Being a wallflower doesn’t have to limit your networking opportunities. Here is some advice for introverts in accounting jobs on how to excel in these situations.
Last week, we talked about how to succeed in a finance or accounting job as an introvert. The key is to capitalize on your strengths by setting realistic boundaries for yourself (thereby reducing the chances of burnout) and avoiding the temptation to present as something that you’re not.
In this post, we’ll look at how introverts in finance jobs can master something that may at first glance seem entirely contrary to their nature…networking.
Do your homework: study before an event
Introverts working in finance jobs may feel intimidated by the idea of attending a networking event. The latter, of course, will inevitably require copious small talk. And there will also be pressure to make both you and your company look appealing.
But introverted people in finance jobs can quite easily master feelings of anxiety and discomfort by doing a little “studying” before a networking event. Figure out who will be attending the event. Then review their background and credentials on their company and personal websites, as well as on their LinkedIn profile.
Armed with a little knowledge about your potential acquaintances, you can brainstorm some key talking points in advance, for you to bring up if and when you run into them at the event. Above all, establish points that you have in common with them; these can serve as casual ice-breakers, should a dreaded awkward silence start to creep in. Something as simple as, “I heard you used to work for Company X; I used to do some business with them,” will work wonders.
Introverts can quite easily master feelings of anxiety and discomfort by doing a little “studying” before a networking event.
Optimize one-on-one networking
Introverts in finance jobs are typically less inclined to work the room at a large networking event or office party. They are, however, often quite adept at building genuine, one-on-one connections with people. Not being the loudest or most assertive voice in the room has its advantages: you can come across as genuine and trustworthy to a lot of folks.
Play to your strengths, then, as an introvert. Instead of pushing yourself to be charming and outgoing with existing and prospective clients at a crowded work party, set up a low-key meeting over coffee or drinks with each person individually. Use that time to really learn about the person, in a quiet setting that better suits your personality.
Make the most of online and social media networking
Like every other professional, introverts in finance jobs need to network. But that doesn’t mean all your schmoozing has to occur face-to-face. People in the business world put a lot of stock in connecting online, through social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Set up a low-key meeting over coffee or drinks with each person individually.
If the idea of networking in the flesh makes you queasy, balance the in-person encounters with solid, online connections. To optimize the latter, consider taking a workshop or class on online networking and using social media to your advantage.
Sure, studying up on people prior to a networking event may at first feel strange or calculated. Even one-on-one or online networking can be uncomfortable. But by determining your limits and working with your strengths, even the shyest and softest-spoken accountants and finance professionals can find their networking grooves.
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!