Do you feel barricaded to finding the career path you want yet struggling with your shyness that is holding you back?
Dave graduated from college with the best intentions. He kind of knew how he wanted to use his marketing degree. He applied for jobs and got a few. Soon his career consisted of good educational credentials and a string of unrelated low level jobs ranging from customer service representative to marketing research associate. Today that string of jobs is not the career he had in mind.
Dave is a shy guy. I can tell Dave is a shy guy by the way he answers my questions. He kind of knows what he wants but is not sure how to get it. He is a little afraid to ask people. He doesn’t want to look silly or inconvenience other people.
He had trouble reaching out to me because he didn’t want to look silly or inconvenience me. The signs are all there.
Shyness is not terminal.
It is possible to overcome or at least put aside shyness if you want something bad enough.
Start with some research about yourself. What are your hobbies? What kind of work has made you happiest in the past? What kind of people have made you happiest and most comfortable in the past? What themes do you notice?
Do some research reading job ads to find the ideal job that makes your heart sing. We are not applying for jobs, just doing research. What do you know about that ideal job? You need to find out.
This is the hard part for shy people. To discover more information about your ideal job you must talk to people you don’t necessarily know… yet. Yikes!
Here are the Shy Person’s Action Tips to give you the courage to talk to people you don’t know yet:
- Make a list of questions based on curiosity about your potential career direction. Write down the questions. Practice asking them out loud if you need to.
- Create a written template for what you want to say in emails, on the phone or in person. You will feel more confident if you know what you want to ask people: Introduction, your questions (1 or 2), a potential follow up for more people to talk to and a thank you.
- Find people who already do that job – ask your friends and your friends’ friends, use LinkedIn Advanced Search to find people. Make a list of names with phone number or email addresses. It might be easier for a shy person to send an email.
- Set a schedule to talk to as many people as you think you can. You might only be reaching out to one person a day or a week but without a schedule you might never get to it.
- Consider forming a support group or finding an accountability partner to give you the courage to do what needs to be done.
- Use your template and schedule to reach out to people on your list to ask your questions.
- Celebrate when you talk to someone on your list. This will give you confidence to do it again.
- Evaluate what you learned about potential career directions. Does what you heard make sense, sound like fun, sound fulfilling? Maybe you just found your new career path!
These steps can be useful to anyone who wants to find a new career path. This is not rocket science but to a shy person, this process can be tough. But exploring your career direction with these simple steps you can get what you are looking for!
What steps will you take to find the right career direction?