While social anxiety can pose challenges in your everyday life, few prospects may seem more daunting than having to look for (and worse still, interview for!) a job. The idea of meeting new people probably causes at least some level of discomfort for you, while meeting new employers who will actually evaluate you can feel downright terrifying. But never fear, the situation is certainly not hopeless. There are strategies for experiencing social anxiety and still coming across positively in job interviews. So here are 3 tips to do just that!
1) Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
There isn’t any rule that says someone experiencing social anxiety can’t be a car salesman. Heck, to some extent it might even be beneficial in overcoming some aspects of social anxiety. However, the experience could end up being quite torturous due to the amount of socializing you would need to do and the pressure of meeting sales quotas. Here’s the upside to your situation though: For some people the idea of having a mostly isolated job (perhaps like a career in coding, software development, etc.) might seem unbearable, whereas for a socially anxious person it could be a good fit! So know what sorts of jobs your personality would be a good fit for, and target those. There are even online personality quizzes that can suggest jobs that are a good fit for you (and they may even be fun to take)!
2) “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”
This is actually the title of the well-known self-help book written by Susan Jeffers. While I encourage anyone with social anxiety to actually read the book, I think the book title itself shares a powerful message. The idea here is that it is OK to feel fearful…and still do what you need to do. You are committing to not allowing feelings of fear to stop you from looking for jobs and going on interviews. Yes, you may feel very anxious in those situations, and perhaps it is even noticeable to others. However, your mindset will be that you are OK with those possibilities. Don’t be surprised if you end up feeling less anxious and performing better in your job search than you anticipated. Sometimes our imagination can play tricks on us!
3) Practice, Practice, Practice…but Don’t Overdo It
Let’s say that you’ve landed an interview for a job you’re very interested in. At first you may feel excited, but then the reality of it hits you… you’re going to actually have to go on an interview! If you are a socially anxious person then your excitement might suddenly transform to panic. A good idea would be to research what questions employers commonly ask in job interviews (a simple Google search will produce a ton of website results), and then prepare answers for the questions. It would also be beneficial to rehearse speaking your answers out loud (either alone or with someone else). Doing this can create a sort of “muscle memory” for your responses. That way even if you are very nervous during the interview it will be easier to get the answers out anyways. However, don’t spend TOO much time doing this. Perhaps rehearsing your responses for an hour or so will suffice. You certainly don’t want to become so reliant on your rehearsed answers that you feel completely thrown off when an unexpected question comes your way.
So there you have it, three simple ways to cope with social anxiety when it comes to getting a new job. I hope these tips make the experience more bearable…and even enjoyable! Happy job hunting!