If you're not a naturally effusive and outgoing person, making your achievements and successes known isn't the easiest of tasks. And nowhere is this more true than in a job interview, the outcome of which hinges entirely on your ability to talk yourself up and convince an employer why they should take you on.
Of course, you can list your skills, accomplishments and professional expertise in your CV and covering letter, but an interview is an entirely different proposition for someone with a quiet personality. So, if talking confidently about yourself isn't something that comes easily, how can you stop this from counting against you when meeting your prospective employers?
1. Choose a role that suits you
There's no reason why introverted people can't thrive in roles that require lots of interaction with colleagues, clients and customers, so don't automatically discount these types of roles. But if tasks such as public speaking fill you with dread, it's perhaps wise to avoid positions that require this on a regular basis. So sit down and work out what you'd be comfortable with on a day-to-day basis and apply for jobs that cater to what you've identified.
If you do this, you'll be far more likely to be happy in your job and be able to draw attention to your strengths, rather than your perceived weaknesses.
2. Ask others what they think of you
If you're an introvert, you won't necessarily be in the habit of regularly talking or even thinking about all the things you've done recently. No matter how impressive your recent achievements might be, your very nature means you prefer keeping your head down and just getting on with life, without drawing attention to yourself. And there's nothing wrong with that if that's how you are. But it does mean you have to step out of your comfort zone slightly in an interview setting.
Before going to your interview, why not ask other people beforehand what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be? Colleagues, former bosses, teachers and lecturers could be ideally placed to tell you what you're especially good at and the kind of things you should be talking up in an interview.
3. Rehearse answers to expected questions
While job interviews don't always follow a strict pattern or structure, there are basic questions that are likely to come up. For instance, interviewers are almost guaranteed to ask why you believe you are right for the role, your understanding of what the job involves and your previous professional experience. Interviewees are regularly encouraged to prepare answers for these types of questions in advance, so they can walk in knowing what they need to say and what salient points to put across.
If you're naturally an introverted person, knowing what you want to say in advance doesn't mean you'll be comfortable delivering it out loud. Why not practice your answers beforehand, maybe in front of a mirror or with a friend or relative? By running through the points you want to make, you'll feel more comfortable articulating your thoughts in the actual interview and be less likely to trip up over your own words.
Remember though, there's no pressure on you to race through your answers. So make a point of not rushing them, as that will help you stay calm, confident and coherent.
4. Take notes
There's a lot of information to process in an interview, and if you're struggling with nerves, then taking it in and retaining it isn't always easy. Don't be afraid to take a notepad and pen with you into an interview and note down points you might want to follow up on later, such as when the opportunity to ask questions yourself comes up at the end.
5. Bring a portfolio
Why not take examples of your work and accomplishments with you? This could range from professional certifications to case studies of successful projects at work - and there's no restriction on exactly what format this can be presented in.
Not only does this approach let your actual work do much of the talking, it also gives you access to a handy prompt sheet, so you're much less likely to forget an important point you wanted to make.
Introverts might not be always as comfortable expressing themselves in front of people as their more outgoing peers. But that shouldn't count against you as you seek to climb up the career ladder, so play to your strengths at every step of the hiring process, from finding suitable roles and writing your CV to putting your best foot forward in the interview.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in the Fresh Food, Fresh Produce, Horticulture, Agriculture and Garden & Leisure sectors but could do with a little advice, feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01780 480530 for a chat about your CV and career with one of our sector specialists.