I’m a recovering introvert. It’s something I’ve been working on for years. You’d never know when meeting me, but I’m usually incredibly uncomfortable- almost petrified- during networking events and interviews. I saw early on that this could become a long-term challenge to my career and needed to take the necessary steps to “just get over it.”
Breaking out of my shell, I wrote down tricks that have helped me along the way. I thought I would share.
This may sound like I’m saying “Just don’t be nervous”- easier said than done. Once you master putting on your professional mask, everything becomes much easier. When you walk into a networking event- flip the switch on. The second you leave- you’re free to flip it off, light up a smoke, or do whatever you please. Just get through it.
It helps to change your pattern of thinking. Give yourself a pep-talk in the mirror to help get into character- become Spiderman for a few hours.
Approach Interviews Like A Conversation
As a writer, I’ve conducted interviews with professors, students, and CEO’s. Having recently graduated college, I’ve also been on the other side of interviews. Both sides of the interview still make me nervous. Will I ask the right questions? Will I answer the questions correctly? What if they don’t like the way I speak? I’ve found that the key to conquering this fear is to remove the weight of the situation from the equation. Just treat it like any other conversation*.
*Not a conversation with your roommate- don’t talk about how drunk you got last weekend.
If you look great, you feel great.
Always carry a brief case of portfolio as well. It’ll help showcase your organization skills, keep your notes/papers in order, and give you something to do with your hands other than fidget while you’re speaking.
Make Sure You Do Your Research
Another key to confidence- be prepared. Know what companies you want to see at the fair and know everything about them. If it helps, jot down some notes and review them before you approach a company representative. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be going in.
Have your Elevator Pitch Ready & Memorized
Nothing is more important than that post-introduction self description. Run it by your roommate, friend, or even your parents; just DO NOT go into a networking event without a pre-prepared brief speech about yourself.
This should only include a one sentence for each below:
-Your history (What brought you to this point in your life?)
-Your work experience.
-What you are looking for.
-One interesting bit about yourself (In order to express your personality a tad.)