Category Archives: blogging

5 phases of the introvert’s journey to landing interviews

Ask anyone. They’ll tell that interviews are tough. Some will say they’re tougher for introverts than extraverts. Introverts, they argue, don’t make small talk as well as extraverts. They don’t come across as outgoing or friendly. They’re not as likeable. They get easily flustered. This is bunk.

Man interview

Here’s a fact; interviews are tough for both of those who prefer introversion or extraversion. Are they equally tough for both dichotomies? This is hard to say. Another fact is that introverts can shine in interviews, but they must be successful completing all phases that lead to and include the interview.

For the sake of this article, I’ll assert that interviews demand characteristics that introverts might find more difficult to master than their counterpart. Introverts might have to focus or concentrate more during certain phases of the interview process.

It all begins with research

Introverts are strong researchers. And this carries them through the process of landing interviews. The steps that lead to interviews require them to be prepared. They can’t cheat on any of the phases that follow.

Researching the job description and contacting people in the company can help them with writing their résumés, as they should be tailored to each job. Understanding the required skills and responsibilities is essential.

Similarly, researching the job description will help them answer the tough interview questions. They must go further and study the company’s website, use Google, perhaps Glassdoor.com, and read press releases to gain a full understanding of the company. Researching  the company will help them answer question about the company.

To take it a step further, it would behoove them to use labor market websites so they can answer questions about their industry and the company’s competition. Interviewers will be extremely impressed if job candidates can speak to their competition.


Writing compelling job-search marketing literature

This is a phase of the interview process where introverts can really succeed. They enjoy writing and are reluctant to pick up the phone. As I was explaining to my clients, the nice thing about writing their job-search documents is that have time to collect their thoughts.

Introverts will spend more time constructing their marketing literature, e.g., résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. There can be a risk in spending too much time during the writing phase of the job search, so introverts need to be able to say “done” and not obsess over getting it perfect.

This speaks to the ability to process information. Introverts prefer writing because they can take their time formulating their thoughts. Generally, they spend more time writing than speaking to communicate.

Introverts need to take it a step further and disseminate their résumé in a more effective way. Pundits believe that the success rate of sending one’s résumé to employer via job boards is 4%-10%. Further, there’s the applicant tracking system (ATS) to contend with.

Therefore, it’s important that introverts deliver their résumé/cover letter directly to hiring decision makers, as well as through the job boards. This is a tall order for some introverts, because it requires…you guessed it, networking.

Read: 10 reasons why recruiters and hiring managers dread reading your resume.


Now it’s time to network

Networking can be intimidating for anyone. The word connotes gathering in a large group of people you don’t know and being forced to make conversation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Networking should be looked at as “connecting with others.”

Generally speaking, introverts are excellent listeners who come across as truly interested in what others have to say. This can be a benefit while networking. Along with being great listeners, introverts tend to ask questions, which their networking cohorts appreciate.

Keep in mind that one’s preference for introversion or extraversion is about energy level. It’s not about one’s ability to speak. Introverts generally don’t have the energy level and/or the inclination to be with people after a hard day of job hunting.

Because introverts are thoughtful thinkers and excellent listeners, connecting with others can be a strength, not a weakness. They need to keep the following in mind:

  • Establish a doable goal. Introverts don’t have to “work the room”; they can talk with two or three people and call it a successful day.
  • Networking is a two-way street. Don’t go to an event expecting only to receive. Go to give as well.
  • Approach people with the appearance of confidence, even if they’re shaking in their boots. Once conversations begin, the confidence will come.
  • Ask questions. People like to be asked questions about themselves.
  • Always bring personal business cards. This very popular article explains why they’re needed and what to include on them:
  • Finally, don’t assume networking can only occur in a formal setting. Other great ways of connecting with others is by creating buddy groups, which are smaller and more intimate; connect in the community; and schedule coffee dates.

The ever-important interview

What happens before the interview? The correct answer is preparation.

What too many people fail to realize is that preparation is key. With preparation comes confidence, with confidence comes better performance. Introverts are masters at research.

Introverts learn best by studying and researching information and then reflecting upon that information. They internalize what they learn and often put it to writing. In some of my workshops I ask the attendees to write 10 STAR accomplishments on index cards. This helps them remember their accomplishments better.

It’s great that introverts prepare for interviews by studying the job description, the companies website, and labor market information; however, they need to network in large groups or meet-ups, where they can gather important information.

Real-time labor market research, e.g., networking, is sometimes the best way to gather important information.

Listening is an introverts’ strength

Being a great listener can also be beneficial in an interview, where it’s important to hear the questions being asked and not trying to answer the questions without hearing them through. The ability to listen also comes across as being interested in the conversation.

What’s the flip-side of talking too much? That’s right, not talking enough. Here’s where introverts need to be mindful and demonstrate their value through answers that aren’t too short, nor aren’t to long. It’s a tough balancing act.

Be ready to answer tough interview questions

This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

With their inclination to research the position, company, and the competition, introverts should be prepared to answer tough interview question, such as behavioral-based ones. They should have their stories ready structured in the STAR format. For those unfamiliar:

S is the situation

T is the task in the situation

A is the action taken to solve the situation

R is the result of their actions.

Read this article to get a better idea of behavioral-based questions.

Whereas introverts might not talk enough, extraverts tend to talk too much. We’ve heard people bemoan, “He must be an extrovert. He talks way too much.” This is believed be true because extraverts aren’t as comfortable with silence as introverts are.


Finally, follow-up

Here’s where introverts can really shine. Given their preference to write, thank you notes should be no problem for them. There are well-stated rules for writing follow-up notes, though.

  • The thank you notes must arrive 12-24 hours after the interview.
  • Every thank you note needs to be tailored to each interviewer. No formatted notes allowed.
  • Do more than thank each individual for their time. Put more effort into it, such as bringing up a point of interest that was mentioned during the interview.
  • Also send a thank you note to the recruiter. They greatly appreciate them, and it keeps the recruiters in your network.

Failing to send a thank you note is failing to conclude the interview. I’ve been told by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers that they appreciate thank you notes. They really do. A few of them have said that not sending one can disqualify job candidates.

 

 

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3 more reasons why job seekers should blog

Part two of a two-part series.

I wrote, in an earlier blog, three reason why job seekers should blog. They are: it demonstrates their ability to write, it helps brand them, and it’s a great way to network.

blogging3

My idea for writing part one of this series came from my recollection of my two daughters’ penchant for writing; the older one preferred academic essays and the youngest preferred fiction.

Here are three more reasons why you as a job seeker should blog.

1. You’ll feel more productive and learn from writing

Writing about what you know requires processing your knowledge to put it to paper—or in most cases your computer screen. When I write about the job search, it makes me think about what is important to my audience, as well as how to express it.

You will learn more about your industry by blogging, as you’ll have to conduct research in order for your posts to be accurate. One benefit of blogging for me is that I often use what I write as fodder for my career-search workshops. Essentially, I leverage my writing.

It’s believed that one must blog on a consistent basis. You may want to start by blogging once a month, then twice a month, and maybe weekly. Hitting these goals will further give you a sense of productivity. I generally try to blog once a week.

2. More people will witness your expertise

Whether you’re blogging about your industry or job search, you can publish it on your own blog or a third-party blog. LinkedIn is a common third-party platform for blogging. The expertise you share with your audience will be there for as long as the blog sites exist. Personally, I use WordPress, Recruiter.Com, and LinkedIn. I don’t foresee either of them disappearing soon.

There are many platforms on which you can publish your posts. The top three are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Others include Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, and many more. Your audience can then share what you’ve written with their connections, followers, friends, etc. The information you share can go viral, as they say.

Hopefully you’ll continue to blog after you land your next job. I know people who begin writing great content but then suddenly stop. Documenting your expertise is great, but doing it on a regular basis keeps it topical.

3. It educates your readers

Related to number one, you can help other job seekers learn more about your and their industry. I educate my readers on the job search and LinkedIn. I’ve been contacted by people who are in the job search, as well as job-search educators, who tell me that they’ve learned a great deal from me. This is a good feeling.

One of the goals of networking is sharing what you know with other job seekers. Your shared knowledge can be a gift; it might be the reason why job seekers land their next gig.

One reason I gave for blogging in the previous post is branding yourself. If you blog consistently and for a long period of time, you could become known as an authority on your industry, whether it’s High Tech, Social Media, Finance, Medical, etc.


This post, along with the first one I wrote, marks six reasons why job seekers should blog while searching for a job. It’s not only important to keep the momentum going while you’re hunting for work; it’s also important to continue sharing your knowledge while you’re working.

3 reasons why job seekers should blog

My two daughters used to love writing. My oldest preferred expository writing, while my youngest loved dabbling in creative writing, primarily poetry that had taken on an inner angst slant. I loved reading their essays and stories. Proofreading and editing them was a pleasure.

Blogging2

My youngest daughter once asked me if I write. I told her that I do, and she asked if I write for work. This was a tough question to answer because I don’t get paid for blogging, but I see the doors it opens. Blogging is an investment in the future. How do you explain this to a 13-year-old kid?

Now, I tell my clients that blogging can be beneficial to their job search. I’m often met with reactions like, “Be real, Bob.” Here’s what I tell them about blogging for their job search.

Demonstrates your ability to write

If you enjoy writing and are particularly good at it, blogging gives you the perfect platform. Keep in mind that what you write will be read by people who hope to gain some advice from your writing, not your memoir or short stories based on your college years.

Enjoying the act of writing makes it easier to maintain a consistent schedule of posts. Start with one every other week and then increase them to a point where you are blogging once a week.

If you need trusted people to proofread your posts before sending them out, don’t be afraid to ask. Some of my clients have run their posts by me. My comments were usually: “You’re instincts are correct. Run with it.”

It enhances your brand

Blogging is one of many ways you can enhance your online presence. It demonstrates your expertise in your field, especially if what you write is educational and of use to your readers. This means you need to understand the needs of your audience.

I encourage my clients to blog to demonstrate their expertise. “Everyone in this room is an expert at what you do,” I tell them. This is true. From the purchasing agent to the nurse to the software engineer, they all have knowledge to share.

When recruiters, hiring managers, and HR read your posts, they’ll learn more about your expertise and personality than any résumé you write. Use your professional voice. Begin with a story, if you like. Just remember that the purpose of your posts are to educate your audience.

Also, keep your content positive; refrain from bashing former employers. This is one way to severely damage your brand. I’ve seen people submit negative posts on LinkedIn, which remain in the minds of LinkedIn users.

On the plus side, one of my clients went to an interview where the VP of marketing commented that he saw one of my client’s posts shared on LinkedIn. The VP was very impressed with my client’s expertise and offered him the job shortly after the interview.

It’s a great way to network

The third and final reason to blog is to network on social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Provide links in your posts to other bloggers’ posts. They will receive a ping telling them you’ve done this.

Other ways to acknowledge bloggers is by sharing their posts with your LinkedIn connections, tweeting and re-tweeting them, commenting on them, sharing them in your groups, etc. These are all effective ways to develop and strengthen your network.

You’ll find that by supporting other bloggers you will receive some love in return. I wrote a post on the qualities of being a curator called To share is golden. This post illustrates how important it is to not only blog, but to share the work of others. I also listed who I consider to be great curators, and I add to the list from time to time.


So, how do you begin? A connection of mine listened to me bemoan about how I wanted to blog, until she told me to simply do it. After a year of putting it off I finally wrote my first blog with my free WordPress account. And now I consistently blog at least one post a week.

Don’t wait like I did to blog. And think of something that really interests you about your occupation. Don’t expect your first post to be a hit—although it may be. Be patient and stick with it.

You don’t have a WordPress account. LinkedIn makes it easy for first-time bloggers. You can “write an article on the platform,” precluding the need to open a free WordPress account (as I did). The mechanics are straightforward. On your LinkedIn homepage you select “Write an article” and take it from there.


I hope my daughters continue writing in their later years because it is rewarding to the soul. They are excellent writers who will someday make significant contributions to this valuable art. Who knows, maybe one of them will be famous for their writing. One can only hope.

Now read three more reasons why job-seekers should blog.

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