How to Turn Your Shyness into Your Advantage in the Workplace

How to Turn Your Shyness into Your Advantage in the Workplace

  • Wednesday April 13th, 2016
  • 10,966

Anxious employee

Shyness has long been perceived as a negative trait for those who want to advance their careers, but you can definitely use it to your advantage! The secret is all about making people realize that your shyness is actually a strength. Think of it as a marketing or branding strategy to improve your professional image. Want to know how? Then read on below!

Change Your Perception First

Shyness has nothing to do with being weak-willed, or being a wallflower, or being a mere office fixture. A shy person may just be reserved and there is nothing wrong with that. If any, it makes you a force to be reckoned with because a shy person tends to be more aware of what’s really going on with their surroundings. Once you’ve realized that your shyness is actually a strength, then you’ll be ready to make other people realize the same.

Introduce and Describe Yourself Properly

Stop describing yourself as shy when you’re with your colleagues or when introducing yourself professionally. When people ask why you are mostly by yourself or is not often found in the middle of social situations, tell them that you prefer to observe from the sidelines and that you’re the listener type. This gives the impression that you simply have a brooding or cerebral personality. That’s going to get you more respect than simply describing yourself as shy because people who are like that are perceived to be smarter. Using other terms to describe yourself doesn’t mean that you’re ashamed of being shy, you’re simply putting a new spin on it.

Go for Jobs that Fit Your Personality

Very shy individuals tend to work better on solitary jobs. Solitary does not have to mean that you’ll be tucked away in one corner of the company and only emerging out of your cave for special events. Some positions will surely benefit from having someone like you fill it. An example is a position in human resources. Because shy people can be very good listeners (and great at keeping secrets as well), handling a sensitive position where empathy and discretion is a must will be a great fit!

People Will Appreciate You More

It takes a lot to get close to someone who’s reserved like you. The few people you’ve offered your professional counsel to or have witnessed the quiet confidence you have will appreciate you more than your opposite. Because you often choose when to interact and what to say, people are more likely to want to hear you out as well.

You Can Actually Surprise People!

Individuals who are perceived as shy are likewise perceived to be non-competitive persons. This means that you can make your move towards the position that you’ve been eyeing for a while without alerting more aggressive colleagues. Being out of their radar also means that you can be free to lay down your plan and implement it to enable you to climb the career ladder faster. After all, what’s the use of having the character traits of a master tactician (keen, quiet, action-oriented, observant, likes thinking things through) if you’re not going to use them?

Shyness can definitely turn into an advantage in the workplace if you use it right. It’s all about turning your perceived weaknesses into strengths for better career management.

Looking for an education job  that can use some of your new found strength in shyness? Then is certainly the right board for you!


Erin Bailo, Career Advisor.

Visit to find a job in higher education or post a job today!

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