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Asked by Angela on May 21, 2017

I am very shy and uncomfortable with networking. I feel rude when I ask people for favors or if they can help me find a job. Any advice?

Answered by Brittany, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on May 22, 2017

Hi there, great question.

I want to first let you know that being shy does not need to be negative, is not a weakness, and doesn't define you; it is simply part of your story. I would recommend connecting with a mentor or sponsor to help you improve your confidence. Once this is more established, you will feel more comfortable seeking people out that are professionals in areas you feel you need to grow. You can then ask them about their experiences and tips they could offer you on your own path. Once they have an idea of what you're good at, what you want to be good at, and where you are professionally heading, they will be a much stronger advocate for your career and will not only remember you when the time comes, but endorse you. This is much easier said than done but is well worth the effort because it goes back to the root of true networking; recommendations being given by trustworthy and reputable contacts. You in turn will not feel rude asking for favors you are not entitled to and your soon to be sponsors will not feel used in the process.

Best of luck,
Bri
former recruiter

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on May 23, 2017

Hi there!  You are definitely not the first person who has felt this way about networking and putting yourself out there as a job seeker.  I have heard a similar lament from people who don't think they are shy, they just don't want to rely on someone else to take their career to the next level.

I think it might be a good idea to rethink your mind set on this one.  If networking makes you uncomfortable because it is focused on getting a job, consider changing the focus to your personal development and learning something new.  Talk to people about their skills, their experience and build relationships.  If a job comes from that, wonderful!  But you don't have to start with pressing for work. 

In truth, it is equally important to seek out networking while you are gainfully employed as while you're learning.  In my role, I seek out people who know more than I do about things I'm interested in and in turn, I return the favor by helping people new to my areas of expertise.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how many people are happy to share information about their work and companies with you.  Let it build your confidence!

Networking is a skill that will benefit you for a lifetime, don't think you have to be an expert right off the bat.  It will change, grow, develop throughout your career!

Best of luck!

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Answered by James, Hiring Expert at Broadridge, on May 24, 2017

Finding a new job is a very stressful time! The biggest recommendation I can make to you is to build your network. If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, definitely create one. Add as many connections as possible to your network. A great feature that LinkedIn offers is a headline below your name. People either use this to enter their current job title, or if they are looking for new talent in their organization. You can utilize this to your advantage by marketing yourself as a job seeker in your desired field. Build your profile to highlight all the skills you've obtained through your education and work experience. 

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Answered by Kristi, Hiring Expert at BNY Mellon, on August 4, 2017

Networking is almost always more effective than other job search strategies. Networking enables candidates to meet potential employers and make connections outside of their immediate contacts. You can network at career fairs, information sessions, on campus events, and at events hosted by corporations. When you network with potential employers, be sure to remain professional. Ultimately, networking helps to distinguish a candidate from his or her peers through making new connections. Additionally, consider reaching out to your new contact via email after each networking event to reintroduce yourself and thank him or her for speaking with you.

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