Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 24th 2015 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 24, 2015
People who are shy or introverted often tell
me they feel at a disadvantage during the job
search process, with its emphasis on social
interaction and self-promotion. After all, if
you're shy, you're uncomfortable in the spot-
light, and having to promote yourself puts the
spotlight squarely on you.
And if you're an introvert - you may or may
not also be shy - you derive your energy from
reflection and ideas, and the social demands
of networking and interviewing can feel daunt-
Nevertheless, there are advantages to being
shy or introverted that you can capitalize on
as you approach your search.
Here are five of those advantages.
1. Ability to Listen
The single most important skill in any social
encounter is listening, and people who are shy or
introverted tend to listen well.
Listening is essential to the networking
process because it enables you to understand the
needs and circumstances of the other person. By
tuning in to that person, you refocus the
spotlight and, more importantly, you gather
information that enables you to offer helpful
information or resources to that person, the
sometimes-neglected part of the "information
exchange" that defines the networking process.
Good listening skills are key in the interview
process, as well. Your strong listening skills can
help you gather information during the
interview to determine if the job is a good fit for
In addition, your listening skills will enable
you to fully understand what the interviewer is
asking so that your answer is focused and you
are less likely to go off on a tangent.
2. Tendency to Think Before You Speak
Overlapping with good listening skills if you're
an introvert is your tendency to think before you
Some introverts view this as a flaw because
they see more extroverted people jumping right
in and answering questions with apparent ease,
never at a loss for words. However, quite often,
those same extroverts are giving long-winded,
unfocused answers that don't even address the
By taking extra time to organize your
thoughts, you are less likely to ramble or speak
Your well thought out answers will be
refreshing to the hiring manager or HR
professional in contrast to the more common
3. Desire for In-Depth Information
If you're an introvert, you typically enjoy
understanding things deeply.
This is an advantage in motivating you to
prepare for interviews and networking
encounters by doing some background research.
Preparation will help you develop questions to
ask in an interview and will provide you with
information that other candidates haven't taken
the time to find out about the employer.
Employers are impressed with job seekers who
take the initiative to do this kind of research.
In addition, preparation will help you
anticipate questions and formulate answers, to
help you provide clear and concise answers.
Oftentimes, extroverts, in particular, don't take
the time to prepare - they mistakenly believe
that, because social encounters come easily to
them, they don't need to do any special
4. Understated Manner
Extroverts have told me that sometimes they
think their energy overwhelms or overpowers
People who are shy or introverted don't
typically have that problem. Not only is their
manner not overwhelming, oftentimes their
message isn't, either.
Rather than sounding boastful or full of hype,
it comes across as straightforward and matter-
of-fact, sincere and genuine. Definitely an
5. Good Chemistry with Shy/Introverted
Did you know that nearly 50% of the
population describe themselves as shy? And
anywhere between 25% and 50% are thought to
be introverts. You stand a pretty good chance of
being interviewed and hired by someone much
Recognize and embrace the strengths you
bring to the table, and use your introverted or
shy qualities to their fullest advantage.
Good listening skills are key in
the interview process, as well.
Your strong listening skills can
help you gather information
during the interview to determine
if the job is a good fit for you.
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