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5 Ways to Succeed in a People-Oriented Job as an Introvert

By | Kenna Barrett, PhD |

One way to succeed in a people-oriented job is to not expect the worst, like having to network 24/7. Instead, focus on your introvert strengths. 

You’ve been offered that dream job with great pay and decent hours, perfectly fitting your skill set. Maybe it’s as a librarian, bookseller, or something behind the scenes. But toward the end of the job description blares the phrase, as if pulsing in neon, “Excellent people skills required.”

You’re torn up inside, because while the job may be people-oriented, you’re not. You dread having to work a room, glad-handing everyone in sight. But, clearly, you need people to buy your product, fund your organization, embrace your vision. What to do?

I faced this decision when I was asked to become a major gift officer at Yale University. A gift officer solicits charitable donations for a nonprofit organization. My job would be to manage a portfolio of up to 200 donors, visiting the majority of them each year. That might entail up to five meetings a day, one week each month. It was a people-skills job if ever there were one.

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