Introverted or Shy? Challenge in Business and Job Search

Listen on a conversation on Twitter between @CincyRecruiter@Animal with an interjection from @Jerry_Albright :

Shy or introverted in the job search?

Animal: How many job hunters do U know who’ve seen ads on job boards & used network to get intro to hiring mgr? @CincyRecruiter

CincyRecruiter: @Animal “Most” people *aren’t* that bold/well-connected. But job seekers 2day have 2 get our of comfort zone/behave differently to get jobs

Jerry_Albright: @CincyRecruiter @Animal I disagree. You cannot coach someone into a different personality trait – that would include “bold.

CincyRecruiter: @Jerry_Albright @Animal People do uncomfortable things every day to be successful. For example – I’m an Introvert who networks for a living.

JulieWalraven: @CincyRecruiter @Animal Me too! I’m out here on social media, you put me in a crowd without a role, I’m shy and to some extent introverted.

I always struggled with that thing they call “shyness.”

Yet, I work with people every day and have been in “people” jobs or roles my whole life.

I was fine if I was leading.

As a junior in high school, I joined an Explorer Post and was elected president.

I was fine if I was helping.

In college, working at the bookstore or the YMCA front desk and as a customer service representative and new accounts manager in two savings & loans, I was fine.

In the career industry, face-to-face with thousands of clients as well as non-profits and organizations like Kiwanis Club of Wausau, and Wausau Whitewater in marketing and management roles, I was fine. With Wausau Whitewater, lines of people surrounded me, asking questions and interacting, but I was fine.

On social media, I’m out there, not bold but I interact.

Not the way my friend, Dawn Bugni, interacts on Twitter. She doesn’t have any shyness. She’s tweeting genuine concern to people about topics such as pets or job searches or even new stoves.

I think that what @CincyRecruiter said is true though. CincyRecruiter: @Animal Agree Introvert doesn’t necessarily = shy but 4 me personally – not my natural tendency. I had to learn how to do it & push myself.

Adaptive behavior will work in most social settings.

If your goal is to network, you can teach yourself to be bold. Your choice in business orYou can be the shy, introverted wallflower, or you can decide that your next job or next business gig is too important to let those feelings overwhelm you. a job search is to let your natural tendency to be shy and introverted take over or learn how to do it and push yourself.

Put yourself in situations where you will have to interact.

You can start on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or comment on blogs.

At some point, you need to take it out into the real world.

Startsmall, invite someone you don’t know well to lunch and get to know them better, go to a Chamber or other community organization gathering, or volunteer in the community. Increase your visibility, increase your network, and increase the conversation.

You can be the shy, introverted wallflower, or you can decide that your next job or next business gig is too important to let those feelings overwhelm you. What about you? Are you naturally gregarious and highly sociable or do you too have a little of that shy, introverted personality trying to take over?

Learn to be bold. You can.

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer and career marketing strategist, can help you get ready for your next role! To find out how, Click here!

Introverted or Shy? Challenge in Business and Job Search


  1. Cindy Kraft on December 17, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Great post, Julie. I can relate because I, too, am shy AND introverted. The two are different although they are used interchangeably all the time.

    Introversion and extroversion really speak to where a person gets their energy. Someone who is introverted recharges in a quiet, serene environment. We can certainly do parties and groups, but they are exhausting and we then need to retreat to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, come more alive around people. For them, being alone for too long is a downer.

    And I agree, social media is the shy person’s friend!

  2. Jennifer McClure on December 17, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Of course I agree with you Julie – because you agree with me! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience and insights as a professional who is “out there” helping and interacting with people, who is also an Introvert. In my experience, Introverts are really misunderstood (but I think we all tend to not understand people who aren’t like us).

    I wrote a post on my blog earlier this year about Introverts that probably generated more response than any other that I’ve written so far. Many Introverts responded with a “thanks for describing me in a way that makes sense to me”, while many who know me personally responded with “I had no idea YOU are an Introvert”. It was also interesting that I received far more emailed responses than Comments on the blog – I guess Introverts prefer to connect in private. 🙂

    It’s great to share your experiences here on your blog and otherwise – to encourage other Introverts who may think that their natural tendencies limit their success – and also to help the Extroverts of the world to understand us!

  3. Recruiting Animal on December 17, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Good posting. I read a book once that advised people to take volunteer positions in organizations because the role gives them something to talk about with other people.

    The Brazen Careerist once posted an article about how to work a room. You just have to act like a journalist she said repeating what a journalist told her. But that’s not true. If you’re a journalist, that gives you a basis on which you can approach people. It also gives you a structure to follow to which the other person
    will presumably conform.

    When you can’t say that you’re a journalist what do you say for an opener? And what topics do you pursue. And is the other person going to let you simply ask questions?

    Being able to carry on a conversation with strangers is something that comes naturally to some people but most people have to learn how to do it just like they have to learn how to dance.

    And if you go to many parties you’ll find that most people can’t dance and they’re not very interesting. Because they’re not naturals and they’ve never learned.

    PS: I think that the content of the twitter conversation is the attributions are confusing.

    Better written as:

    CincyRecruiter: People do uncomfortable things everyday to be successful. For example – I’m an Introvert who networks for a living.

  4. Julie on December 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Jennifer, thanks for visiting. I visited your earlier post and found it very interesting. In many ways, I network better than many introverts just because of years of practice. If though there are times when I feel overwhelmed and stymied in a social setting and I usually have choices, how hard it is for someone who really struggles to even talk to people to have to network through a job search. I really encourage small steps for those people.

    I talked about this at lunch with a friend and we both decided that we fall a bit in the middle. She hates to be alone but she doesn’t like globs of people either. If I am alone, eventually I start calling people or chatting with Twitter. I’m not truly a need quiet space to be happy.

  5. TJ on December 18, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Interesting post Julie, thanks! Reminds me of 2 favorite sayings:
    ~ Self confidence and self consciousness are simply two ways we choose to look at ourselves. (from years ago)
    ~ Just imagine for a moment, The amazing, life changing things we could do. If we could just get one thing out of our way: Ourselves! (wisdom from the shower just yesterday)

    Having been a sales rep for almost 10 years, and the product manager/schmoozer working trade shows and customer presentations for 10 more, most people dont believe me when I tell them I was shy. Still can be reserved at times.

    You hit on a key element for many people. When in defined roles, its MUCH easier to simply ‘be’ that role, so less self consciousness. But at undefined events like parties were mingling, it can be more challenging to know how to interact. A couple thoughts:
    ~ All of the really amazing and wonderful people in your life now, were once strangers. The next person you talk to could become your next life long friend! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    ~ Most people find it easy to talk about themselves. Ask a mother about her kids, a business owner about their company, or any other passion…
    ~ Nothing is worse than someone who wont stop talking about themselves at a party. Makes many people want to run, but their manners stop them.
    ~ Listen actively. Most people feel like they are very seldom heard. And they like it.
    ~ Just be yourself. Everyone else is taken. No one should expect any of us to be perfectly smooth, or even perfect.

    TGIF, and week one is wrapping up for you! Bet that feels pretty darn good, huh?

    (Did the photo bloggy thing show up? Gotta remember to check)

  6. Bridget Haymond on December 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Great blog post Julie and very relevant for the holiday season when parties will be in abundance. All these comments are great food for thought as well.

    I think I am a selective, intentional extrovert. I avoid energy draining people as much a possible, and value my down time to recharge.

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging others with this post!

  7. Ted Bratton on January 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for tweeting this I found it very interesting. I didn’t know you were shy. I am introverted/shy and it is even hard for me to interact on social media but I am pushing myself and I will continue to take those steps.

    • Julie Walraven on January 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      All my life, Ted… I just don’t show it all the time. Thanks for reading. Keep interacting… social media is actually the safest place for an introvert to practice. And then when you take those relationships to another level with a Skype or phone conversation, it is so much better.

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