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Networking Tips for Shy People
1996, Sep-Oct (June 19, 2007)
by Julie Davis

Does the very word "networking" set your teeth on edge? Would you rather undergo a root canal than phone someone you've never met? Do you routinely leave conferences early to avoid the dreaded "cocktail hour," where everybody but you seems to be making connections?

Take heart. We shy people don't have to turn ourselves into Joe Isuzu to make connections.

Here are a few tips:
  1. Don't think about "networking" or "making connections." Think instead of meeting interesting people with whom you already have something in common.
  2. Volunteer to work on an STC committee. Working with a small group of people who're focused on getting something done, you'll feel less self-conscious about telling someone you're looking for a job.
  3. Take a computer class at Wake Tech or NCSU. Chances are you'll meet a lot of people in your field while you gain some new skills.
  4. Surf the Net. STC has its own web pages, including one with job listings. Some businesses even offer email addresses.
  5. Attend local STC meetings. During the announcements period, people who are looking for both jobs and employees get up to identify themselves. If other people can get up and say they're looking for something, then, by golly, so can you! (Bring a copy of your resume, just in case.)
  6. Then, there's the information interview. While it's still scary to call someone you've never met, at least you're calling to get more information about their profession, not to ask for a job. Richard Bolles' "What Color is Your Parachute" offers tips for this process.
    Finally, remember you don't need the personality of a political candidate to get a job. As a matter of fact, if you try to act like one, you'll probably turn people off. Just remember that shy people make excellent employees.

Julie Davis, a very shy person, is a member of the STC Job Bank committee. End of article.

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