Those of us who identify as introverts cringe – no, we actually sprint for the door – at the mere mention of networking. For us, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard, and there’s an automatic shutdown of our brains when that dreaded word surfaces in conversation. There’s strong evidence that networking is vital to a successful job search, but most introverts would rather have a root canal than tackle networking.
Fear not. Thanks to the digital word, introverts have a secret weapon, an ace in our hands, a magic bullet. LinkedIn.
With the click our mouse, we can access >500 million users in >200 countries and territories across the globe. We can do it from the comfort of home, protected by a computer screen. Better yet, we have time to deliberate about our approach to our target companies and networking connections. We can type, then backspace, and retype our connection invitations, our InMails, our posts, and our profile updates. There’s little us introverts love more than the spaciousness of time to craft our approaches and responses.
Just what does LinkedIn offer the introverted job seeker? Glad you asked.
LinkedIn is a Digital Conversation Starter
When you write your LinkedIn profile, you have some latitude that your resume doesn’t provide. You can write in first person, which allows your voice to emerge without being face-to-face with someone. You also have avenues to share content, comment, and engage virtually inside LinkedIn groups with thousands of people with one click.
LinkedIn Offers an Opportunity for Stealth (and Obvious!) Research
When you visit someone’s profile on LinkedIn, whether they’re a first level connection to you or not, you can learn quite a bit about them. How developed is their profile? Which groups have they joined? What themes emerge in their work history? Are there projects and volunteer commitments that they’ve listed? (I once interviewed with someone who indicated on LinkedIn that he was a volunteer trainer for service dogs – that’s an awesome topic to use to get someone to light up in an interview.)
There’s a wonderful spot inside LinkedIn’s Privacy and Settings where you can determine whether you want to view someone else’s profile anonymously or out there in the open. I recommend letting people see that you’ve viewed their profile because it clearly states, “I’m doing my research.”
There’s a LinkedIn Feature that Allows You to Indicate You’re in a Job Search
LinkedIn has an option that allows you to signal to recruiters that you’re open to new opportunities. You’ll find it on the Privacy and Settings page, and while there’s a disclaimer above the toggle switch, they strive to ensure that your current employer doesn’t find out that you’re in an active search.
As one of my favorite Twitter introverts (@MichaelaChung1) says, “I’m not Anti-Social. I’m Pro-Solitude.” An emphatic “yes!” to that. LinkedIn allows us to be both social and in solitude at the same time, all while productively networking, and that’s a winning combination for introverts.