Tips on Finding Jobs for People with Social Anxiety
The best jobs for people with social anxiety depend on the individual person. Not everyone with social anxiety will have the same strengths or weaknesses. You might be an introvert or extrovert, enjoy detailed work or big-picture stuff, or like to work outdoors or sit at a computer all day.
What’s most important is that you don’t let your social anxiety determine the type of job that you go after. Think first about the types of jobs that suit you and that you would enjoy doing (potentially for the rest of your life) and then (only then) consider whether your social anxiety might be a problem.
If you haven’t done any work to overcome your social anxiety, I suggest doing that first. Otherwise, it’s going to get in the way of you finding your ideal job. Remember: your social anxiety shouldn’t dictate your choice of job. Rather you should consider it as a disability that you may need accommodations for at your place of work.
If you’re at the point of looking for a job and you have social anxiety, I’ve listed for you below some of the main considerations regarding finding jobs for people with social anxiety.
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Think about what interests you and what you are qualified to do. If you are not qualified for the jobs that interest you, think about what kind of upgrading you might need to do to be competitive in those job markets.
If you aren’t sure what areas interest you or that you would be most suited for, consider taking a career inventory such as the Career Personality Profiler available through Truity.com.
This test measures your interests and personality traits and helps you identify careers, interests, and college programs that are a good match for you, and provides information about how you work best and how to maximize your strengths and minimize weaknesses.
Ideally, you hold at least a high school diploma. However, it is always advantageous to have attended post-secondary institutions such as college or university. If you have always thought about going back to get a degree, perhaps now is the time.
If you are interested in specialized work, advanced degrees such as a Master’s degree will give you an edge in a competitive job market. If going back to school full time is not an option because of your life circumstances, research alternative options that will fit with your schedule. The best jobs for people with social anxiety often require education beyond high school, so it can be helpful to upgrade.
Identify companies in the industry that you want to work for. A good resource for this is your local public library. They often have a book of local companies. For example, the Atlanta Business Chronicle releases a book of lists each year that ranks the best companies to work for in the city as well as the best public and private companies and several other lists. The best jobs for people with social anxiety span multiple industries, so do a broad search as you consider companies to work for.
Apply to Jobs
Between online and newspaper classifieds, job websites, etc., there is a myriad of venues where employers put out offers actively seeking workers. Take an hour or two out of each day to look for jobs that align, even if just creatively, with the skills and experience you have.
Next, start sending in applications. Apply to all jobs that fit your experience, qualifications, and interests. Even apply for jobs that are slightly out of your reach or that you are not sure you want. If you get an interview or are offered the job, you can then make a decision about the fit of the job for you.
Be sure that your application stands out from the pile. Have a friend or family member read over your resume to make sure that it is clear, concise, and that all typos have been caught. Sometimes when you have been looking at something for too long, you fail to see obvious mistakes.
The resume that you submitted to the giant advertising firm shouldn’t resemble the one that you submit to the local radio station sales manager. Select relevant jobs and experience to highlight on your resume for each position that you apply for. Keep a master resume that has a laundry list of information about you, and cut it down only to its relevant elements.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Qualifications
If you have no experience with computers, applying for an IT job probably isn’t appropriate. However, if you meet half of the qualifications, and you feel the position is a good fit, then you will probably be taught 80% of what you are going to do on the job anyway, so go ahead and apply.
Network with prospective employers
Unfortunately, the old saying is true; it’s not so much what you know but who you know. Many jobs never make it to the classifieds or online job markets because someone qualified enough is found through networks.
Church groups, social clubs, the gym, the line in the grocery store; all of these are possible networking opportunities. It may not be appropriate to walk around with a sign saying “I’m for hire”, but making sure friends, family and acquaintances know that you’re looking for a job, may be the key to finding your next employer.
Beyond applying for jobs that you see advertised, you should also consider attending job fairs. Before attending such an event, develop a script of what you will say. Keep it simple and focus on your positive attributes. You never know who you will meet that might have the perfect opportunity for you.
You’ve been called for an interview; great! Now what? Wear clothes that are professional and that make you feel comfortable. Research the company and think of questions that you might be asked. Go over your resume and refresh yourself about your qualifications and why you are suited for the job.
Most importantly, give yourself a pep talk right before the interview. You deserve the job, and you are the most qualified applicant. Don’t be afraid to end the interview by telling the person doing the hiring that you really want the position.
By following the above tips you should be well on your way to landing a great job. It may take some time and persistence, but in the long run, you should find yourself with at least one job offer. Once you have landed that great job, be sure to put your best effort forth to ensure that you make the most of the opportunity that you have been given.