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Networking For Introverts 101

Being an introvert is the bee’s knees. It’s perfectly acceptable to spend weekends curled in bed inhaling the soothing stream of coffee steam dancing up from our mugs while browsing Pinterest for holiday gift ideas. And, it’s perfectly acceptable to do this every weekend. This downtime is so crucial to an introvert’s sanity; it calms us from all of the take incredible advantage of it. Here’s a quick guide on how:

If:         You prefer writing over speaking...

Then:   You are a contemplative bad-ass.

This is the best time to really develop all of the wonderfully rich ideas you have stored in your mind. Written dialogue allows you to show really how thoughtful you are, whereas verbal dialogue can be intimidating and prevents you from coherently expressing the knowledge that you know you have. A blog is the best way to show this because you can develop deeper ideas about whatever it is you’re passionate about. Here, the thoughtfulness invested into your ideas is the selling point, not flowery chit-chat over coffee.

If:         You’re “too tired”

Then:   Bull.

Just kidding, I feel for you. Introverts in particular get drained from a day of classes with partner discussions, meeting with group mates and cumbersome small talk in lines at the Avenue. After dealing with all of this, it’s totally natural to want to want to slump into a pile of nothingness in your room. But remember, the time you use to relax must always carry an element of productivity, no matter how little.

If you’re interested in a particular job, do your research. Do just a bit of it at each downtime. Key word: each. By keeping tabs on the job or role that you’re interested in, you’re far more likely to commit to it. You don’t have to go out and seek current employees to ask them about the company--at least not yet. You have the amazing advantage of using downtime to truly understand the company. Extroverts may be quick to jump at opportunities and impress employers with their savvy social skills. Introverts however, save the physical networking for the final straw. In the meantime, we stick to what we enjoy doing: spending countless hours online in the comfort of our beds.

If:         Meet-and-greets are terrifying...

Then:   Be choosy

A huge advantage that introverts can have over extroverts is that we’re able to build really solid relationships to the important people in our lives. This includes potential mentors, employers, etc.. No hate on the extroverts: they’re great at impressing employers and following through with their word. Still, their focus is on mass marketing themselves whereas introverts do the exact opposite. We budget our time and attention to a handful of people, and create genuine relationships with them. Introduce yourself via email and continue exchanging emails until time comes to meet in person. This helps the employer understand you better. More importantly, it helps you warm up to the employer. Nothing is scarier than meeting job reps at meet-and-greets and blabbering incoherent words directly to their face as they superficially smile and nod. Email helps you avoid this mess altogether. It lets you carefully articulate your introduction, which is always the most important part of being the progressive career-oriented collegiate that you are.

Yes, the networking process is horrific. Sure, it’s even more horrific for introverts. But in the end, the approach can make a world of difference.

Good luck!

Anuja Argade is a fourth year Event Planning student studying at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her guilty pleasures include late night cereal, good olive oil and spiritual TED Talks (preferably in that order). At dinner parties you will find Anuja admiring the wall instead of socializing like a decent human being. When she's not at dinner parties, Anuja loves crafting things with her hands and hopes to one day build a barn for her potential pet goat. For business or pleasure, contact Anuja at anuja.argade@aol.com.  
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