In my current job, I connect students with employers and organize networking events, job postings, and interviews. I thought I would start sharing some of the job hunting knowledge that I've been accumulating in this process. So for the next few weeks, you will be seeing the dos and don'ts of finding a job! So for this week:
So if you're like me, networking at events with strangers that are much further in their career than you are is absolutely excruciating. I have many times been guilty of going to networking events and not speaking to anyone. I have actually been advised to take leadership classes, which I do plan to do in the future.
However, simply showing up at networking events isn't going to do anything for you. You need to talk to people and make connections, as 80% of jobs are not advertised. Therefore, all of the jobs you see posted are only 20% of the jobs out there. The more connections you make and mentors you gather, the more likely someone will connect you with someone that is hiring or recommend you for a position!
Then how do we get over this networking anxiety? If you're like me, when you do get the courage to talk to someone, you are also painfully awkward. Well have no fear, there is a solution. Practice. Reflect. And repeat!
Go to an event and force yourself to speak to someone. At least one person. Start small if you have to.
After the event, reflect on the conversation and the interaction. What made you so nervous? Did the other person react in any way? Did everything go okay? Did anything bad happen because you talked to this person?
Go out there and try it again! Make yourself goals. Talk to two people, approach someone when you're by yourself, try to sell yourself, use your elevator speech. As you continue reflecting upon these interactions, you will realize that some of your anxieties are in your head, and that nothing bad happens when you fight them and get yourself out there. Practice will make you better at it, and reflecting will make you more comfortable.
So get out there, go to any events possible, and network! I know I know, but you don't have the time. Make the time. Networking is one of the best things you can do for your career, and it will not be successful unless you practice it!