One thing I never took seriously when I was an undergraduate were networking events. I hear people talking about them all the time. I can proudly announce that I’m an awkward individual, last thing I want to do is talk to a bunch of strangers for a couple of hours. But, if done correctly, networking events can be quite useful for your career. The one time I did attend a networking event, the entire experience was nerve racking. I felt awkward the entire time. I wasn’t able to benefit much from the event because I allowed my nerves to control myself. As a result, I decided to create a list of things to keep in mind to hopefully help myself (and others) network successfully.
During my drive to the networking event, I was afraid at the possibility that others may not like me. I figured that by acting a certain way would make me more desirable. As an black female in the IT world, it can be quite intimidating entering a room filled with a bunch of white guys. But, once I started to talk to others in the room, I quickly realize that it’s a lot easier to simply be myself. With this mentality, I can erase my thoughts of any doubt and try to pay attention to the larger picture.
Feel awkward? Embrace it.
It’s no secret. I know for a fact that I can be an awkward individual. Rather than letting it add onto my nerves, I decided I should embrace it. Over time, I’ll get better acquainted with conversations and talking to others. But, for know, I understand that I’ll only improve through practice.
Know your Resume
When people ask me about my job, I usually draw a blank. I draw a blank for two reasons. My first reason is that I don’t have a ‘normal’ IT job, so it’s sometimes hard to explain to the average person. Second, I’ve accomplished so much in college that sometimes when people ask me that question, so many answers pop in my head all at once. But, I understand that this happens because I never created a 30 second commercial about myself. I read about this method before, but never took it seriously. In other words, I never thought of a short introduction where I described what I do, what I’m interested in, and maybe some kind of explanation of a plan or goal I’m working towards. With this introduction, I know that conversations may initiate and flow a lot easier.
Wear Something that Makes You Feel Confident
I’m an unnaturally tall individual. With that in mind, I’m always aware that people will look at me when I walk in a room. People ask and comment on my height all the time, which I don’t mind at all. I enjoy talking to others about my height because I’m comfortable with it. Now if I add professional work attire, that barely fits because I’m tall, definitely makes me feel really uncomfortable. I now understand that it’s okay to invest in nice professional attire for such occasions rather than buying Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
Get Up and Try Again
Lastly, I must keep in mind that every event isn’t going to be a success. Mistakes happens. At the end of the day I have no choice but to learn from it and move on the next day. Life doesn’t stop to help you to your feet. Life keeps going whether you want it or not. I have no choice but to get back on my feet, dust myself off, and continue to work hard.
These are tips I came up with based on my own experience. If you have any helpful advice or tips, list them below.