The Dear Eli Column: How Introverts Can Get Real Job Search Results

It’s not by being a social butterfly.


Have a question about your career search, talent development or how to be a better leader? Reach out to me, App Academy’s Executive Business and Career Coach Eli Blair. With over 25 years of leadership experience as a former COO, owner of my own successful marketing and design company and a certified Business Coach since 2011, I will provide you with some insight and ideas that will definitely get you thinking and hopefully help you land a job,

Starting today, I will answer people’s questions on The Cohort. So let’s get started!

Dear Eli,

I am sort-of an introverted person. At least my friends tell me so. So I know going to events and reaching out to people would be really beneficial to my job search but my anxiety takes over and I freeze and have a tough time making conversation. What do you think? What can I do?

Joe S., San Francisco

Hey Joe,

I get it! Networking can be difficult for some, however, introverts can and should network. There are many ways to do networking that does not have to do with large scale events and can be done from the comfort of sitting behind your laptop. HOWEVER…NOBODY IS GOING TO MANAGE YOUR CAREER AND SEARCH BETTER THAN YOU! Yes, this is so important that I had to cap it out there. You must do more than just cold applying to companies.

Here are some proactive ways to network and reach out to people.

Internal Referrals

Start by considering this stat from US News and World Report: “Almost all candidates (91 percent) referred by a director level or above were hired, versus 53 percent of hired referrals from an entry-level candidate.”

Candidates who receive an internal referral have a better likelihood of getting noticed by recruiters and managers. Also think of this: Most companies offer a referral bonus program for their team members if you get hired. Not only are they helping you but as a referral, employees make money! It really is a win-win situation.

LinkedIn Connections

Reaching out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier connections on LinkedIn is a great way to network and all you have to do is write something like this:

“Hey Sue, I noticed you are a colleague of my friend Pat Smith. I see that your company is hiring for (name of position). I know you are super busy but it would be great to learn more about you, your company and the role. Might you have time for a quick Skype call as it would be great to meet briefly online or phone…whichever is easiest for you. I look forward to hearing you.”


“Hey Tom, I know we haven’t chatted in a long time however, I did want to reconnect with you as I noticed you are working at (name of company). I recently applied for the (name of position) and would love to get your perspective on the company and also catch up. Might you have time for a quick Skype chat? Look forward to hearing from you.:

(NOTE: I always recommend a quick Skype call as it can take a ½ hour to get to a coffee appointment, an hour there and ½ to get back to work. I believe you can get the same results in half the time and still do a face-to-face meeting. )

Easy to do. Quick and painless and you don’t need to go to a crowded event. Here are some good do’s and don’ts about reaching out to people on LinkedIn.

My favorite quote is “You can’t wink at someone in the dark.” Think about that for a second. If you want to get noticed you have to let it be known.

Use Connections from Family and Friends

Do your friends and family know you are looking for work?

Most every adult gets the concept of what it is like to look for work. Applications. Networking. Interviewing. Let’s face it. Looking for work is a big pain in the ass!  And when possible, people like to help people. However, if people do not know you are looking for work, how can they help? Ask your friends and family, , “Hey do you know anyone who works in the (fill in the blank) field? I am looking to expand and grow my network while I am looking for work.” If you do not ask, who will?

One recommendation I tell people is to create a resume and to share it on Facebook. A simple post can look somethings like this:

“Hey there. Check out my new resume and let me know what you think. Am looking to meet recruiters and (someone related to your profession). Who do you know FB friends and family? I’d appreciate your recommendations and referrals.”

I hear that people feel uncomfortable with this, however, if you have a few hundred friends, even if nobody responds, now a lot of people have seen your post and know you are in the job search. And if one or two people respond then there was little cost and high gain just for putting up a simple post. (I recommend one post every few days that has a little different content but reference to your job search and request to meet people).

Reach Out Directly

Another way to get your resume noticed and to network is to reach out to recruiters directly. Here is how you do it.

  1. Apply to position you like
  2. Look on LinkedIn to see who you might reach out to (ie. recruiters, managers, etc.)
  3. Download CLEARBIT which is a free Chrome Extension
  4. Find a direct email address
  5. Reach out directly (and make sure to have an awesome SUBJECT LINE)
  6. Follow up

Unfortunately, these ways of reaching out can be a numbers game and you might only hear back from 10% of people you write to. Applicants can often feel awkward about reaching out in these ways because of rejection or intrusion. However, if you don’t even try you will not get a response.

Also, in all my years of being employed, I have never heard anyone ever receive a message saying “Don’t reach out to me anymore.”. Usually what you might hear is “I’m actually not the right person but I will forward this to my manager Jill.” Don’t be offended if people do not respond. People are busy and unfortunately, it is not always about you.

Finally, if you are searching for work, you should have a daily/hourly game plan. Don’t depend on your motivation level. Depend on your schedule. Make a plan not only about how many applications you will put out each day (5-10), but also, how many connections you want to reach out to each day (5 is a great number) and how many meetings/Skype calls you want to have each week (at least 2-4). The more you do, the better to keep your pipeline filled, the quicker you will find that awesome next position.

Thanks for the email Joe, and hope you find a job soon. — Eli

An Extra Assignment for Job Seekers

Close your eyes and ask yourself this question. Take a moment and think. What would a job in your desired field really mean to you?

Now, take your response and bring it down to three words. For example, “For me, getting a job would mean Freedom. Flexibility. Money.” or “Becoming a _______ would mean Travel. Family. Serenity.”

Now take those words and write them out on a piece of paper nice and big. Put it somewhere you will see it every day. And as you see those words, every day, ask yourself, “Am I moving towards or away from those three words in the actions I am doing for my job search?”


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