This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Rene Cosides from Temple University.
I hear pretty often how important networking is, and it always sounds like a great idea... until you get to an actual networking event. You are in a strange venue, alone, staring blankly at unfamiliar faces. Being that humans are creatures of comfort, no one wants to voluntarily put themselves in an uncomfortable situation like this. It takes guts to walk up to someone you've never met and talk to them about how interesting your work is. In my experience with networking events, I found myself in awkward situations that have made me never want to attend these events again. However, there are many great benefits to networking that it is worth putting aside your fears to build these valuable relationships.
• You can meet top professionals from any industry and talk to them. It isn't everyday that you can meet with an executive from Chanel like some of the attendees at Lauren Berger's Intern Queen Party were able to!
• Most times, there is no other way that you would have been connected with these people and your new found relationships may bring you opportunities you wouldn't have had otherwise.
• You are making connections that will help you all throughout your professional career. Relationships fuel career growth, and in this day and age you want to make sure that you are taking advantage of these networking opportunities.
• If you are as awkward as I am, it is so difficult to walk up to someone you don't know and start a conversation. Knowing that they are most likely older and much more successful than you are at the moment doesn't make it any less intimidating either.
• However, many employers and executives come to networking events to talk to young professionals just like you! They are often looking for interns and entry-level employees, and networking events are a much easier place to find them.
• Those who attend networking events are usually the motivated ones, so employers know they are picking from the cream of the crop. It takes courage to attend these events and the effort doesn't go unnoticed by potential employers.
• Unfortunately, all of it is awkward and it takes a lot of practice before it gets easier. However, going to more networking events and practicing how to talk to strangers does help.
• Even if you don't land your dream job or internship at an event, you are still learning the valuable skill of talking to strangers. You may begin to notice how much better you are with it over time, which is also another great confidence booster.
Although networking events will never be like a comfortable night out with friends, they are still extremely important in this social workforce we are going into. You never know what the connections you make at these events can take you!