, that’s where you need to be! Populating any other platform with your wonderful offering is a total waste of energy. You’ll need to have done your research – worked out who your clients are and where they hangout. Planning the how and where of your job search is critical. You need to understand who your target sector/organisations are, and what avenues they use to hire.
- Make every interaction count and retain the focus of your messaging. This will quickly help to grow your credibility in your chosen area. The shrinking influence of recruitment agencies in the hiring process make direct networking activity imperative. Chose key contacts in your area, get in touch and make those coffee discussions really count!
- Following on from this is your personal branding. So much is talked about this and it is incredibly important. Be consistent. Be genuine and be prepared to share something of value. Quality wins every time over quantity. Having consistent branding (& messaging) across your resume/LinkedIn profile & other publicly accessible profiling, is critical.
- Potential clients like solutions to their problems. Articulate how you can help solve these. Often this is easier for introverts to do than telling the world how fabulous we are! Those potential clients will quickly understand the value that you are able to bring to their particular challenge and potential clients will turn into paying clients. Hiring Managers are not interested in what type of job you want! They’re interested in whether your skill set and experience can solve their problem. Demonstrate the value that you bring.
- Mix with people who can teach you things and are willing to share their own stories. I’ve always found people to be very generous with their greater knowledge and experience. More networking with the right people can be incredibly insightful. It may open doors for you or not, but each interaction should give you more understanding of an organisation, the challenges faced by a sector, a cultural appreciation, how your offering could be of use within a business, etc. Make those interactions count.
These are only a few ideas from a much larger pool for the introverted job-hunter (and other introverted marketers) to consider, but I hope useful ones. Having pondered on this issue for a while, my conclusion is that for introverted job-hunters who have developed quality marketing content (ie. on their resume & LinkedIn, etc) and with a well thought-out job strategy and plan of action, the ability to utilise connections productively and a decent grasp of competencies, the introverts are not at a disadvantage. Good news for all of us!
As an introverted job-hunter or entrepreneur, all of us need help sometimes in putting ourselves out there and it takes courage and a gentle push. Hopefully this article will provide the push you need and help you on your way. Step out of your comfort zone and use these ideas to have a go today! And if anyone is willing to share their introverted marketing story with me, I’d love to hear from you!