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5 tips for the millennial introvert entering the workforce

by Ambrose Joshua Koh

As you transit into working life after graduating from school, you might be filled with questions on how to prepare yourself for the workforce.

Are you equipped with the right mindset? What are some lessons that might not have been taught in school?
Entering an entirely new environment, meeting and learning to work with numerous people may seem like a daunting task for an introvert. The working life may not be easy but it isn’t necessarily as difficult as it may seem if you mentally prepare yourself well!
Here is a list of the things that may help you feel more confident before embarking on your work life journey:

1. Your social media accounts play a part in your job hunt.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You are probably very familiar with these social media applications. But have you ever thought about the impression you portray to potential employers through your social media accounts?

Most companies would do a quick background check on potential employees and your social media accounts are good sources of information. They might take a brief glance at your posts and photos to get a slightly better idea of their potential hire.
In fact, a research by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that two out of five HR professionals agree that a public social media profile can provide important information about work-related potential or performance.
Do you curse and swear a lot in your social media posts? Or is your Facebook album filled with photos of you and your buddies getting wasted at parties every weekend?
As introverts, we may sometimes turn to social media as an avenue or outlet for us to rant about certain issues or just to vent our frustrations. But do remember that this is where the initial impression is set even before you and your potential employer meet in person.
So time to clean up your social media accounts and leave a good impression!

2. Put in your best effort always because hard work pays off.

As humans, it is understandable that we all feel a little off or even lazy from time to time. However, constantly not giving your best at work is going to hurt you in the long run.

Picture yourself as a boss of your own company. Would you feel good if one of your employees is constantly slacking off while the rest of the team is giving their best efforts?

Giving your best effort in every task, even if it is seemingly menial, helps leave a good impression in the eyes of your employer. Furthermore, it allows you to become more competent with each completed task and you stand to gain by being able to complete tasks efficiently and effectively!

Jeremy Kingsley, a leadership expert, wrote a book on how inspired people produce results. Reflect deeply about your company vision and explore the alignment with your personal values. Finding meaning in your work and getting yourself motivated internally will definitely help you get the bounce on your feet as you complete these tasks.

3. A successful career is built on the foundation of networking and establishing good relationships.

Well, I understand that it may be difficult for us introverts to initiate conversations and start building relationships at times. However, networking is a crucial skill that can play a pivotal role in the success of our career.

Most individuals who achieved success at their workplace will attribute a big part of it to having established great relationships with their colleagues, superiors and clients. This means having genuine and sincere relationships with people without expecting anything in return.

As Carter Cast has rightly pointed out in his book, this is the era of ‘do-it-yourself’ career development. The path we walk on is designed and paved by ourselves. So lay down a good foundation and build genuine relationships with your peers, potential mentors and even those out of your industry. Learn to expand your network because the guidance and future assistance you might gain will be priceless.

4. Do not be afraid to ask for help!

There will definitely be moments when we are unsure about how to complete certain tasks and as introverts we may tend to shy away from asking for help.

During such situations, it is advisable to seek help from your superior or your seniors. Trying to solve these problems on your own may lead to a lot of time wasted and risk you making unnecessary mistakes.
You may wish to examine and work on your competencies in emotional intelligence so that you are better able to navigate your fears, communicate well and build stronger working relationships with others. A survey by Careerbuilder has found that 71% of employers value emotional intelligence more than IQ.
So do not be afraid to ask for help or ask questions to attain clarity before proceeding to work on a task which you may not have done before. Do make it a good practice to ask questions and understand clearly what is required to be done before you start work on any task!

5. Be coachable. Feedback (both positive and negative) is important to help you improve and grow.

We all enjoy hearing praises and encouraging comments about ourselves. It makes us feel good and confident about ourselves. However, criticism and certain feedback that may not sound so pleasant are actually very important too.

All comments and feedback will help us improve one way or another. Do not take it too personally, but look at these feedback from a professional point of view and use it to better yourself. Just like how the best athletes achieve exceptional performance by being coachable, we can achieve breakthroughs faster when we are receptive to feedback.
Having a right mindset and mentality will help you deal with all sorts of comments and feedback that you may receive. Take it with the right attitude and you will find yourself improving faster than you expect!

Cast, Carter. (2018). The Right - and Wrong - Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade

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