Coping with Shyness
The job search can be torturous for someone who is extremely shy. We're not just talking about a person who is a little bashful, but instead one who has moderate to great difficulty interacting with others. If you find your shyness is acting as a barrier to your career success, keep reading.
Shyness can impact your job search in many ways. While you may be able to deal with it when interacting with people with whom you are familiar, talking to strangers can be very difficult. And what does the job search consist of more often than anything else? Talking to strangers including interviewers, recruiters, and even receptionists.
One way to combat your shyness is to keep a positive attitude about yourself. Try to refrain from negative self-talk, such as “I'm not good enough.” You should be confident that you are worthy of getting hired. Focus on your skills and why they make you a desirable candidate.
If you consider yourself shy, you aren't alone. According to a study published in the mid-1990s by Lynne Henderson and Philip Zimbardo in the
Practicing for the interview can also be helpful, but don't just practice your answers. You should also rehearse greeting the interviewer and shaking his hand. Become comfortable with making and maintaining eye contact. Ask someone to practice with you. Once you have these skills down, practice them on strangers. Go shopping and talk to salespeople. Talk to the teller at the bank or the clerk in the post office. The more you talk to people and the more often you make eye contact, the more comfortable you will become.
Networking can be a nightmare if you are shy. Not only do you have to talk to people you may not know well, you have to ask them for advice. As discussed in Chapter 3, networking is an ongoing process and not just something you have to do while you are job hunting. Hopefully you established your network long before you had to look for work. Remember, your contacts aren't total strangers. They may be people you don't know well, but at least you do know them. If someone in your network refers you to someone you don't know at all and you don't feel comfortable calling that person, send an e-mail instead. Once you've established a relationship via e-mail, it should be easier to make that first phone call.