by Torski Dobson-Arnold
Dear Career Coach,
I am unemployed and a very shy person and it is difficult for me to reach out and talk to people when it comes to finding a new job. I know what I need to do, but I never know what to say or the best questions to ask. I don’t think that I present myself very well and may be doing more harm than good at this point, which makes me reluctant to try to network at all. What steps can I use to get better at connecting with recruiters at job fairs and career fairs? How can I gain the confidence I need to talk with a person that may be able to help me find employment?
Shy and Looking for a Job
I understand your networking challenges completely. Networking can be very intimidating to some, particularly, if this part of the job search feels forced or unnatural in comparison to your personality.
Networking, however, has the highest return on investment for success in your job search according to local human resource managers in the metro Richmond area. One in four referrals will get the job versus one in 100 applications being chosen as top candidate for the same job. Employee referrals save time, save the company money from job posting and advertising costs and more importantly, deliver the quality and talent that the recruiters seek.
1. One of the easiest ways to connect with recruiter or hiring managers at a job fair event is to invest in the time and research to learn more about the company before attending the job fair. Even if you are naturally shy, you should have questions about what you have read online and want to learn more about how to become part of that organization. In order to get past any nervousness, write the questions down.
2. Go a step further and make a list of what the company looks for in candidates on one side of a sheet of paper and on the other side, make a list of your own experiences and education as to why you’d be a good fit for these characteristics. At this point, you shouldn’t be nervous at all because you are talking about the one topic you know all too well – you!
3. Finally, package these notes into a brief 30-60 second introduction and practice it. Shy, outgoing, or otherwise, one of the main reasons job seekers don’t network well is because they don’t practice and become comfortable in sharing information about themselves. This simple practice will give you the tools not only to gain the confidence you need to get the job, but to network your way up and into growth opportunities once you get into the company.
Torski Dobson-Arnold, The Career Confidence Coach
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org