Networking For Introverts - Real Tips for Real People Who Hate Schmoozing

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Ugh, networking. Sucks, right? Here's a common networking conversation I have with my clients:

Jolene Jobseeker: "It feels like I've been looking for a job forever. My resume is polished and I've submitted it to at least a hundred different online job postings. Crickets. What am I doing wrong?"

Coach Coverletter: "What is your networking strategy?"

Jolene Jobseeker: *Crickets*

Oh, Jolene, if you only knew how much I used to hate networking. In fact, I refused to do it. Not the traditional version, anyway. And the traditional version goes something like this: 

  • Cocktail Mixer, super awkward, "Sorry, what was that? It's too loud!", anxiety attack

  • Chamber of Commerce, bad coffee, "What's that strange smell?", business card shuffle

  • Job Fair, bad coffee, hand sanitizer dispenser is empty, handshake hell

  • Baseball Game, I hate baseball, I can't believe he put ketchup on his Chicago dog, "How is this networking again?" night out

Jolene is an awesome person. I know that she'll work hard, learn anything, go the extra mile, and then go one more. But I know that because I've had the privilege of getting to know her. Her resume, even though it looks strong, doesn't introduce employers to her "awesome". 

When I suggest networking to her, so people can get to know that awesomeness, she recoils. "I hate networking. It scares me. I'm an introvert. I don't like big groups or awkward meetings with strangers. I'd rather email a thousand resumes than go to a single Chamber of Cocktail Job Fair Game."

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