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5 Networking Tips for Shy People

5 Networking Tips for Shy People

Margaret Steen | HotJobs

Network, network, network: It’s the most common advice job seekers hear. And it’s good advice — in a recent HotJobs poll, 58 percent of respondents said that networking had helped them land their most recent job.

But for people who aren’t naturally outgoing, the very idea of networking can cause a lot of anxiety. Many of us dread “schmoozing” with large groups of people.

The good news for those people is that networking isn’t just about working a crowd. In fact, introverts have some qualities that work to their advantage.

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“Introverts are usually excellent listeners. They reflect before speaking, and they enjoy one-on-one conversations,” says Janet Civitelli, a workplace psychologist and the owner of career advice site

In fact, networking is about building relationships, and that can be done one-on-one, in groups, or online via social networking.

Networking in groups is usually the most difficult for introverts, but “all three can be valuable in different ways,” says Wendy Gelberg, the author of “The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career.”

Experts offer these tips to help introverts build the strongest networks they can — even in group settings:

Broaden your networking goal.
If you simply ask people you meet if they know of any job openings, you’ll likely be disappointed.

“Most people in the world are not walking around with jobs in their pocket,” Gelberg says. “We talk about networking as a tool for a job search, but it’s not always a linear, direct process.”

Instead, Gelberg advises, redefine networking as a mutual exchange. Perhaps someone you meet could give you advice on your resume — or maybe you could help someone you meet with a job search or professional development. If you’re on the shy side, offering something may be easier than asking for something.

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