In career life

How to network as an Introvert

People are really surprised when I tell them I'm an introvert. I make conversations with strangers, I frequently speak up in class or meetings, and I have a bunch of pretty good friends on and off campus. But this isn't something that's easy or natural for me.

We live in a social society. From a career stand point being extroverted can help land a better job and do better in classes by studying with others. There are situations where it's beneficial to be more extroverted, but being an introvert doesn't need to hinder your career.

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Today I'm sharing 7 things I do to network as an introvert. I'm not sharing ways to change who you are, because honestly there's nothing wrong with being an introvert. Today's tips more are about how to fake extroversion for the situations that call it, and how to build a professional community.

Look around you

People hear the word networking and instantly think of sipping cocktails in a circle when it's so far from the truth. Networking starts in college with your professors and classmates. The people you graduate with are going into the same field and can totally help you later in your career.

Look at the clubs and organizations you're in and start building relationships with the people you look up to. It doesn't have to be anything too formal, just drop in for a conversation once a month. If networking feels like a bad word block it out and replace it with something like contact building, or opportunity fishing. 

Go to things

Specifically things that help your career. I recently joined my college's graphic design club, and try to attend every event. Any sort of networking event for a group your in you should try to go to. This gets people to remember your face.

Depending on your field, there are probably a bunch of student and professional groups to join. But going to things also includes conferences, workshops and presentations in your field too. When you go to things the important part is to talk to people and improve on your skills.

Recharge after an Event

Going to a marketing event as an introvert gives you a free pass to do nothing all weekend. Treat networking events like going to the DMV and get yourself coffee or something as a little reward for your hard work.

RELATED: Reward yourself without ruining your health goals

I like to lay in bed and watch Netflix for an afternoon, and give myself a sticker in my planner. I'll even decline weekend or evening plans if I'm feeling especially tired. Listen to your body after these events and recharge yourself.

Practice Cold Convos

I know, it hurts and feels awkward sometimes but striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is a skill that we must practice. Make conversations with the people you see regularly like your neighbor who's always on her porch, or the people who work at Starbucks.

Start a convo about something you can see. For example, if there's a long line, say something along the lines of "Y'all seem extra crowded today" or "Hope they don't have you working too hard." If you in class talk about class work, or how your classmates weekend was.

There are endless entry points into a conversation, you've just got to look around for them. By starting conversation regularly with people, you'll feel more comfortable doing it in a job interview, or at a networking event. Get out of your comfort zone and jump in.

Focus on Others

People love talking about themselves. So asking people how their weekend was, or what approach they took for their paper is a way to engage people. The trick is to get them talking to you, not necessarily you talking to them.

Listen carefully and ask insightful questions to keep them going. Don't feel the need to add in personal accounts unless you want to or they specifically ask. I find that the fewer stories I tell the better a conversation goes.

Fill the Void & Know when to Dip out

Knowing when to bail out of a conversation is another art form. On of my favorite books is Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown,. It's definitely one of my  She has a cute little chart about knowing when to end a conversation that I've thrown above.

 A good stopping point is "Well it was so good chatting with you, I'm going to go ( do something else besides talk to you)." This gives you and the person you're talking with a firm end point for the conversation.

There are going to be slower points in a conversation that can seem to draaaaaag on forever. If you're not going to dip out, think of them as an opportunity to change topic. When they happen I'll normally ask another question related to a previous topic, or mention a new show I started watching.

Follow up with People

So you went to a networking event, hit it off with a person, and later Facebook stalked them like an ex-boyfriend. Take your networking into the online world and connect with them on various platforms. If they seem like potential employers, go for LinkedIn, otherwise feel free to connect on Facebook or Twitter.

RELATED: Maintaining friendships when life gets busy

If you're ballsy, or are really needing to build some connections fast, send them a quick message referencing the convo you had. Something along the lines of "It was so glad meeting you! Let me know how your paddle boarding attempt goes!" This shows that you care and remember who they are.

Have an Online Presence

The online world is an amazing place and it's so much easier to meet people online than IRL. Like people's stuff, comment on their work and just engage with them. An online relationship is better than no relationship, so don't be afraid to add lots of people in your field.

Having an online presence can be intimidating. Just remember that there are real life living people behind those hilarious gif sets. Don't be afraid to ask to shadow a professional you met on Twitter and interact with often, or ask peoples opinions on your work.

Also, those classmates and professors? You had suuuuuure as hell friend them of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Even if you don't keep up with people on a regular basis, interacting with them online keeps you on their radar.


Networking is essential, but being an introvert doesn't have to hurt your career. Conversing with strangers, just like racket ball, is a skill that we need to practice. At the end of the day networking is about connecting with people, so use professional organizations, your class mates, professors, and pretty much anybody to network with. What other networking tips do you have? Comment below!

p.s. Check out my interview with a recent graduate here and sign up for my newsletter here for more content like this!

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