Trying to get an internship, as a socially anxious student, is like a turtle desperately trying to rip off its shell. Just so it can pretend to be the gregarious lions job industries demand.
But there are ways that people can gently peel off the shell and tuck it away safely for a couple of hours. And they don’t have to grow manes either.
The dreaded cold call. The neglected email. The broken promise that “they’ll be in touch”. The awkward phone call. The checklist – “team worker, social, outgoing” – should I pretend that I’m outgoing?
These are a list of fears (and some realities) that come with the drudgery of finding internships and jobs while socially anxious, shy or introverted. Although shyness, social anxiety and introversion aren’t interchangeable terms, people with these traits experience similar problems when embarking on the job and internship hunt.
Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts’, gives a couple of tips on how to network as an introverted person. I find that this helps, too, in keeping my social anxiety in check during professional settings. Take a look (tips begin around 10:20):
A noteworthy tip to take from this is “The Power Of One And Rule Of Thumb For Networking” – instead of feeling pressured to work the room, find people you think you’ll connect with. Even if it’s only one. Susan calls these “kindred spirits”. Change your perspective into making networking right for you.
In the next post, I’ll be writing other strategies on this topic.
See you next time,