I went to a job fair. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I've been applying for jobs and doing interviews for months with nothing to show for it. I couldn't rule anything out even if a job fair is pure hell for an introvert like me.
Why a job fair is torture for an introvert
Here are some things most introverts hate:
- Talking to new people
- Approaching new people (It's bad enough having to talk to them. Don't make me break the ice.)
- Talking about ourselves
Unfortunately, that's exactly what a job fair is. A job fair is all about talking to new people who I have to approach. And although, yes, it is important to ask the recruiter questions about the company there is definitely an expectation that I will talk about myself. Not only do I have to talk about myself I have to sell myself! Be charming! Be dynamic! Don't vomit!
In contrast an interview is a bit easier. It is planned. I am expected. There aren't a bunch of anxious extroverts in line behind me wanting their turn to sell themselves. (I know they are extroverts because the introvert probably decided to go to another booth that was less busy and come back to this one later.)
Please don't tell me to "fake it"
To the many well-meaning people who told me to just pretend I'm an extrovert:
Thank you for your support, but I must respectfully ask you to fuck off.
What you clearly don't understand is that faking it is something I do every day under much less stressful circumstances where the stakes are not nearly so high as determining whether or not I get a job.
I read somewhere that the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is that socializing gives an extrovert energy and drains energy from an introvert. Socializing can be fun, but it is always exhausting for me. Take the stress of wanting to find a job and add it to that exhaustion and a job fair becomes less pleasant than a trip to the dentist. (At least at the dentist I can stare at the ceiling and be alone with my thoughts.)
Luckily (for my sanity not my career options) there were only a handful of employers at the job fair who were looking for people with my background. I honed my energy on them, then awkwardly talked to a few others "since I was there." I fled the scene in just over an hour.
As I introvert I may hate going to job fairs, but I love throwing parties. Surprised? Read my post 4 Reasons Introverts Should Host Parties.
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