Do you find you struggle to land a job because you’re introverted? If so, you may benefit from the book The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide, which you may place on hold through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.
“even wallflowers can blossom”: thoughts on introversion
In her Introduction, Author Jane Finkle immediately states that introversion and extroversion are not etched in stone, but mere moving preferences–ideal “situational” comfort zones. Finkle declaratively confides she is an introvert, yet touts the fine balance between extroversion and introversion equally. She characterizes her older brother’s extroversion as demanding of Mom’s “attention with nonstop chatter” yet speaking “freely to any stranger in his path.”
She continues that balancing act: “My grandmother’s entrepreneurial spirit was supported by my quiet immigrant grandfather, who was content staying behind the scenes. And my socially timid father chronically complained of upcoming social gatherings, though in the end he thoroughly enjoyed such events despite his reticent nature.”
Jane Finkle’s long familial line of introversion includes her own willingness to listen to stories and come up “with ways to solve their problems” then “helping them rewrite a chapter in their lives that would lead to a happy ending” which led her “to a career in counseling.” As a result, she toots the proverbial “introvert’s” horn saying “listeners by design, introverts prefer to take in all pertinent information before speaking, but then often surprise their audience by making relevant, thoughtful contributions.”
The elephant in the room, according to Jane Finkle, is that “In America, we live in a culture that favors extroversion” which leads to many introverts questioning “their personal value and ability to compete in the face of market changes.” In contrast, introversion does not impede success. Although “Asian cultures and some African cultures identified more closely with introversion” related to “tradition, conservatism, and compliance…Asian Americans are the best educated, earn the highest incomes, and constitute the fastest growing racial group in the United States.”
Introverts may feel invisible like a wallflower, but Finkle notes that “even wallflowers can blossom!” Author Jane Finkle encourages introverts to assess themselves to discover their values and put their strengths on display. She ultimately prods all readers to strive for “rewarding” work where “your daily tasks and work environment are aligned with your career values.”
How introverts can succeed in the job search
In Chapter 3, Finkle encourages introverts to tell results-oriented stories using the résumé, even if they are uncomfortable blowing their own horn. Listing achievements and personal brand using short-and-sweet descriptions along with keywords are résumé writing trends, she continues, and of course we can help you at our Career Center. We have downloadable templates here to trigger your résumé’s starting line which the author defines as “focusing on your industry/field and target audience.” She then dives into achievements which makes me think of specific goals met that enhanced your organization’s effectiveness. For example, did you compose new manuals to maintain consistent training, or develop a website or brochure, or simplify Frequently Asked Questions? These are essential to making any organization function better and if you are a change agent, then toot that horn, because these accomplishments should not go unnoticed.
Chapter 4’s Promote Yourself in Real Time delves into examples, such as creating blogs like this one or updating your LinkedIn page to make it more current? Jane Finkle demonstrates that social media “is a perfect marketing tool for introverts” since it allows “exposure to support your professional development while respecting your need for adequate privacy.”
Talk to Strangers, as Chapter 5 encourages, might seem audacious at first, but in reality stepping out of your comfort zone might be the best thing ever. I remember first presenting at a local conference after the organizer stated quite frankly that she was always looking for an opportunity to state her thoughts, even though she was polite and thoughtful and did not come off as pushy. Now I am not saying you must go out and present at the next convention, but as Jane Finkle states, “use your inquisitive nature” to “consider what truly matters to you and what you want to say” and “form solid relationships”.
Eventually you will get The Interview (see Chapter 6), Navigate a Job Offer (Chapter 7), Onboard (8), then finally Survive and Thrive (9) by setting short-term goals then achieving them using your talents and interests to solve problems, commit to learning, and meet experts and leaders, which, in my opinion, you were already doing from the beginning. She aptly closes: “Embrace your introversion as a familiar friend, and challenge its nature now and again by periodic bold moves. In time these won’t seem so bold at all, just another variation of your theme.”
Written by Andre de la Fuente