An Introvert Career Peer? WHY NOT?

An Introvert Career Peer? WHY NOT?

By: Jeannie Chong | Career Peer Educator
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Here are a few common misconceptions about introverts:

Myth #1 – Introverts are shy.

Myth #2 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

Myth #3 – Introverts are not team players.

Myth #4 – Introverts always want to be alone.

I believe many of us hold a biased belief that introverts are very shy and not comfortable with speaking in front of people. At the same time, society tends to favour extroverts, perceiving them as leaders who are more capable in the areas of public speaking and relationship building.

However, is it actually the case?

Contrary to myths, most introverts are actually not shy; instead, they enjoy interacting with people and getting to help others. Even though they are often called “quiet,” this label can be misleading as well. Introverts simply prefer listening to speaking, and thus tend to have better empathic and listening skills than extroverts. 

When you get more involved with them, you will be surprised at what introverts can do. An introvert can be a good team player, a group leader, a public speaker, or even a Career Peer Educator!

Recently, I read an inspiring book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by best-selling author, Susan Cain. Believe it or not, at least one third of the people we know are introverts according to this book, including some notable celebrities that you may not have guessed!

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln and Bill Gates were/are both introverts?

Still, introverts seem to be underestimated. Why? The truth is, introverts can be different from what people expect them to be.

When I was still in my first year, I went to Career Services to explore volunteering opportunities. I glanced over at the notice board in “Career Peer Corner,” where photos of each of the centre’s volunteers are posted, and was captivated by their lovely smiles. I thought to myself, “Wow! Could I be one of them someday?” But I immediately put off this idea as I told myself, “This is only for extroverts with excellent communication and presentation skills. I don’t have that type of personality – the kind that always has the most dominant voice. Just forget about it!”

Surprisingly, there has been a drastic change over the last three years.

Currently, I spend at least two hours every week supporting students and recent graduates on their resumes, cover letters, and interview skills. Being a trained Career Peer not only pushed myself to speak more than I have ever imagined, I also found myself really enjoying helping others create resumes that suited their own unique styles. They would listen to me and even take out a piece of paper and a pen to jot down what I told them!

In the past, I always doubted if anyone would listen to me as I did not have much self-confidence. However, when I see a satisfying smile on someone’s face, or hear them say “Really? That’s something I have never thought about writing on my resume,” or “wow, that is really helpful and useful,” I get an “energy booster” that keeps me going to contribute what I’ve learned. I feel more confident about myself!

It is quite a rewarding and interesting experience being a Career Peer. I never imagined volunteering at Career Services would be so much fun and that it would provide me such a great opportunity to speak confidently. Introverts can be different. They are not usually shy and quiet! They can talk a lot!

Therefore, my advice to introverts would be:

  • Never underestimate yourself!
  • Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
  • Once you set your eyes on something you want to do, just go for it!

Lastly, don’t forget to visit Career Services and make an appointment with any of our Career Peers or Career Advisors. We are very happy to offer you some tips on resumes, cover letters, interview practices, and more.

This time though, it will be my smiling face you see on the wall. See you there!

 

Jeannie Chong
Jeannie Chong is a Career Peer Educator with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year student studying communications and publishing. Jeannie also volunteers at a radio station, spends time doing crafts and Chinese calligraphy, and loves to indulge her sweet tooth. 

 

Posted on January 28, 2013