Is networking more important than applying to jobs? There is no one right answer as to whether or not networking is more important than filling out job applications. This post, however, aims to lay the case for networking and give internship and job seekers ideas on how to go about incorporating events into their work seeking strategies.
ROI of Networking
Earlier this week, I paid for a class in an area I’m interested in developing more skills. The actual class doesn’t matter so much as the opportunities that were made available to me as a direct result of the class.
When the 2-hour lesson/workshop was over, all of the instructors stood around for at least half an hour and answered any of the students’ questions.
Q & A’s are really gold mines, and I didn’t realize this until an entire world was opened up to me this week. I asked the event organizer where I could learn more about this week’s topic. She kinda made it sound like I should spend an entire day at a particular library, but maybe that’s just my excitement kicking in. In any case, she suggested a list of keyword searches I should run, as well as a handful of websites with resources.
One of those websites had free trainings in the NY area, as well as recorded webinars. I immediately registered for every free training that was not accesible via recorded webinar. This was brilliant, and that information alone was well worth the price of attending class – the knowledge paid for itself.
Overcoming Fears of Networking and Meeting New People
For some of us, the whole networking idea sounds scary. It’s frightening because we may be unfamiliar with how to break the ice around new people, or we are dreadfully afraid of public speaking. I don’t think we should view networking as a way to get put on the spot, however.
From this week, I very clearly saw how networking was a primary vehicle for getting my burning questions answered. Is this something I could do through the traditional job submissions process? Not really. The vast majority of applications you submit seem to enter a deep void where you don’t hear back from any human beings, much less get to engage or interact with your questions and concerns.
In at least this instance, of the classroom environment, attendance exponentially multiplied my avenues for professional growth. Now, can all networking events do this? Probably not.
There is something to be said about making choices about which events to attend – and how a search for any position (paid/unpaid) would fall short without some networking in the mix.
It’s not so much about whom you can meet; instead it’s about how you can help each other.
How are you choosing which events to go to, and what kinds of connections are you seeking to make this summer?