So, you’re an introvert
I was in my mid 40’s when I discovered my preference for introversion. Until then, I thought I was an extravert (extrovert), mainly because I could, and still can, talk with ease to complete strangers. Truth be told, I hoped that my preference was for extraversion, not introversion; simply because society favors extraverts in most aspects of life: school, work, social interaction, and the job search, to name a few. I doubted my acceptance and didn’t speak proudly of my preference until I learned more about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.
Do you remember when you learned your preference for introversion? Were you in doubt like me? Did you have a sense of dread thinking of the stereotypes of introverts, such as shy, loner, standoffish, aloof, recluse, or rude? Furthermore, you may have believed that introverts couldn’t make small talk or associate with important, outgoing people.
But if all of this were true, how were you capable of talking with complete strangers, even approaching them, or want to be with your peers and attend social gatherings? How was it that some of your friends accused you of talking too much? And how have you been able to rub elbows with authorities in your town or city, to make small talk with the best of them? You were behaving more like an extravert, weren’t you? No, you were behaving like an introvert, able to adapt to your setting, and doing all the things mentioned here were a result of your introversion.
Now being an introvert doesn’t seem so bad, does it? In fact, being an introvert has its benefits. You are an intelligent conversationalist. You think before talking and, therefore, don’t make as many faux pas as some of your extraverted friends and colleagues. You are an engaged listener who doesn’t think about what you’ll say next before totally hearing the other person out. Being alone doesn’t upset you; rather, you enjoy going to the movies alone and eating alone. Your friends and family can’t understand this. You love writing and do it well. There are many things about being an introvert that you appreciate, feel comfortable with, and wouldn’t want to change.
There are truths, though, that set introverts apart from extraverts; truths that put introverts at a disadvantage in life and the job search, especially at the all-important interview. Some of the strengths introverts possess can be faults, particularly when it comes to verbal communications. Talking, small talk to be precise, is a challenge for introverts because they feel the need to think before speaking, whereas extraverts will speak before thinking. Because of their inclination to think before talking, introverts are often left out of conversations.
Job Interview Success for Introverts is available at Packt Publishing
Great post, as usual. Small talk is even more challenging if you’re shy as well as introverted, as I am. But challenging isn’t insurmountable. I haven’t read your book yet but I’ll bet there are some good tips there.
Sometimes listening and letting the interviewer talk goes a long way in an interview, too, as I outline in The Introvert’s Guide to Professional Success, along with my other interviewing tips for introverts. Letting others talk is something we introverts can do quite well much of the time!
Joyce Shelleman, PhD, Author of The Introvert’s Guide to Professional Success: How to Let Your Quiet Competence Be Your Career Advantage.
Hi Joyce. Great to hear from you again. My book isn’t very long–only 50 pages–so it can’t possibly cover every aspect of the search. I haven’t been very aggressive in terms of marketing it. Maybe you can give me some pointers.
Hi Bob, I look forward to reading it. I want to reach more introverts because I want them to know how great they are in spite of our culture and to find strategies to work around it and apply their own strengths. I’ve gotten feedback from readers that my book changed their life, even, and I am tremendously honored by that. But I’m not an aggressive marketer either.