Job-search advice for extraverts in 2 areas


With the plethora of job-search advice for introverts and approximately zero for extraverts, it must make the E’s feel…unloved. I’d like to give some love to the extraverts, because that’s the kind of nice guy I am. In this post I’ll advise the E’s on mistakes they can avoid.

There are two components of a jobseeker’s marketing campaign, written and verbal communications, where extraverts can use some help. We’ll look at the résumé, networking, and the interview.

1. Written communications. For most, the job search begins with submitting a résumé and possibly a cover letter to the employer. The act of writing a résumé can sometimes be problematic for extraverts, who prefer speaking than writing.

Introverts, on the other hand, prefer writing than conversing and as a rule excel in this area. The I’s are more reflective and take their time to write a résumé. They prepare by researching the position and company–almost to a fault.

Extraverts must resist the urge to hastily write a résumé that fails to accomplish: addressing the job requirements in order of priority, highlighting relevant accomplishments, and promoting branding. One excuse I hear from my extraverted customers for faltering in this area is that they’ll nail the interview. At this point I tell them they ain’t getting to the interview without a résumé to get them there.

Where the E’s can shine in this area of the job search is the distribution of their written material. They are natural networkers who understand the importance of getting the résumé into the hands of decision makers, and as such should resist simply posting their résumé to every job board out there. This is where the I’s can take a lesson from their counterpart, the ability to network with ease.

2.Verbal communications. Speaking of networking; extraverts are generally more comfortable than introverts when it comes to attending formal networking events. But not all E’s are master networkers. The main faux pas for poor networkers is loquaciousness, which is a fancy word for talking too much. While I’s are often accused of not talking enough, the E’s have to know when to shut the motor–a tall order for some E’s.

stop talkingNetworking isn’t about who can say the most in a three-hour time period. Take a lesson from the I’s who listen to what others have to say. People appreciate being listened to.

Many of my extraverted customers tell me they talk too much, and some have admitted they botch interviews because they–you got it–talk too much. Some of them say they can’t help it. E’s are known to be very confident at interviews, which is a good thing. But they can also be over confident which leads them to ignore the tenets of good interviewing. That’s a bad thing.

At interviews extraverts must keep in mind that it’s not a time to control the conversation. The interviewer/s have a certain number of questions they want to ask the candidates, so it’s best to answer them succinctly while also supplying the proper amount of information.

Lou Adler writes in a recent article this about answers that are too long: “The best answers are 1-2 minutes long….Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.”

There has to be a middle ground, referred to by folks like Daniel Pink as ambiverts, when it comes to reaching the right amount of talking and listening at networking events and interviews. Accordingly, extraverts who “score” slight in clarity on the continuum (11-13) are more likely to be better listeners, as well as comfortable with small talk. This is likely true for introverts who also score in the slight range.

When it comes to written and verbal communications in the job search, extraverts have to be cognizant of taking their time constructing their résumés and knowing when it’s time to listen as opposed to talking too much. Without understanding the importance of effective written and verbal communications, the job search for the E’s can be a long haul.

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7 thoughts on “Job-search advice for extraverts in 2 areas

  1. Good advice for extraverts. Lovable as they are, they can sometimes be overwhelming. But extraverts can always remember that a key strength is their personal warmth. It allows for much to be forgiven. Another point they might remember is to note whether the interviewer is an extravert like themselves or an introvert. If an introvert, then they will need to be even more conscious of how much, how long, and how loudly they talk.

    I advise introverts similarly: pay attention to whether the interviewer is an introvert (same advice applies) or an extravert. If he/she is extraverted, you will need to make a greater effort to connect in some way because extraverts crave it just as much as you might not.

    Joyce Shelleman, Ph.D.
    Author, The Introvert’s Guide to Professional Success: How to Let Your Quiet Competence Be Your Career Advantage

  2. Thanks, Joyce. I think both types can adapt to a situation and exercise their introvert/extravert side. For the extravert it’s writing a thoughtful resume or proposal, for the introvert it’s engaging in small talk at a networking event or interview; but the ruse can’t be sustained for too long.

    On a personal note, my wife and I were invited to a dinner at an acquaintance of ours. Thoughts of how long we’ll be there are consuming me already. Ten or eleven would be suitable but later encroaches on my introverted tendency for for downtime.

    To your first point about extraverts being lovable, this is true. It’s also true they can be overwhelming at times. This is when I need an exit. So, Joyce, what are you, Intro or Extra?

    • Bob, I am proud to be an introvert although some wouldn’t believe it at times. But that’s because in situations where they are very comfortable, introverts can be just as outgoing. The trick is to create those situations when needed – which doesn’t require becoming an extravert.

      You and I would get along well at that dinner party. Hopefully you’ll be seated next to someone who’s sympathetic. :-)

      • See, safe not to assume…I think it’s obvious I’m an introvert.

        About dinner parties, etc., I’m trying to make my wife see that having a departure time is best for me; maybe a signal when it’s time to leave or a designated time. I’ve even suggested driving in separate cars, but she’s against that. The worst for me is an overly talkative person (introvert or extravert), because it leaves me no space to express my thoughts. There aren’t many people who I’d just listen to.

      • Agreed. Bores are not fun. The signal sounds like an excellent plan. I too have suggested the separate vehicle plan (it’s a long tradition in my family but that’s a tale for another day…) and it was not well-received. I won’t ask your wife’s type because I suspect what’s really important is that we’re all different and it helps to find compromises when the issues aren’t life or death.

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